Recent surveys have revealed that Western New York workers earn the lowest tips. Here are some strategies to increase your tip income:
(1) Acknowledge customers (make eye contact and smile) the moment they enter the establishment or your section of the dining room. Learn their name and address them by name as you service the customer. The hostess can easily ask names as they enter the establishment.
(2) Always have checks pre-calculated and ready to go. One of the top complaints of customers includes having to wait for the bill.
(3) Walk customers to the restroom, table or front door. The extra effort makes customers feel welcome and important. Assist with coats, chairs and other items as they are seated at the table or are ready to leave.
(4) Make suggestions that satisfy your customer’s needs – food and beverage items that appeal to:
- quick service (items that are quick from the kitchen)
- budget conscious diners
- foodies (unique dishes)
- dates (items great for sharing)
(5) Use suggestive selling and learn to describe the food and beverages as if you were working for The Food Network. Product knowledge is key. Vivid and tantalizing descriptions sell food and beverage, especially when delivered with enthusiasm and a confident tone and volume.
Bonus: If it is a busy service, acknowledge the situation and thank the customer for his/her patience. Keep guests informed of the status of their order if there is a long ticket time in the kitchen. Be sure to offer beverages and any “free” table items such as bread baskets, chips or any item that will give them something to eat/do while they wait for appetizers and entrees. Suggest menu items that are quickest from the kitchen to minimize wait times.
Bonus #2: Be prepared to offer alternatives to items that have run out or in the event a customer orders something he/she doesn’t like after a taste. Again, product knowledge is the key to success and maximum tip earnings.