Every restaurant server knows that having a good memory is a huge asset. When you can remember to get lime with that soda instead of lemon, nix the onions for that meal or get the right substitutions, you'll be helping out your customers and improving their opinion of you and your business.
Unfortunately, not everyone has a perfect memory. Of course, your notepad can be a great resource for writing down everything you'll need to know, but improving your memory can also help you get that order correct every time. A better memory can help you become a more attentive server and hopefully translate to better tips. Here are a few ways that you can improve your brain function.
Repeat, repeat, repeat
Harvard University's HealthBeat advised people to repeat everything in order to remember it better.
"When you want to remember something you have just heard or thought about, repeat it out loud. For example, if you've just been told someone's name, use it when you speak with him or her: 'So John, where did you meet Camille?'" the health publication explained.
Repeating it out loud allows you to hear it, think it and say it, drastically improving your ability to recall. Although the example used was for meeting someone, it works perfectly for servers repeating an order back to customers.
Get as much sleep as you can
Depending on your restaurant and shift, you may be up before the sun or working until the wee hours of the morning. Servers aren't known for having the most regular sleep schedules, but the Mayo Clinic explained that a good night's sleep is critical for improving your memory. Sleep helps your brain organize itself. If you aren't getting seven to eight hours a night, it can be difficult for a brain to be ready to remember new things.
Focus on the information
Psych Central advised people to pay attention to the "task at hand." This can be particularly hard as a server who's constantly multitasking with a million things on the mind.
However, having so many things going on can make it too difficult for your brain to process new information. Psych Central explained that people should take a break from everything else and pay attention to what they're doing. This will allow their brains to encode the information and access it later.
Use a mnemonic device
Sometimes an idea is too difficult to remember, so another one can take its place. For example, many people have used mnemonic devices to learn the order of the planets in our solar system. Rather than thinking of the order (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune), people take the first letter of each (M, V, E, M, J, S, U, N) and make a new phrase out of the letters (My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nachos).
This concept can easily translate for servers. You can make a fun or creative phrase to remember the details of a dish. Singing the order is also supposed to help your memory of it.
Inc. magazine pointed to exercise as one of the best ways to boost your memory. Of course, this doesn't mean doing push-ups while taking an order, but exercise can help fire up the brain, give you great ideas and help you stay sharp for your shift later that day.
Organize your thoughts
Sometimes the issue with memory is that your thoughts are getting jumbled. If you're an organized person around work in other ways, carry that over into the way you think. Separate thoughts into categories, orders or tables. Consider trying to make a mental outline every order you take.
By practicing these memory enhancers and exercises, you may be able to improve the amount of knowledge you retain, giving your customers better, more accurate service.
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