As a frequent patron of casual dining establishments, I have observed wait staff making these same common mistakes in an effort to bring in the big tips. These mistakes are the result of inexperienced, under-trained wait staff who does not understand that there are no ‘tricks’ that can replace hard work and quality customer service.
1. Do not cater to the man, while ignoring the needs of the woman.
- I am almost always accompanied by men when I go out. I have sat through lunch with male coworkers whose drinks were refilled three times while my glass sat empty on the table. When I am with coworkers, I am paying for my own lunch. If you take care of them and ignore me I will not leave you a tip.
- When dining with my husband, waitresses tend to cater to him and ignore me. When a couple is dining, it may be the man who pays and leaves the tip, but it is nearly always the woman who determines what that tip should be. If you cater to my husband and ignore me, I will not allow him to leave a large tip. On the other hand, if you take care of my needs, I will ensure that he takes good care of you when tipping. It is important to understand that gentlemen like to see their wives taken care of. If my husband notices that the wait staff is taking good care of me, he will be likely to tip more generously.
- Some women will see this mistake as flirting and threat. They will make sure their husband does not leave a good tip and often results in an argument between the couple.
2. Do not let glasses sit empty. I should not have to ask for a refill. If I am drinking adult beverages ask me ahead of time if you should put in an order for another drink from the bar.
3. Be friendly, but do not talk too much. When I go out with my husband, my sister, or a friend I am not there to visit with you. I expect a service to be provided by you, not for you to be a part of my lunch date. I do not wish to hear about your problems, your family, or your plans for the future. I will be put off by hearing about your problems and view this as a pathetic attempt to get sympathy tips. I am the customer; this is about me, not about you
4. Do not compete for regular customers. My husband and I frequent an establishment that is close to our home. As regulars, the wait staff knows us, and that we tip well. Recently, a particular waitress has started making comments to us and the other wait staff if we are seated in another waitress’s section. This is very unprofessional. I do not want to feel like I am being ‘fought over’ for a tip. If she was an exceptional waitress, we would have asked to be seated in her section. If she had simply greeted us and asked if we were being taken care of, we would have taken notice of this special attention and would have been likely to ask for her on our next visit. Instead, we have started avoiding this waitress and dining there less frequently.
Quality customer service is the best way to gain regular customers and bring in the best tips.