Tips for being a better breakfast server

Tips for being a better breakfast server Share this article

As a breakfast server, you're bound to wait on a variety of people. You'll see regulars who come in everyday, people who are struggling to be awake that early, and others who are rushing to work. It can be difficult to serve such a diverse group of customers, as their needs and wants can vary drastically.

If you're a breakfast server, or are thinking of becoming one, here are a few tips that may help you be a great waiter or waitress from early morning to mid-afternoon.

Be friendly without being intrusive 
What people are looking for when they sit down at a restaurant can vary greatly. Of course, it's a good idea to be friendly, cordial and pleasant when seating someone for breakfast, but when it's a slow part of the morning it's hard to know how much to talk with them. Some people like the idea of talking with a server over their eggs while the server prepares for the breakfast rush. Other times, people prefer to simply read their newspaper in peace. 

As a server, you may want to start a conversation – break the ice. If the customer is looking to chat, they'll continue the conversation. If they're just being polite, they can still end the conversation gracefully and get back to what they're doing. 

Conversation with a server is more ingrained into the culture surrounding breakfast dining than any other meal. Your customers – regular or new – will appreciate the effort. 

Know the menu and have suggestions 
Whether you're working at small diner or a well-known breakfast establishment, you'll know much more about your menu than the customers. Feel free to give them suggestions as well as the morning's specials. If you love your cook's pancakes or bacon, share that with your customers. When they agree with you, they'll be happy you steered them the right way. Although many people walk into breakfast restaurants with their orders in mind, others may need to by guided in the right direction. 

Be prepared for unusual tips
While tipping rules are standard for lunch, dinner and bars, there are different schools of thought when it comes to breakfast. Many people stick to percentage-based tipping. They figure that although the bill and tip are usually lower because breakfast is traditionally less expensive than other meals, it has quicker table turnover, which makes up for the expense. Others tip much higher than 20 percent because the bill is usually small and servers' jobs are difficult. Then again, some people just tip spare change. 

Be prepared for any of these situations. The only thing you can do is try some of the tricks that are known to increase the amount servers are tipped. These include smiling, making eye contact, introducing yourself, repeating a customer's order and being a great server!

Be quick and attentive 
Breakfast is unique from other meals in a variety of ways. One of the most important is that it's perceived as the fastest. People order and the food is cooked quickly. This means that you have to be checking on your customers more quickly, too. Refilling coffee, getting more drinks and checking on the status of meals all must take place in a shorter window than for other servers. 

Avoid slips and falls 
When you're spending hours on your feet carrying hot coffee, eggs and waffles from the kitchen to the dining area, you need to be careful of common restaurant hazards. Slippery floors and coffee spills can create dangerous environments that may result in serious injury. Consider stylish nonslip shoes. When you have work shoes that function well and look great, you'll be in a great mood every morning. 


Brought to you by Shoes For Crews, the trusted leader in safety footwear to food service employees for more than 30 years.

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