How to be a Good Server: Tips to Shine in the Restaurant Industry

08 Mar 2024

Being top-notch in the restaurant serving scene isn’t just about getting the orders out swiftly or flashing your best smile as you usher diners to their seats. It’s more about paying attention to the little things that make a dining experience special. After all, research suggests that diners crave personalized interactions during their meals.

Smart restaurant owners know that getting the best out of their servers is just as crucial for their business as a killer menu and a cozy atmosphere.

Here’s some good news: exceptional servers are shaped through dedication, passion, and professionalism. In essence, every server has the capability to meet guests’ expectations—they simply need a nudge in the right direction.

Whether you’re aiming to sharpen your staff’s serving skills or inspire them to set an example, a few simple strategies can elevate their performance.

11 Tips to Excel as a Restaurant Server

Ever wondered how to step up your serving game? We’ve put together a list of industry-insider tips to help you become a standout server. Starting with the basics is key to mastering the art of serving.

Here’s what you need to focus on to enhance your serving skills.

1. Master the Menu

Your servers are the main point of contact for diners, making it essential for them to know the menu like the back of their hand. This knowledge allows them to answer any questions diners might have, ensuring a smooth dining experience. If unsure, it’s always better to say you’ll find out rather than leave diners in the dark with a vague “I don’t know.”

2. Embrace All Tasks

Great servers are always ready to tackle any task, no matter how menial it may seem. From refilling condiments to setting up tables, their willingness to do the grunt work sets them apart. This attitude not only tests their desire to excel but also shows their readiness to take on less glamorous shifts and tasks.

At this point, students-servers probably aren’t even surprised, as they excel at handling diverse tasks in college and thus have experience in this regard. For them, it’s certainly not new. Most likely, they utilize various custom essay writing services like It allows them to excel in both realms and provide diners with seamless dining experiences.

3. Memorize Daily Specials

Knowing the day’s specials and being able to describe them enticingly is crucial. This helps in guiding diners towards making a satisfying choice without setting unrealistic expectations.

4. Make Every Interaction Count

A simple way to enhance guests’ experience is by offering a complimentary amuse-bouche. This small gesture can make diners feel valued and increase their likelihood of becoming repeat customers. Plus, it paves the way for suggesting high-margin items later on.

5. Anticipate Guests’ Needs

Identifying what guests might need before they even ask can significantly improve their dining experience. Being proactive in offering specific items, like refills or extra utensils, reduces unnecessary back-and-forth and showcases your restaurant’s attention to detail.

6. Prioritize Presentation and Etiquette

A server’s appearance and how they present food and drinks play a significant role in enhancing the dining experience. Proper etiquette, like how wine is served or how tables are set, reflects positively on your restaurant.

7. Utilize Your Reservation System

Being familiar with your reservation system helps in managing the guest experience efficiently, from reducing wait times to personalizing greetings. This knowledge is essential for providing top-notch service.

8. Get Certified

Understanding local regulations and obtaining necessary certifications, such as food handling or alcohol serving, is key. These certifications ensure that servers are prepared to provide safe and responsible service.

9. Double-Check Orders

Minimizing order mistakes is crucial for reducing kitchen waste and enhancing guest satisfaction. Always verify orders for accuracy and completeness.

10. Upsell with Care

Effective upselling should feel like a genuine conversation rather than a sales pitch. Suggesting starters or extras can subtly increase the overall bill while improving the dining experience.

11. Be Allergy Aware

With millions affected by food allergies, servers must be knowledgeable about allergens and proactive in inquiring about dietary restrictions to ensure a safe dining experience.