So You Want To Be A Waiter

The best book on waiting tables that you have never read – yet


Most good waiters have a certain spiel that works for them. Many of these spiels cover all service points that show up on secret shopper reports (asking for bottled water, offering appetizers, mentioning specials, etc.) The waiter has also found the proper vocal inflections, key selling phrases, cadences, etc.

The great waiters throw all of that out the window during crunch time. They don’t get hung up on their script. They ditch what they can and simplify their spiel down to the bare minimum.  Sure, they’re still going to try to get that app and they’re still going to try to upsell liquor. But they’re not quite as concerned with going into the type of detail that they usually do in their attempt to manipulate the guest into ordering certain items (hey guests – this is manipulation with the finest intent – to guide you to the best experience). It’s more important to get them into the meal as quickly and effortlessly as possible. What’s more important, closing the deal on a $7 salad or getting that one extra turn? Would you rather sell them that dessert or get another table into the pipeline?

I’m not saying that you don’t still try to sell. I’m not saying that you should short-change the guest by just becoming an order taker. What I’m saying is that you should think about streamlining your normally crackerjack spiel when the restaurant is on a wait. The guest doesn’t necessarily need to know that you aren’t going to talk about how the cilantro in the soup du jour give a slight Oriental flavor or that the lamb is premium Colorado lamb, which has a milder flavor than the usual New Zealand lamb that others offer. Hit the high points and get them rolling. You still want to pace the meal so that they don’t feel rushed, but the less info you throw out there, the quicker you can get them to their meal. Just make sure that you keep a measured cadence. Don’t rush your words because it will make them think that you’re trying to rush them. By trimming your spiel, you can keep the same relaxed tone that you normally employ – you’re just going to get the point a lot quicker.

My point is to not get locked into your spiel. Be ready to know what to jettison and what to keep.

Do this and your time in the weeds will be short and sweet.


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