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If you wait tables or tend bar, you know that a large portion of your income is from tips.

Getting the best tip possible from each customer can have a big impact on how much you take home at the end of the day.

If you want to your own restaurant some day, you may get there faster than you think.

The best way to get good tips while waiting tables is to create a satisfying dining experience for your guests.


Working in restaurants that have well-established service standards that train their wait staff is a sign of an organized business. One that you should be working in if you have any plans of taking your career to entrepreneur status in the restaurant industry.

Learning how to increase sales and maximize customer satisfaction from the beginning to the end of the service cycle, helps increase the overall total of each guest check when the guest is calculating your tip.

3 Steps That Can Boost Your Tips

They may vary with each restaurant but are accepted as universal regardless of the type of establishment you are working in.


Step 1: Introduce Yourself

Greet tables in the dining room within 2 minutes of arrival.


Greet guests at the bar within 1 minute of arrival.

 the bartender greeting customers

I get crazy when no one acknowledges me and my guest(s), after being seated at a table for several minutes or waiting at a bar to order a cocktail. I have been known to leave establishments if the acknowledgment has taken too long according to my standards, I do take into account how busy the restaurant might be.

Being in the industry and I’m sure my fellow restaurant peers will agree, we do have a tendency to be more compassionate.

I will usually tip 20% or more!

If I’m being engorged, and there is an abundance of staff just walking around in dream land, I’m not going to be so generous.

I highly recommend down loading our Skill Assessment. See where your talents lie and use them to be a successful owner! 


Rene Breguet

Establish a rapport; personalize the experience by introducing yourself and start a conversation to identify the customer’s needs.

Be warm and welcoming, but respect your customer’s space.

Don’t over do it; you’re not trying to get a role in a Hollywood movie.

Be yourself and be genuine. How you present yourself to guests whether it be conservative or casual will depend on the type of establishment you’re working in (fine dining or bar).

Remember, respect your customer’s space, don’t forget that.

waitress suggestive selling

Spending too much time at a table while other customers, are waiting and needing something can effect your tips. Know when to make conversation and when not to. Body language and tone of voice are great indicators.

Step 2: TakIng the Order & Know The Difference Between UP-SELLING and SUGGESTIVE Selling

Know the difference between suggestive selling and up-selling.

Suggestive selling is getting your customer to make a purchase he or she had not intended to make. Use suggestive selling based on the guest’s needs.

It’s important to read your guest and suggest what would be appropriate. When a guest is asking for your opinion on a selection, (suggestive selling) it’s your opportunity to connect; they’re looking to you to help them decide what they want to eat. Get it right, and your tip will increase.

Up-selling is moving the customer up in price with an item they already indicated they were ready to buy.Tips go up as sales go up. Up-sell to a premium liquor or taller size if drinks are ordered; suggest lemonades or soda if water is ordered.

Use a beverage tray when serving more than two beverages. Serve beverages immediately after they are ordered, before any food orders are taken.

Make sure you can demonstrate good knowledge about the food wines, liquors, and beers.

For example, know how to open and present a bottle of wine correctly; know the difference between a pilsner, a porter, and pale ale. What wines pair well with entree or appetizers.

Make sure you have good knowledge of the food menu, without being overbearing, suggest a specific appetizer that complements the meal.

Get to know what appetizers pair well with entree selections. A pre-palate tantalizer is always a great meal and tip enhancer.

Step 3: Check Back


Check back with your guests within 2 minutes or two bites.

Continue making conversation when appropriate throughout the meal.

Pre-bus the table at appropriate times between courses, but never make your guests feel rushed, especially between the dinner and dessert course.

Be attentive to your guest’s needs, but without being overly intrusive.There is nothing more distasteful or an appetite killer than having dishes, piling up on a table with half eaten food still on them when others are still eating. The longer they wait for it, the more it will reduce the tip in many cases.

Knowing when to approach a table during their meal is once an again a learned habit. Body language, eye contact, and being in tune with who is eating (seniors, children, and a hungry sports team) can help you with the timing of checking back.

Timing is important when mentioning the dessert menu. Suggesting a specific dessert, coffee or after dinner drinks can add to the bill and tip but don’t push it. If there is a sweet tooth at the table, they will speak up and save room. But always ask!

server handing bill

Determine if the guest is ready for the check. If so, make sure it is totaled correctly and drop the check at this time.

In formal dining settings, the bill is usually only given to the table after it has been asked for.


Maybe you’re an experienced server or bartender, perhaps your not either way if owning your restaurant is in your future, TIPS are your future.

Never lose sight of that even when your day/night isn’t going well always try to turn it around. A positive attitude can work wonders for you and your customers and eventually in your TIP…



What is your bring home pay from your tips?

How much can you put away towards starting your restaurant?

Start your saving and your planing for your restaurant!


The usual tip is fifteen (15) to twenty (20) percent of the pre-tax amount of the bill.

Self-service restaurants: 10%

Extra accommodating waiters: an extra $5.00 for extra special service.

Lingering at your table on a busy night: an extra ten (10) to fifteen (15) percent.

Bartenders: fifteen (15) to twenty (20) percent of the total bill.

Now you can start to see the big picture and what it’s going to take to start your restaurant.

The next step is getting financial advice on how to save and where you need to put your tips to start your restaurant.
Now is a good time to talk about your finances and tips.
Talk to financial restaurant expert and banker Pat Walsh.
Contact Us Today

Pat will give some advice answer some of my questions and give some golden nuggets on how to get the most out of your tips and save for your future restaurant en devours.


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