Reddit | co1063

10+ Sneaky Server Tricks That Customers Almost Never Notice

When we're out to eat, we're there to relax and take in some delicious food and lovely atmosphere. If we're with others, then we're hopefully enjoying their company as well, but we're mainly there because we're hungry.

Most restaurants don't give you much of a look at what's happening in the kitchen, so your main point of contact is your server. And the longer they've been doing their jobs, the more they've learned while ensuring you have the smoothest experience possible.

However, it's not always obvious exactly how they do this, nor is it clear when a small habit of theirs might have an alternate reason behind it.

But nothing can stay a secret forever and some servers have let the internet know what little tricks they often use to keep you coming back.

The fewer guests you come with, the faster your service will likely be.

Reddit | magicmann2614

As one server posted on Reddit, "The larger tables will keep themselves occupied with chatting/catching up, whereas a 2 top will more than likely get bored waiting. Also it's quicker to get drinks for a table of two than it is for a bigger group."

Be aware of the "encouraging nod" when the server discusses your order.

Reddit | TooleyLives

One server on Quora noted that whenever they suggest a fancier version of what you ordered or a featured dessert, a slight nod and a smile can go a long way towards convincing a customer.

If there are cakes on display, there's a reason why there's usually a slice missing.

Reddit | the_thomas1

As one service trainer said on Quora, it's not often because another customer already ordered a slice, but that's what they want you to think.

Slicing a piece out of an unused cake suggests that other customers want it too, which increases sales.

One server on Reddit plans ahead when it seems a table has already ordered everything.

Reddit | Bcm980

Specifically, they'll print the bill out ahead of time so it's already ready to go by the time a customer requests it.

Those fancy colorful drinks you see on trays? Those are usually just for show.

Unsplash | Cody Chan

A woman on Quora shared that customers have a real "see one, want one" mentality when it comes to food.

"Do this on a busy Saturday night with lots of groups, especially women out with a group of friends."

One way to ensure a customer's confidence in your service is to act like a parrot.

Reddit | Silverhead

As the trainer on Quora put it, if a customer said they want a ribeye steak rare with fries instead of rice, they might hear a server say those exact words back to them.

As someone who sometimes makes special orders, I can attest to how comforting it is to hear this.

If a server wants to upsell, they tend not to mention the price of suggested extra items.

Reddit | LBrancourt

As one former server said on Quora, asking if a customer wants extra cheese or sour cream and leaving the question at that makes them more likely to consider it an add-on and not wonder whether it costs extra.

Beware of servers who are "seeding the conversation"

Unsplash | Bimo Luki

An example a former server made of this was: “We make our cheesecake, in house, they are fresh and delicious, we can talk about what flavors we have after you have finished your entre.”

"That gives the customers time to think about dessert during the whole meal. At the end of their meal they are not 'surprised' when the dessert menu is an item of conversation."

When things get busy, one server lets a table get one particular argument out of the way early.

Reddit | Packdaddy

Although they normally ask how the check will be split towards the end of the meal, they pop this question at the beginning of service if it's a hectic night. This especially works well for large tables.

Servers sometimes open your menu to the page with the most expensive items.

Unsplash | Catherine Heath

A former hotel server explained that automatically opening the menu up the page that has the most expensive items makes it so those are the items that the customer sees first.

If a utensil falls, you'll see it again before you know it...if you notice it at all.

Reddit | MacCop

One server on Quora said that a common trick when a server drops a piece of freshly-washed silverware is to put it in their pocket in front of a customer and then subtly retrieve it and lay it out in front of a different one.

Servers intentionally treat your children well.

Unsplash | kazuend

This is apparently because parents are more inclined to tip if they've noticed that their kids are enjoying themselves. If the kids are happy, everyone's happy.

If a server suggests a specific item on the menu, there's probably a reason for that.

Reddit | co1063

As the trainer said, it doesn't have so much to so with costs as freshness.

Servers rarely push one item in particular, but it usually happens when the restaurant either has too much of something or is trying to get rid of the last few items before its freshness window closes.

One trick is subtly effective, but requires a bit of research before using.

Reddit | TallGuy3050

The trainer said on Quora that servers will sometimes lightly touch the arm of the person they think is the most likely to pay.

He warns against doing this in cultures with rules against physical contact, however.

Waiters make themselves unique so you remember them.

Unsplash | Petr Sevcovic

"As a server, anything I can do to make the customer interact with me as a person increases my tip," one person shared, "Make myself notable just once, early on, then fade into the background and make their meal fall into place. "

One server said not to underestimate how much customers love bread.

Reddit | C170370

As they said on Reddit, even those who ordered bruschetta as an appetizer still won't say no to an extra basket of bread.

Restaurant workers choose their jewelry for specific reasons.

Unsplash | lucielle Jewel

According to one commenter, wearing earrings that emulate certain food encourages diners to purchase that food.

"I would wear these fake ruby like gemstone earrings, I would always sell more red wine. Swirly earrings that looked like pasta, more pasta dishes."

If you order coffee towards the end of the night, you're always getting decaf.

Unsplash | SnapbyThree MY

"It was standard practice to only brew decaf coffee the last hour we were open," a former waiter explains, "That's because you could serve decaf to sunshine who ordered regular coffee, but not the other way around. And to save time cleaning coffee pots at the end of the night, we usually just had 1 or 2 left, all decaf."

If it feels like you're being steered towards certain sections of the menu, that's likely because of a situation unfolding in the kitchen.

Reddit | otillathehun

As one server put it on Reddit, "We have grilled sandwiches, so when I see that the grill is full, I steer customers towards something else."

You know how we can start feeling jealous when a server walks by with a fancy dessert or a cocktail? They know that too.

Reddit | wulff87

Although one server on Quora refused to do this one, it's not unheard of for servers to grab one of these without any intention of actually serving it to anyone.

Soon enough, orders will start coming in for that appealing item they paraded.

Filed Under: