How to Help Your Servers Make Money

You may not realize it, but you do have a stake in your servers making money. Paid servers are a sign of a successful restaurant. When servers make good money, there are smiles on faces when people come to work, thereís much less drama or hard feelings, and turnover plummets while cooperation and teamwork go through the roof.

Your servers are the face of your restaurant. Making sure your servers get paid is a big step in building the culture your restaurant needs in order to succeed. You canít make money for your servers, but you can vastly improve their opportunities to fatten their wallets and keep your guests happy.

Reward their Effort

You have a variety of rewards at your disposal as a manager or operator. Donít hesitate to use them to help servers who take ownership of their workspace by being good team players and helping your business grow. If your goals are to meet or exceed your guestsí expectations, use these tools to help you get there.

∑ Schedule
∑ Table Rotation
∑ Parties/Banquets
∑ Sections

Helping your servers by tipping these variables in their favor is a great reward. It helps build the right culture because other servers see that rewards exist for extra effort, high sales numbers or teamwork. Your staff will know that youíre paying attention if you show discrimination in handing out good tables, sections and parties.

Table Rotation

Most casual and fine-dining restaurants use a rotation system to distribute tables to servers. This emphasizes fairness while keeping servers away from the hostess stand or lobby to influence the hostess staff. It makes sure that every server on a shift has an opportunity to get tables and make money.

There are often other ways to rotate your server staff, such as rotating the good sections, tables, or large parties among your staff. Some management staffs catalog these distributions so that everyone knows that they are being fair. Not every manager has time to do this, but keeping track of server rotations is a good way to make sure individual servers arenít being overlooked.

Help Them Become Great Sellers

As a manager or operator, you have countless ways to help your servers become great salespeople. Ultimately, you owe it to yourself and your business to fill their holsters with sales bullets. If you take these steps, you can track who is taking advantage of your sales wisdom by charting check averages and individual item counts.

∑ Staff training on menu items/entrees
∑ Wine tastings/training sessions
∑ Sales contests with rewards for winners
∑ Server meetings to share success stories
∑ Add a staff sommelier to help sell wine

Staff training on sales techniques should be mandatory in all fine-dining restaurants. The difference between high- and low-priced entrees and wine options is too great to employ servers who arenít equipped to sell your menus. Training your staff to become great sellers should be a multi-faceted effort. It should start from the top, and be encouraged by all managers and fellow servers. It should be rewarded implicitly and explicitly, and it should be a valued quality in your organizational subcultures.

Your servers want to be good salespeople because they want to make money. They just may not realize it, or know how to focus on sales. Your guidance to become a top seller is the best tool you have to make sure they make money and are happy employees.

Be Present

There are many ways to help your staff become exceptional salespeople, but the best one is your presence in the front of the house. When servers see that management cares about their performance and is paying attention, they are far more inclined to spend the same effort on salesmanship with every table, regardless of how many times they get shot down.