1. Never expect a tip. You have to make somebody WANT to give you a tip.
2. Always greet a table with a smile.
3. Always make sure the menu is clean and complete before handing it to a guest.
4. Always hold a cup or glass from the bottom.
5. Never take someone's fork off of their plate and put it on the table when you know they will need it again. Just bring them a new fork (or knife or spoon).
6. Think about what your guests may need or want before they do.
7. When pouring coffee, leave a space at the top of the cup if you know that they like to put sugar or milk.
8. Clean up the wrappers from sugar, and the empty creamer containers right away. Don’t leave a pile of trash on the guests’ table.
9. Always give people some dollar bills as change when they pay their bill. It makes it easier for them to tip you.
10. Always use a guest's name if you can. Many times you can get it from their credit card. (“Thank-you Mr. Jones.”)
11. Lay with the left and remove with the right…or serve from the guest’s left, and remove dirty plates, etc. from the guest’s right.
12. Always serve the women at the table first.
13. Don't bring the food to the table until everyone's food is ready.
14. Don’t auction off the food. Saying “who had the burger?” is unprofessional. You should know who had the burger before you go to the table.
15. Never point at a guest either up close, or across the dining room.
16. If someone's credit card declined, ask them for a new form of payment discreetly. Sometimes it's best to just return the portfolio to the table with a note inside asking for another form of payment. You never want to embarrass someone in front of a friend or client.
17. You can't sing the happy birthday song to anyone because its copy written.
18. Always make sure your uniform is cleaned and pressed (or at least wrinkle free).
19. Always have breath mints available for yourself.
20. Offer to hang up someone's coat if there is a coat rack available.
21. Always make sure the menu that you hand someone is clean, correct and complete.
22. If you spill something on somebody offer to pay their dry cleaning bill even if you have to pay it out of your own pocket.
23. Be on time for work every day.
24. If your boss calls you in to work an unexpected shift say “yes” if at all possible, especially if you are new to the job.
25. Always make sure the tables in your section are clean, set up the same, and all condiments are fully stocked.
26. Help your coworkers out whenever you can.
27. Always be listening for what a guest needs no matter whose table it is.
28. Always try to sense the mood of your tables. Some of them may like to chat with you and others want to be left alone.
29. If a table has paid its bill but they stay and keep talking, keep servicing them.
30. When you have extra time ask for extra work. An employer appreciates a hard worker, and staying busy makes your shift go faster.
31. Don't worry about a co-worker that is working less hard then you. Just do the absolute best job you can.
32. Learn as much as your employer is willing to teach you. It will help you in the future on other jobs.
33. Never reach across a person to pick something up or set something down if at all possible.
34. Never ask a customer to hand something to you, if at all possible.
35. Never take food to the table if you aren't happy with it. You are your guests advocate and representative. If you wouldn’t want to eat it, why would they?
36. Know the menu... forwards backwards and inside out. You need to know prices, options, etc.
37. Clarify Coke or Pepsi. Some people refer to coke when they really mean Pepsi and vice versa.
38. Always wear a name tag. You want your guests to know your name so they will ask for you again.
39. Memorize what your regulars like to eat and drink. People like to be remembered. It makes them feel important.
40. Remember that the most important person to a person is themselves. People tend to enjoy having you ask them about them more than they enjoy hearing about you.
41. Always suggestive sell. It makes more money for your employer, and you.
42. Always know if something on the menu is unavailable. An unavailable item is “86-ed”. (ie: “86 the catfish.”)
43. Always know the daily specials, what is in them, and how they are made.
44. Never touch someone's food with your bare hands.
45. Always know if a menu item contains common allergens. If you aren’t sure, ask the chef. If you can’t ask the chef, recommend an item that you are confident about. Allergen’s can kill.
46. Never quit one job without another one already secured.
47. Use “my pleasure” instead of “you’re welcome”, and mean it. People like how “my pleasure” sounds.
48. Even if you can't get to a table right away at least acknowledge the fact that the guests are there. Tell them you'll be right with them.
49. Always let people pick a table that they would like. Don't make them sit anywhere that they don't want to sit.
50. Never let a table get cluttered.
51. Ask if people want drink refills before they have to ask you. Alternatively, give them refills without asking.
52. If you sense that someone is displeased, try to get them to tell you “why” even if they don't want to. They may just be trying to be polite or not make a scene, but you can't fix it if they don't tell you what's wrong.
53. Remember that the guest is always right even when you know they are not.
54. You can't always make everybody happy, but you need to make sure you did everything you could.
55. Never talk bad about another server, your restaurant, another restaurant, or another guest.
56. Keep your voice down. No one wants to hear about what you did last night while you're talking to your co-workers.
57. Don't use your phone at work. You can talk and text when your shift is done or while you are on break.
58. Always park away from the front doors. The best parking spots are not for you.
59. If a guest is dining alone, offer them a newspaper or magazine to keep themselves occupied.
60. If there's an item on the menu that you don't like, don't ever say you don't like it. You should say that it's just not your personal favorite.
61. If someone asks you what you'd order, tell them what your favorite is. if someone asks you what's good on the menu, don't say “everything”.
62. If you are responsible for answering the phone, answer it in three rings.
63. If you are responsible for answering the phone, and you're talking to someone face to face, excuse yourself and answer the phone. The person you are talking face-to-face will understand, but the person calling just knows that you aren’t answering and will get angry.
64. Even if you don't enjoy your job do it to the best of your ability.
65. If you are sick then don't come to work. No one wants you to serve them food if you're sick.
66. Always ask for time off as far in advance as possible.
67. Learn how to carry a tray with confidence.
68. Never set a tray on an unoccupied table.
69. Never go onto the floor without a tray in your hand.
70. Never make a trip onto the floor empty handed.
71. Learn how to “count-up” when giving making change for someone.
72. Always admit when you screw-up. Don’t try to cover up a mistake by making up a story or giving an excuse. Admitting your error defuses the situation.
73. Teach your co-worker these tricks of the trade too. If they are successful, and you are successful, the restaurant will be successful. Everyone makes money when the restaurant attracts more guests.
And, so, there it is. 73 things you can do to "WOW" your guests and your boss. I'm sure there are more, but these are the things that came to my mind first. Maybe I'll add to the list down the road. Stay tuned...