These are a few more quick tricks that you may or may not be using.  Several of these are common, but some may be new to you.  If you missed the first batch, you can find it by clicking here.

Steaks by Color: We have all had it happen.  A guest orders a steak medium rare, but sends it back because they didn’t want any pink in it.  It seems no two people view steak temperatures the same way.  Your job as a server is to translate the picture in the guest’s mind to the picture that is in the grill cook’s mind when he hears the temperature.  You can improve your translation in two ways.  If the guest orders a steak by temperature, repeat back to them a description of what that means.  For example, if a guest orders a steak medium rare, respond to the guest by saying “that will be warm throughout, but still very red on the inside.  Is that correct?”  The other method is to ask the customer to describe the color they would like on the inside.  Translate their definition on your own.  Both of these methods are more likely get the steak out right the first time.

List Beers in Order: If you work at a restaurant with a large number of beers on tap to recite, this will save you a lot of time.  Instead of just listing the beers, ask the guest if they would like a lighter or heavier beer?  Then start listing the beers from lightest to heaviest or vice versa depending on which the guest prefers.  This makes for a shorter listing.  Once the guest realizes that you have gotten to heavy or light for their tastes, they will stop you and order from the ones you have previously recited.

Pre-Heat Coffee Cups: It is a scientifically proven fact that people over the age of 70 prefer their coffee to be served at slightly below boiling.  Ok, maybe not, but you will be sent back if the coffee is not hot enough.   Before pouring the coffee in the cup, pour hot water in it.  That nozzle on the coffee maker is useful for more than making rookies empty it at the end of the night.  Give it time to warm the cup as you get anything else you need.  Dump the water and pour the coffee.  This will make for a much warmer cup of coffee.

Buy a Box of Nicotine Gum: With more restaurants restricting or banning smoking for employees, this is a lifesaver to smokers.  A box may seem like a steep investment, but having that piece when you are stressed and in the weeds is worth it.  The amount of time saved by chewing a piece of gum rather than taking a smoke break will earn you more in tips.  You also will not offend former smokers at your tables.

The Check Presenter Trick: This one has been around for years, but I still run into people who don’t know it.  If you are using a book style check presenter, you will notice there is usually only writing on the cover.  When you place the check on the table, place it cover down.  When the guest picks up the check, they will almost always leave it cover up.  It is a shared psychological trait that we place books cover side up when we put them down.  When you see the writing, go retrieve the check.

Five more quick tips for you.  Have some that I missed?  Share with the rest of the class or email them to me at and I will include them (with full credit given) in the next installment.

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