3 Strategies To Improve Gratuities

For most servers in the restaurant industry, gratuities are a way of life and can improve the quality of service on any single day. Sure, when most guests sit down for a meal there is an understanding that a server will be left some amount of money in the form of a gratuity. However, the most successful servers understand they can control the amount of tips they’ll receive. These servers understand the value of upselling guests on the items they’ve ordered.

Utilizing these techniques is one of the easiest ways to increase tips for servers. Upselling is nothing more than using suggestive selling techniques that are welcoming and non-threatening to guests. Here are three strategies to help servers improve their gratuity.

Know the menu

A server with a thorough understanding of the menu – the wines, desserts, top shelf liquors – is at an advantage over a guest. For example, instead of simply offering a “house” glass of wine, a server will know what Chardonnay goes best with the fish special. By offering specific items – dark chocolate cake, the French Bordeaux – the server is demonstrating their knowledge giving the guest a feeling of not wanting to miss out. In doing so, he or she has not only improved the guests experience at the restaurant, but the server has also increased the total amount of the bill resulting in a greater gratuity.

Be descriptive

The first chance to upsell happens shortly after the customer is seated. This interaction usually begins with a greeting and an offer to take a drink. But rather than simply taking a drink order, a server can improve their gratuity by recommending a seasonal drink special or their own favorite drink on the menu. For example, by suggesting a mango margarita made with fresh mangos, a customer who may originally considered ordering a soda now can’t stop thinking about that margarita. In doing this, a server has converted a $2.00 soda into an $8.00 liquor sale. This strategy can easily be used for other menu items like appetizers, salads, and soups.

Be assumptive and suggestive

A server should always assume the guest wants what they’re selling. If the server is enthusiastic, the guest will enthusiastically receive what they’re being told. For example, if a customer orders a margarita on the rocks, a simple mention of a couple brands of tequila the restaurant carries will elicit a brand choice on the part of the guest. This changes the sales from a low-profit drink to a high-profit premium cocktail. It’s important for servers to know that the expensive menu items aren’t necessarily the highest profit items. They should take time to learn the profit driving menu items.

These are a few examples of strategies for servers to increase their daily sales and, subsequently, their gratuity totals. If you’d like to discuss more strategies, schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.


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