Most of the money that a server makes comes from tips, though many people may not realize that servers do not make the average minimum wage. In fact, in some states, restaurants only pay their wait staff around $2-3 per hour, and then the servers make the rest of their earnings in tips.

The better tips you get, the more money you make, but nothing guarantees that you’ll get 10 or 20 percent of the check. After all, people don’t have to leave a tip, even if they should. By following some of these suggestions, you can increase your tips and bring home more cash.

1. Don’t Leave Room for Questions

When serving a table, anticipate your customers’ needs, and don’t leave room for them to ask questions. If they order a plate of fries, make sure to bring out ketchup so that they don’t have to ask. Anticipate a guest’s needs. By doing this, you eliminate any frustration a guest may feel when having to wait for something they need.

If they order ribs or another messy meal, bring extra napkins. Refill their drinks before they’re empty so that they never have to ask for more. The more you can anticipate their needs, the more they’ll feel important and well-served, giving you a higher chance of a great tip.

2. Be Ready With the Check

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When you see that your customers are almost done eating, print the check before they ask. People don’t want to have to wait around for you to go get the check and come back. They’re done eating; they want to pay and leave. Make sure to ask if they want anything to-go, a dessert, or an extra coffee before they’re finished so that you get everything on the check.

3. Be Quick With the Food

While keeping your restaurant equipment up-to-date helps with how fast your kitchen staff gets the food prepared, chances are, you have no control over any of that as a server. Whether you work in a small café or a large, luxurious restaurant, speed is an important aspect of getting better tips. Try to get your food orders in as quickly as possible. Always treat the cooks with respect and you may find them helping you out from time to time. If you find yourself to be extremely busy, the hosts have just overloaded you and three of your other tables need checks and food, ask a fellow co-worker to keep an eye out for your table’s food. Someday you may be able to return the favor to them.

4. Sell More Food

If your service is good, many people will tip their server a certain percentage of the bill, often between 10 and 20 percent. The higher the bill, the more money you’ll make on tips. Suggest certain desserts, appetizers, and drinks by name, and make them sound tasty so that people will order more. Increasing your check amount by just a few dollars can drastically increase the amount of money you earn per year.

5. Learn the Menu

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If you have new customers, they might not completely understand how the menu works. Make sure you know what sides come with each main entrée so that you don’t waste time leaving and asking another employee questions about the menu.

In addition to learning how the menu works, make sure to learn how the menu tastes. New customers might want to know how good a dish is, or they might ask for suggestions. Make sure you’re able to answer these questions by ordering dishes of your own on your break or after work.

By following these suggestions, you can make sure that your customers receive high-quality service and in return you can hope to receive a higher tip.

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Featured photo credit: 21TonGiantvia Flickr

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