It’s no secret that the service industry has a high turnover rate. It’s rare that anyone WANTS to be waiting tables for a living. Me? Well, I’m just here for the money, but I’m also pretty damn good at getting people to like me, which makes the job a little more stimulating for me. I also enjoy the fact that I have the ability to impact someone’s day. By giving a compliment, making someone laugh or pointing out an item they might enjoy. When I am at work I always try to be my best self and hope that I made someone feel better about themselves or their day. There is a lot of power in that feeling.
I don’t think some people realize how difficult and draining the job of a server or bartender can be. Aside from the physical aspects of lots of heavy lifting, it’s mentally stimulating and exhausting too. Everytime I approach a customer I am on the lookout for anything I could possible do or say to get the guest(s) to appreciate me. I am exchanging my attention, time and energy in hopes that they will reward with their money. Yes I’m there to sell food and beverages, but really at the end of the day I am selling myself.
I’ll do anything for a tip, well almost anything. I’m that server that goes the extra mile. Like a fucking genie your wish is my command. If I can do it, I will. I take pictures from different angles, I’ll will melt butter for you, I’ll make a chocolate milk for one kid and a shirley temple for the other in a kid’s cup and won’t charge you for it, I will split the check up to 5 ways for God’s sake!
What I find is how I approach my tables makes a world of difference. Like kids, for example. When I say kids I mean 18-22 year-olds. Kids are notoriously hated by servers for being extremely shitty tippers. We get… you don’t have a lot of money. One evening I was taking care of a table of 20 year old girls, it was their friends 21st birthday at midnight. They had obviously been drinking, and a bar/restaurant up the block had refused to serve them. They got a whole bunch of apps to share and club soda/cranberries to drink. Umm yeah they totally slipped something into those, but props to them for being sneaky about it, because I never once caught them. The whole night I was talking to them and joking with them and complimenting them on their outfits, because hey, I’ve been there. When they closed out they left me notes on the receipt saying how awesome I had been and how they wish they could have tipped me more. Their tip was only a dollar or two short of 20% (More than I was honestly expecting.) Another time I was taking care of this table of 19-20 year olds and wound up trying to remember the “Hoedown Throwdown” with them. I grated them because of their party size but they still left me extra to be sure I got a full 20%.. I put my time energy into to taking care of these groups and they took care of me. A little effort goes a long way.
I dance with my tables on Saturday nights, I’ll sing karaoke with them, sometimes I’ll take a shot with them (And pray no one catches me.) I interact, and interacting and making those connections goes a long way for me.
Some people like to give cut and dry service, but that is not my style and I am living pretty comfortably at the moment. Any good server will tell you that the secret (along with paying attention to details and multi-tasking of course) is to sell yourself.