Waiters and waitresses are constantly being thrown all around the restaurant. Fetch this, pick up that, take orders, run plates, etc. It’s easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle and can wind up looking like a chicken with its head cut off. The key to being a productive and organized server is learning to Minimize Your Trips and Maximize your steps.
What does it mean to “Minimize Your Trips”?
Well, let’s say your Table #1 needs more water and Table #2 needs the debit machine to pay. There are two ways you could possible go about this.
- Get the water pitcher
- Walk to Table #1 to fill up the glasses
- Go back and put the water pitcher away
- Pick up the debit machine
- Walk to Table #2 and have them pay
- Put back the debit machine and continue on your way
Or you could:
- Pick up the water pitcher and debit machine
- Fill the water on Table #1
- Have Table #2 pay
- Bring the water pitcher and debit machine back where they belong and continue on your way.
The second way is most obviously the better route to take. Going back and forth for things can end up wasting your time (and your customer’s time) which leads to a slower service, less sittings, therefore fewer tips in your pocket.
Take a good look at your section and your tables from afar, see what needs to be done, and plan accordingly. You will always find yourself at one point or another going back and forth for things, but sometimes that’s out of your control (ex: a customer asks for another beer at the last second).
What does it mean to “Maximize Your Steps”?
Make every step you take count! Walking by a table that is finished eating? Clear as much as you can. Bringing water to a table? Walk by all your tables to refill water glasses before you put the pitcher away. Do everything you can possible do while walking through your section before walking off to the bar or the back of the house.
this also applies to running drinks and plates. Don’t just take one table’s beverage from the bar. Take the initiative and bring several drink orders at once. It clears the bar faster, the customers get their drinks quicker, and you don’t have to keep going back and forth for things. Maximizing your steps helps minimize your trips. Is there only one drink order at the bar? You should be checking if there are any plates to run from the kitchen. Keeping that “hands full” attitude will grab your managers attention, letting them know you can handle many different things at once. Remember, maximizing your steps helps minimize your trips.
Different restaurants, different rules…
Of course, these things vary from each restaurant you may work at. In general, you do want to organize the priorities in your section without feeling like you keep going back and forth..back and forth. Sometimes you just need to take a second and take in all the things you need to do, put them in order, and find the most effective way to get each task done.