by Kris Mason
Everybody tips. This was the first simple fact that drew me to waiting tables. You go out to eat, I ask you what you want, you tell me, I bring it, and then you tip. Of all the forms of commissioned sales it is the simplest and most forgiving. Waiters have an enviable 100% closing rate. I’ve never approached a table, only to have them tell me that they are, “Just looking.” There are no tire kickers; nobody just takes a brochure and leaves; they all buy something, and good, bad or indifferent, everybody tips.
Every Waiter wants a 20% tips and every customer has their own magic formula for calculating the tip they leave. It ranges from as low as a single dollar per person to 30% or better. Every person leaving a tip believes that A) they are doing what is expected of them, and B) they are being generous.
Sure, bad tips happen to good waiters; but even the term “Bad Tips” is subjective. Universally, 10% or below is considered bad. I think today the term is thrown out rather quickly. It gets used when the tip percentage doesn’t match the server’s expectation. It puts us in a very jaded territory to start listing an 18% tip as a bad one, just because you thought you should have made 20%.
There is no such thing as closing 20% tips 100% of the time. Nobody has ever made it through an entire shift without seeing at least one disappointing 10% tip or worse. The waiters will start to grouse at anything below 17%. Going under 12% will set off a tantrum or tirade (totally behind the scenes) as though the tip was a personal insult designed to ruin their day. It’s not uncommon for a server to catalog all the “bad tips” they have received throughout the day.
A list of bad tips is a horrible energy to carry around a restaurant all night. It perpetuates a self fulfilling prophecy. Just because you walk up to a table and use kind words to greet them doesn’t mean anything. Your body language gives you away. You say, “Hi, I’m here to take care of you tonight.” They hear, or see, “Hi, how are going to disappoint me tonight?’
Any decent waiter can tell you that your mindset determines everything. If you walk into work, take a long look around the room, and say, “Well, this sucks. I’m not going to make any money tonight,” then you are absolutely right. There is no better way to fail before the shift starts than to completely set yourself up to do so. Whether it’s the bad shift or the horrible station or the quality of the customer based on age, race, nationality or some other absurd prejudgment, blaming everything except yourself is the source of the problem. Good waiters make great tips; bad waiters make poor excuses.
"Count your tips at the end of the
When I received my first tip ever, I thought, “Wow, people just throw money at me!” I thought that I should do what it takes to feel like I deserve it. That has been my own personal mantra for over thirty years. I consistently earn, on average, 22% of my sales. As stated before, that is not from a string of back to back to back 22% tips. Its from a majority of on, near or above 20% tips, a few that fall shy of spectacular and a number of checks that are at or above 25 – 30% and higher.
Just like the waiter who thinks that his night will suck, and miraculously it does, my belief system helps me earn more than most of my counterparts. Here are my beliefs:
People are Generous
I Will Earn Every Dollar I Receive
People Just Throw Money at Me
I Earn More Than 20% of my Sales
I Believe in Abundance
They are all fairly self explanatory until you get to the last one. Either you believe in abundance or you believe in lack. If your beliefs are in a lack of abundance, it will show up everywhere in your life. I believe in the abundance of love, creativity, money, kindness, joy, knowledge, generosity, forgiveness and compassion.
The world gives back what you put out. To receive love must give love. Generosity begets generosity; give more, get more. Instead of running to the table in the end to see what tip was left for you, try running to the table at the beginning and see what you can do for someone else. If you invest yourself in the forty-five minutes that you have with each guest, that last second when you collect your score card will be more rewarding. That is hospitality. That’s service.
If you really want to give your psyche a break, count your tips at the end of the day, not at the end of the table.
I do Waiter Boot Camps at your restaurant. Contact me to schedule a meeting. 480-600-6973