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Waiter/Waitress Questions


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  • Waiter/Waitress Questions

    Hey, for all you folks who have at times in the past (or present) been servers, a few questions ...

    How many tables could you effectively handle at one time? I can do about three to five, but that depends on:

    * time of day (I can handle more at lunch),
    * are an SA or Expo working (or both?!)
    * where my section is (the Sun is SO far away ...)
    * how many people are at a table. I was running an eight-top and two two-tops Sunday night and I felt swamped.

    I've noticed some improvement in my "serving" abilities (for one, I don't "hover" as much as I used too). And my feet don't hurt as much after a ten hour shift. My average income at the end of the night completely blows, though. After tipping out, I clear $65 on a good night, so I'm looking for any "tricks of the trade" to increase my productivity so that I can handle more tables, and clear more money!

    It really sucks right now ... I'm making more at my part time job (delivering pizzas two to three nights a week, plus the check from that) then I am at my full time job! [Frown]

    [ 10-22-2002, 04:50 PM: Message edited by: C in a J ]

  • #2

    I can't begin to tell you how many years I waitressed. I hated every one of them too - well, that's not really true, because I had some pretty awesome regulars who were very good to me tip wise. I also got along well with the people I worked with, so that helped a great deal also. It made the days go faster.

    The last place I waitressed at was a diner. I only did weekends, and I never brought home under $100 each day. Sunday's were very good money wise. I usually made $125 (after tipping out), but I worked hard and earned every penny of it.

    I don't know who you have to tip out, but I'm assuming the bus boy and a bar tender. No bar at the diner meant no extra tipping out. I was usually faster at busing my own tables than the bus boy, so that meant more customers for me. It also meant that the bus boy didn't earn as much from me because I would bus 75% of my own tables.

    I usually had 5 tables unless I did the counter, which consisted of 10 seats. If you did the counter, you were also given a table. Counters sucked because you usually don't make as much money, but if you get your regulars and know how to work it, it wasn't always bad.

    I always gave good service, even if the customers didn't deserve it. I always smiled and made sure they had their drinks right away. That was very important. I didn't bitch, moan or complain unless it was in the kitchen. The more pleasant I was, even if I was having an awful day, the better my tips were.

    Also, I always tried to get my side work done early, because everybody else would be hurrying by the end of their shift to get theirs done. Rather than them staying over to get their work done, they would ask if I could take tables for them, which I gladly did. More money in my pocket.

    I don't know if any of this helped, but I wish you lots of luck and hope you make plenty of money.


    • #3
      I tip 2% to the busser, and 1% each to the food runner and bar-tender. Sadly, I don't get to tip less if they're working and I have to bus some of my tables or run some of my food.


      • #4
        "but if you get your regulars and know how to work it, it wasn't always bad."

        I'm just going to imagine Katey "working it"


        • #5
          Niteshift I'm not going to touch that one or I'll be in trouble.
          Stay safe and watch your back. Survived Katrina. Now a Official member of the Chocolate City Police.


          • #6
            Boys...BEHAVE!!! [Wink]


            • #7
              I was a waitress once when I was 16.. I was horrible, totally wretched. It didn't help that I had no training and they threw me in the ring with 5 tables and I had no idea of what was on the menu. Needless to say, I found another job quickly cooking pizza at a pizza parlor. I loved that job.. if I had time, I'd go back part-time just for fun.

              Anyway, whenever I go out, here are some things that influence my tip for a waiter/waitress.

              1. I drink a lot of water. A waiter who never lets my glass get empty scores brownie points with me.

              2. Actually bringing my salad out BEFORE the meal is a plus. And waiting to bring the main entree out until after I am DONE with the salad is even better.

              3. Getting the order right.. You don't realize how many people don't even listen to you and get your order totally wrong.

              Hope this helps..
              No partner is worth your tears -
              the one that is won't make you cry. - Anonymous

              <a href=" Raychel&ByArtist=Yes" target="_blank">My Photo Gallery</a>


              • #8
                As a server you are sort of self-employed. You should consider it a business.

                If $65.00 is your take home, then figure how many tables you ran that night, the average bill per table, and then what percentage tip you are receiving for each bill.

                I know some people won't tip regardless of your service, some people overtip (like me) and most tip average 15 to 20%. So you should average 15% in tips.

                If not, look at your service first, then the clientele. It may be the clientele at your business won't support the 15%.

                You then have to figure how much you want to make a night, and be able to run a total nightly billing of enough $ to support that income. For example if you are making $65.00 at 15%, then you are billing out about $435.00 a night. To increase that to $100.00 you need to bill about $700.00.

                You establishment may not support that, so you may have to move in order to clear what you need.

                Step one is to figure out your average percentage tip. Step two is evaluate that amount and decide if you can increase that figure. Step three is to figure how much you need to bill a night to clear the $ you wnat or need, then step four is to put in effect what you discovered in step 3.

                Good Luck.
                "Speed is fine, but accuracy is final"--Bill Jordan


                • #9
                  if you are making $65.00 at 15%,
                  That's actually what I'm making at 11%, assuming* I tip out 4% of my sales (out of my tips) to the busser, expo, and bar-tender.

                  *Assuming all three worked that night. An expo only works Friday through Sunday, and the busser only works Wednesday through Sunday. Most lunches neither work.


                  • #10
                    One thing that will help is if your business serves alcohol. Offer it to them with the appetizer. The more alcohol you sell, the larger the bill, the larger the tip.

                    I am also big on my tea glass being full. I don't want them coming by and refilling it everytime I take a drink, but I don't want it empty either. If I have to ask for more, it blows the tip big time. One thing my brother told me is that you never give them straws unless they ask or there are children. He said people drink more with a straw and you will be running your *** off trying to keep glasses filled.

                    If you can do it naturally, make goo goo with the small kids and say how precious they are. This will boost your tips most of the time. Every parent loves to hear how beautiful their child is.
                    In valor there is hope - Tacitus


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