Tips2: Tips for Improving Your Tips by David Hayden

Servers:  go here and buy this book.  Once you read it and apply Mr. Hayden’s techniques and insights, you will start making more money immediately.

The majority of servers I know HATE upselling.  Recently, I had to attend a mandatory meeting on how to be a better server.  At 8 AM.  What it boiled down to was an hour lecture on why upselling is good.  Well duh, but how do you do it without straight out asking, “Would you like fries with that?”  And since when is upselling the mark of a great server?  I left the meeting wondering, “What would David do?” and wishing I had spent an hour reading his blog. 

As a long time reader of Tips for Tips and The Hospitality Formula Network I know what David would do.  By using his techniques I’ve learned to upsell, with sincerity, to the benefit of my guests.  The techniques Mr. Hayden outlines in his book are so awesome guests won’t even think of it as upselling, but rather having something they forgot they wanted.  Yes, in the end this means more money for you, but isn’t that what it’s all about. 

The book is not the advice of someone who has been waiting tables for a couple of years; it is the successful every day methods perfected by a 15 year veteran of the food service industry.  Chapters include everything from the essentials such as looking your best and being early (yes, it seems self evident, but trust me, it isn’t) to dealing with problem customers and/or managers.  All servers will face one unhappy person (and depending on where you work, it might be one per hour) so knowing how to treat that guest will not only help you keep your job (if you want it), but also allow you to keep control of the situation and defuse it.

Best of all you will learn to be a knowledgable professional rather than someone who brings people their food.  This book will change your life.  Really.  I’m not lying.  I tried to use Mr. Hayden’s advice in the shit hole where I used to work, but I realized I was beating a dead horse.  His methods weren’t unsound, the business attracted customers you would expect to find at a tractor pull.  So I quit my job and found a classier restaurant.  Now I use so many of Mr. Hayden’s tips I could pass as his clone, and my bank account loves it. 

Managers, this book is not just for servers.  Reading it will give you a leg up on being the best manager around.  Handling your waitstaff is less about being bossy and more about understanding.  If you know what is expected of servers, you will be able to help them serve the guests (because counting the money at the end of the night isn’t your only responsibility).  Happy servers = happy guests = job security for you.  This book will help you be part of the solution.

Don’t just buy one copy either.  Buy one for yourself and one for the waitstation because I’ve learned in the last month, nothing earns you more money than great teamwork.


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. pissyserver
    Jun 23, 2011 @ 07:48:20

    “And since when is upselling the mark of a great server?”


    That whole lecture had me scratching my head.


  2. thatgengirl
    Jun 23, 2011 @ 17:18:33

    Best advice ever given to me (during my very first week as a server) was from a manager after a table complained about me. He (the manager) said “Gen, don’t let it ruin your day. 1 out of every 10 people is an asshole for no reason at all.” It became my mantra.

    Sometimes I think people hate other people being happy. If you appear happy (even if it’s your job), they have to ruin your day. I feel sorry for them. I’m also surprised at how differently the customers behave at the Spaghetti Western compared to the Harribalsac. Nearly everyone is polite and gracious as opposed to rude and selfish.


  3. Onyx
    Jun 23, 2011 @ 17:28:04

    It’s great you care about what you do, and look into ways to improve things at your work place, not just for your pocket book, but for the morale of your environment.

    If you’re going to do something, you might as well do it right.

    We went to a place the other day for lunch, and the server who we dealt with, I think she should read your blog, and perhaps this David’s blog and book, too. She was rude and short with us the entire time, and then smiled fondly at my newborn son as we paid the bill. We tipped, but only because we feel it’s rude to not tip, and we don’t believe in not tipping. When we go out with family, and they pay the bill, we always cover the tip to make sure the server is tipped properly (our folks are of the old school like 10% deal). And we tip well, they need to really annoy us, or the food needs to be really bad to for anything less, we aren’t super fussy, we don’t cause problems, the only thing we ever ask is that we get the pitcher of water we ask for, and if there are no pitchers, please refill my glass, and don’t lie to me and say there are no pitchers, when I know there are because the place is dead, and I had a pitcher last time I was there.

    I don’t expect much when I dine out. I want my food and drink and I want to be left alone. I’m pretty forgiving if I can see the server is busy. However, I will NOT tolerate rude service. Don’t take an attitude with me. I’ve walked a mile in your shoes and there is not excuse to be rude.

    Hmm… I’m ranting. Sorry.

    I’ve been away from reading your blog for awhile, congrats on the new place, happy to hear you’re enjoying it 🙂

    Every day gets better.


  4. DarcsFalcon
    Jun 24, 2011 @ 00:20:49

    You know, Cat, I have to say, I’ve known a few women in my day who looked at waitressing as just a way to pull in some money. They weren’t interested in doing it well, they didn’t want a career. It was just a stop-gap job, that lasted 20 years. I’m sure you know the type of which I speak.

    Many people look at waitressing as a means to an end. I did when I was young. I went to college to get out of food service. I worked “real” jobs for several years after college and I freaking HATED them. Waitressing is my career. I make damned good money, I don’t work 40 hours a week, I work nights so I can sleep or play all day, moving around keeps me (sort of) in shape, and I get to interact with different people every day. It’s a perfect job for me.

    So it’s really nice to see you approach your job in this way – how to make it better, not just for yourself but the customer and the restaurant too. You’ve said more than once that this is your career and I think I’ve always sort of taken that tongue-in-cheek. But as time goes on, I see you mean it. Nothing says dedication like trying to improve our own performance in something. I’m impressed, I applaud you. 🙂

    Thank you! I do like my job and I want us to be the best we can.


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