Waiting tables is one of the most lucrative and easy things, someone, that someone with real skills can do and make at least a livable income. So if you already have a job waiting tables or you’re looking to get one here are some simple, easy-to-implement ways to increase your tips.
Let Them Eat Cake (Actually Candy)
In the book Influence by Dr. Robert Cialdini he writes about an experiment he ran on the wait staff of a restaurant using his theory on reciprocity. Everything was kept the same for this experiment except for one thing. At the end of the meal, the wait staff was instructed to give each of the customers a mint. Surprisingly enough this increased their tip rate by almost 6%. So next time you’re dropping off the check drop off some mints. Also, some prepackaged toothpicks would be a nice touch.
Know Your Customer
If you notice that you have regulars coming in make an extra effort to get to know them. You don’t have to become their best friend or anything or even do anything that particularly big. In fact when I used to work in a sushi restaurant I noticed a couple in their mid 40’s would come in twice a week and would always get the same drinks but never the same food. They usually tipped around 12%. So I tried an experiment. They were sat in my section and even before I walked up to take their order I had already had their chosen drinks. That small gesture always netted me a 20% tip from then on. Not a bad increase in the money I made by remembering a diet coke and a water with lemon.
Create an Experience
Instead of just standing around talking to the other wait staff while you wait for your next turn in the rotation why don’t you start making it an experience for the customers you do have? Maybe learn a few fancy ways to fold the napkin so the person at each table has their own little piece of art. Instead of giving the kids crayons and a coloring book you could give them a little sheet that will show them how to easily do some origami. The whole point here is that you’re looking for some way to create an experience for every single one of your customers so that when they come back to the restaurant they are always requesting you and instead of standing around waiting your turn in the rotation, your section is already filled up and you’re making more money. Also, use your imagination on this, there’s a lot of wiggle room for this suggestion.
Like I said, these are some simple free or extremely cheap things that you can do that will net you a much higher tip rate if you do them consistently. Also if your boss sees that you’re in high demand by the customers you’ll be able to pick and choose your hours with a lot more leverage than any wait staff that do none of this.