The mission is for everyone to win, you, the restaurant, and the guest.
“Bringing back old time manners.”
1. SMILE as you greet the guests. It sounds so simple, but it is THE most important part of the experience. I’m not a big time smiler right up front, it seems that most women are. If you can’t give them at least a decent grin, you probably should look for another line of work. Make sure you get to a table within two minutes of seating. Let them get settled in and make sure you smile as you approach. Just do it. “Good evening, welcome to The Top.”
2. Ask for COCKTAILS or a beverage right away. We’re selling here, let’s get going. “Would you care for a cocktail? Something from the bar?”
3. Defer to the HOST, give him the opportunity to order for everyone in smaller parties, and definitely for his date. Figure out who he is right away, in most instances it’s the first person to speak, and make sure you make his guests happy! When taking the order always ask for an appetizer. Don’t rush things. When they are ready to order the entree, take the order, and make a chart of the table. Clockwise, 1 through whatever. Number 1 is the person closest to the door. Circle the ladies. Now you’ve got a record and a reference guide all in one.
4. SERVE all food from the left and all beverages from the right. REMOVE everything from the right. The only exception are for tables against a wall, and booths. Serve the ladies first, then the gentlemen. Serve the host last, male or female. Say something positive when everything is in place, such as, “Enjoy your entree.” Understated and elegant.
5. READ the table and ANTICIPATE needs. Sometimes the busser or another waiter will forget to anticipate the next course. Make sure all necessary items are in place before serving anything. The same goes for removing unnecessary items, like an extra fork or spoon. Make sure that when you serve something you come back within 3 minutes to make sure that everything is all right. That is your chance to correct any problems. After this it’s too late. “Is everything to your liking?” Just wait for a nod and let them eat.
6. BE INVISIBLE but there when you are needed. Make your hands invisible in relation to the food and beverages. Handle all glassware as close to the bottom as possible. PLEASE do not remove any course plates until EVERYONE is finished. The only exception is if you are specifically asked to remove a plate. Pet Peeve: I hate it when an overzealous busman takes away a gentleman’s plate only to have the lady feel uncomfortable that she is not done. Don’t do it.
7. Always ask for a DESSERT and after dinner drinks or present a dessert menu. “The chef has prepared an excellent creme brulee this evening.” “A cordial perhaps?” You will be surprised at the response.
8. Never bring the CHECK until requested. If you need the table, the polite phrase after, “Can I get you anything else?” is, “Then, may I prepare the bill?”
9. Always THANK the guests upon presentation of the bill. When preparing a cash transaction, always deliver the change, unless told otherwise. Don’t chance it, period.
10. HAVE A GOOD TIME. If you have a good time, they will too. Why do you think they call it a party?
Whether you are a waiter in a diner, or a captain in a five star restaurant, these skills will generate higher tips. Guaranteed.