Tales from a Former Server: Phrasing (Or, How to Position Yourself More Favorably to Guests)

Tales from a Former Server: Phrasing (Or, How to Position Yourself More Favorably to Guests)

By an Anonymous Former Server, as part of our new 'Tales from a Former Server' column

I’ve worked in a total of ten restaurants in two states over the past 12 years. I’ve opened three and have gone through so much training that I could probably never forget what I’ve learned, even if I wanted to. However, even with all of those restaurants and all of the training, there was only one that taught me how to properly speak to a table. At first I thought it was stupid. “I know what to say and what I’m doing,” I thought. But as I began to apply the following phrases, I noticed a difference in my table’s behavior toward me. Even after I left that particular restaurant, I still employed these tactics and they worked every time. 

When it comes to talking to your tables, there are some really easy ways to manipulate the conversation in your favor. I wish I still had the training materials because they were gold (and impossible to get a hold of now that I am no longer an employee), but I remember a few and would like to share them.

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Tales from a Former Server: Creating a Guest Experience (Or, Smile Damnit — You're on Stage!)

Tales from a Former Server: Creating a Guest Experience (Or, Smile Damnit — You're on Stage!)

By an Anonymous Former Server, as part of our new 'Tales from a Former Server' column

I’m just going to preface the following post with this: I am a service snob. You’d think, having been in the biz for so long, that I would give my servers the benefit of the doubt. But it’s actually quite the opposite: I expect a $hit ton from you. Why? Because I’ve been there, done that, and let me tell you: it’s seriously not that hard. This is especially true if you’ve worked at a place for more than a year. The menu hardly changes (unless you work at one of those finicky we-change-our-menu-all-the-time places, for which I feel sorry for you because daaaaamn, that’s a lot of memorizing), and your script should be the same for every single table. 

Nothing irks me more than a server who does not provide an experience. I once had a boss put this into perspective for me. He said, “This may be just another shift for you, but for your guests this is a birthday, an anniversary, an experience. So remember that you are on stage and go put on one hell of a performance.”

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Tales From a Former Server: Brand Loyalty (Or, Give Love to Get Love)

Tales From a Former Server: Brand Loyalty (Or, Give Love to Get Love)

With over ten years in the restaurant and hospitality business, I’ve seen it all – from gypsies attempting to pay their bill in fortune-telling to managers buying homeless men holiday meals. I’ve worked in small operations to large corporate companies and have experienced what it’s like to work in every FOH position. Not that I meant for it to happen, but this makes me an expert in the biz. I’m not part of the ‘big guys’ crew’ – those on top who make menu or pricing decisions. I’m an expert on the everyday happenings within the restaurant.

When ‘experts’ write advice on how to manage employees, I almost laugh because chances are they have never held a serving, bussing or host position in their lives. And yet there they are, offering advice on how to best manage employees. If you want to know what really matters to your employees, you need to ask a former server.

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