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How to Save Money as a Server: Practical Tips

Looking to increase your earnings as a server? Saving money in this fast-paced industry can seem challenging, but with a few clever strategies up your sleeve, it’s totally doable! Here are 20 practical tips that can help you boost your income and save more money. Let’s start with the first ten:

1. Learn Effective Table Management

In the restaurant business, effective table management is crucial. By managing your tables smartly, you can increase table turnover rate and serve more customers during peak hours. Use these tips to improve your table management skills. This way, you earn tips from more customers without increasing your expenses significantly.

2. Offer Specials or Upgrades Wisely

Upselling is paramount in the service industries. Master the art of offering specials or upgrades to customers in a genuine and appealing way. Your objective should be to enhance their dining experience while increasing the value of their order – resulting in higher tips for you.

3. Minimize Order Mistakes

Mistakes can be costly – both for your pocket and for customer satisfaction. Minimize order mistakes as much as possible to avoid order redos that put strains on the kitchen and ultimately reduce your tips. Consider using an organized spreadsheet system or an easy-to-use mobile app to track your orders accurately.

4. Avoid Wasting Food Supplies

In most restaurants, servers are often responsible for food wastage because they have direct contact with customers’ orders. Always double-check orders before placing them to the kitchen, in order to avoid unnecessary wastage. This approach also helps to save money for both you and your employer within the economy.

5. Utilize Smart Tips Sharing

Some restaurants operate a tip-pooling system which can work to your benefit if utilized correctly. Share your tips with co-workers who have a direct influence on the customer service experience – such as kitchen staff or bussers. Happy coworkers make a happy restaurant!

6. Use Time Efficiently

Your time is money. The more efficient you are with your time, the more tables you can serve, and the more tips you make. Use spare moments to clean and reset your tables quickly, gather needed supplies, or check in with customers. Every second counts in this business.

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7. Double Check Orders Pre-Delivery

Doubling check your orders before delivering them to customers can save not only time but also embarrassment from returned orders due to errors. This not only increases overall service speed but also enhances customer satisfaction – both inevitably contribute to higher tips.

8. Provide Excellent Customer Service

As the face of the restaurant, providing excellent customer service should be one of your top priorities. Happy customers tip generously—and return often. Understand their needs, engage in friendly conversations, and always wear a smile – these little things go a long way.

9. Grow Repeat Customer Base

Repeat customers are key for consistent tips. The more often they come in, the more they likely they are to request for favorite servers. Build relationships with these loyal customers; knowing their preferences can help curate a more personalized dining experience and encourage larger tips.

10. Attend Server Training Programs

In the world of servers, knowledge is power. Keep your skills sharp and standards high by attending server training programs. Many are available online and offer valuable insights about table service, wine know-how, or even new software knowledge – all of which can increase your earning potential significantly.

11. Adopt Energy-Saving Habits

Hopefully, you’re already conserving energy in your personal life, switching off lights and appliances when they’re not in use. But have you considered doing the same at work? Turning off unnecessary kitchen equipment or unoccupied backroom lights could help save on the establishment’s energy bills. You can enhance your savings by influencing your employer to incorporate energy-efficient appliances—a move that can potentially lower operating expenses.

12. Bring Own Meals To Work

No doubt it is tempting to the tasty dishes in front of you during your shift. However, eating restaurant food daily can drastically increase your expenses. Try packing a cost-efficient lunch from home instead. You’ll also be doing your health a favour by controlling what goes into your food. Furthermore, consider shopping at local grocery stores for meal ingredients—the savings can significantly add up over time.

13. Utilize Public Transport

If possible, try using public transport for commuting to work—the savings will surprise you! Aside from eliminating expenses related to vehicle maintenance, fuel, and parking fees, you’ll also contribute positively to the environment by reducing carbon emissions. Alternatively, consider establishing a carpool system with colleagues who live nearby to save on transportation costs.

14. Buy Uniform Second Hand

Continually purchasing new server uniforms can be quite expensive, especially if the restaurant insists on frequent replacements. Consider buying second-hand uniforms, which are usually more affordable and sometimes equally efficient as new ones. Sites like eBay and thrift shops offer many options.

15. Keep Up With Menu Changes

By paying attention to menu changes, you can strategically steer customers towards higher-profit dishes. If you’re knowledgeable about menu details, customers will more readily trust your recommendations. Consequently, they will likely spend more which can increase your tips. So keep those eyes glued to the menu and the kitchen staff briefed on customers’ preferences.

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16. Establish Good Relations With Kitchen

A harmonious relationship with the kitchen staff is invaluable. With an excellent rapport, they’re likelier to go above and beyond for you when it counts, like during peak hours or when handling special requests. This lets you efficiently serve your customers—ensuring they have an exceptional experience, and subsequently, the tips should be impressive too.

17. Practice Efficient Tray Carrying

Becoming skilled at carrying multiple plates at once improves table service efficiency—resulting in happier customers and possibly higher tips. If carrying several plates seems tricky, ask a more experienced colleague or practice at home using unloaded plates; coordination comes with time and patience.

18. Clean Up Quickly After Shifts

Shortening closing time after your last customer sees you home earlier—you get to rest up for the next day of work. In some situations, early close may even translate into saved wages for management who might then agree to share some of this saved money through bonuses or incentives.

19. Embrace Multitasking Skills

As a server, multitasking is vital—but so is managing it right! Being able to take care of different tasks simultaneously makes you indispensable—increasing potential earnings by serving more groups and getting larger tips. So whether it’s taking orders from table 5 while refilling water for table 3 and firing an order to the kitchen—an effective multitasking server is always in demand.

20. Encourage Group Dining

Party bookings translate into higher sales and larger tips. By promoting your restaurant as an ideal place for group dining (birthday parties, corporate events, etc.), you’ll get a chance to serve larger parties and potentially make more tips. It could also mean less work–instead of dealing with many single orders, a group booking is usually simpler to handle.

In Conclusion

The life of a server can be tough, always on the go with long hours and variable income. But with a little financial discipline and strategic planning, you can save money. Incorporating the practices discussed above will not only make you a more efficient server but also put some extra dollars in your pocket. You do not have to implement all of these suggestions at once; start small and build as per your comfort and convenience. Happy saving!