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7 Small Things That Make a Big Difference


Restaurant service is all about details.   Everything from the demeanor of the people at the front door, to the cleanliness of the seats and the restrooms, to the quality and consistency of the food, and the attentiveness of the service are all important.  As is everything in between.

Below is a list of several simple aspects where a server can impact the guest experience:

Being Prepared and Ready

The successful server shows up a little bit early with everything organized and ready.  That way, when the show starts the show starts.  The mediocre and unsuccessful server shows up barely on time, and then if they get a table right away, that table is a warm up.  That is the wrong approach.  Being prepared and ready to go is important and it affects your tips and the revenue for the restaurant.

Showing up in Uniform

An important part of being prepared is showing up in uniform.  Restaurant uniforms vary.  That said, they must be neat and clean.  Shirts must be stain and wrinkle free.  Your appearance matters and your uniform is a part of that.

The Right Footwear

When I was young, I went to the chiropractor with my father, and the doctor said the most important part of a building is the foundation.  He was stating that not taking care of your feet can cause back problems.   What he was also saying was that taking care of your feet is important.

While your shoes must meet specifications and they must be slip resistant, they must be comfortable and supportive.  There are many slip resistant shoes that are not comfortable and not supportive.  However, there are now some that are.   Shoes for Crews has air cushion, sneaker type shoes, that are very comfortable.   I was given a free pair for a one year anniversary at one job.  I have since bought more pairs to replace them.

Since wearing them, my feet do not hurt during or after shifts.  I look around at some other server’s and am puzzled as to why they aren’t wearing the same or similar shoes.  The server’s job is physically active.  With that, your orthopedic health is very important.   Taking care of your feet is a part of that.


For too many servers, pens are an afterthought.  Many do not bring enough to work.  Others bring pens with logos for other businesses on them, instead of plain ones or pens with the logo for the restaurant where they work.  Some bring pens that have run out of ink and do not work.
With many people these days paying with credit and debit cards, consider this: the pen you give them is being used to write out your tip.  It isn’t a good time to tick off your customer.

Exact Change

Many restaurants specify that having a cash bank is part of your uniform.  That said, having a bank is not enough.  The bank must be broken down well so you can provide change.  Before every shift, I do two things.  I grab a big handful of coin change.  The other thing I do is have a bank broken down into mostly fives and singles.   Your bank must be broken down so that you can give change appropriately.  To do so, change must be exact, using coin change if necessary, and allow the guest to leave the tip of their choice.|

Not doing either will cost you money and could upset the guest.  Not giving the guest exact coin change, by instead rounding down to the nearest dollar, will cost you money, as will not giving the guest enough change to give you the tip they want.  For example, let’s say you give the guest $8 in change.  You need to give them $8 in singles.  If you give them a $5 and 3 singles, they cannot leave you a $4 tip.  You may be giving away a dollar.  The last thing you want to do is leave money on the table or upset the guest.


Smiling is the best way to be perceived as friendly and likeable.   Being friendly and likeable is the best way to make money for you and for the restaurant.  With that, your smile is your most important asset.

Having a Sense of Humor

Knowing how and when to laugh and joke around is crucial. Even the most serious of guests are out to have a good time.   That said, interacting with the guest is an art form.  Your sense of humor must be discreet and tactful and be mindful of the guest.  On a related note, humor helps you smile more.   Above all, having a sense of humor allows you to have fun.

Erik Bullman is a Writer and a Waiter.  He has more than 6 years experience in Hospitality and Sales.  His blog is Writer, Salesman, Waiter.

About Erik Bullman

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