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Tips to Improve Tips



Being a server is a hard job. It’s half art, half science. You’ll be glad to know that, as a waiter, there are a few things you can do to help increase the size of your tips. People have even written research papers about this, so you can trust that this stuff is legit. Try implementing some of these ideas on your next shift. It might take some practice, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised when the tip allocation comes back. From increasing the total bill size to using your customers’ names, here are some easy ways to increase the size of your tips.


Remember and Use Your Customers’ Names


Using your customers’ names is a powerful way to create good feelings. Your customer will feel like they are receiving highly personalized service, rather than being just another customer. This is a great way to inspire people to tip higher.


You might be wondering how it’s possible to learn your customers’ names without being weird and introducing yourself. If you’re a barista, you’ll get their name with their order. If you are working tableside, you’ll see their name on the credit card. Just drop a “Thank you, Ms. Harris” when you bring the receipt and you’ll make that high restaurant tip automatic.


Don’t Be Afraid to Stand Out


Here’s an odd (but proven) piece of advice for increasing the overall tip distribution. Personalize your appearance in some way, so that you stand out from the other servers. Wear a flower in your hair or a memorable accessory. Obviously, this isn’t possible with fine dining where uniforms are highly regulated.


But for tableside service or quick service in more casual settings, standing out means that you can garner more tips. Not only is this good for your own bank account, but it can help the rest of your team, too. When the tip sharing software does the automatic tip sharing calculations, you can rightfully demand that all your co-workers bow down to that fabulous neon scrunchie.



Entertain People


We’re not saying you need to do a song and a dance — unless that’s part of your job description. It’s enough to simply tell a joke, share a funny story, or draw a smiley face on the receipt. You’ll need to read the room to make sure you apply this trick properly. If done incorrectly, your face will fall and your bank account will cry when the tip distribution software reveals that no one liked your jokes.


Instead, stick with the doodles on the receipts. If you get permission from your manager, get a cheap word puzzle book from the dollar store and give your customers a page with their receipt. Ask your manager to give it a trial, if you’re feeling bold. They’ll see firsthand how successful your entertainment was when they’re calculating how to fairly distribute tips.


Work Better Shifts


Okay, so this isn’t really a tip or trick. It’s common sense. If you work during the slowest time of day, it’s natural that you will see the least amount of tips when the tip pooling software delivers your portion. The next time your boss is figuring out how to calculate tips, ask them to give you a chance on a busier shift.


Typically, it’s hard to fight your way into better shifts. For example, more seasoned staff often get better and busier time slots, allowing them to make more money than newer team members. However, if you haven’t been around as long, there are other things you can do to get shifts when customers tend to be more generous. If your workplace uses a tip pooling model, try making the argument that if you do really well, you can increase the total tip amount for everyone. It’s worth a shot.



Increase the Total Size of the Bill


There’s a super obvious way to increase the size of your tip. It has nothing to do with how much skin you show or how many jokes you tell. The best way for servers and bartenders to increase their payout from a tip sharing software is to increase the total size of their customers’ bills. Now, this doesn’t mean you should tell people to buy things they don’t want.


You can increase the total bill amount by simply describing the menu with enthusiasm. Talk about the delicious appetizer options and your favorite mixed drink. If it’s a busy night, however, you should stick to upselling the entrees. Extra side dishes slow down service, and slow turnover means less profit for you.


It’s not easy to keep a smile on your face all day while delivering high-quality service. Wait staff are constantly on their feet, responsible for making that first impression with the customer. Thankfully, you can do a lot more than just hustle and grin at your customers to increase the size of your tips. Try these tips and see your take-home pay soar.



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