You’ve just been hired for your first restaurant role: breakfast server. You know that many tired, sleepy customers will rely on your smile and cheery attitude to brighten their days. How can you excel in your new role?
Here are some tips that will make you a better breakfast server:
- Learn the menu inside and out
- Be ready to make recommendations
- Get to know your POS system
- Keep a positive attitude
- Have a stress reduction system
- Carry your essentials
- Expedite your processes
Becoming a good breakfast server requires patience, dedication, and an unwavering willingness to err on the side of positivity whenever possible. Keep reading for more tips and advice so you can adjust to your job nicely!
1. Learn the Menu Inside and Out
Since yours is a breakfast restaurant or you’re only on shift for the breakfast portion of the day, your menu is not going to be nearly as extensive as an establishment that serves both lunch and dinner.
That means there’s no excuse not to memorize its contents!
We’re not saying you have to learn every last item on the menu on your first day, as that would be a lot to ask of anyone.
However, within your first week, you should have a solid understanding of what’s on the menu without having to look at it. Within two or three weeks, the contents of the menu should be burned into your brain.
So why memorize the menu in the first place, you might be wondering?
Well, as the breakfast server, you’re the expert. If you have to look over your customer’s shoulder at the menu contents right along with them, that comes across as unprofessional.
You won’t make the right kind of impression you want to, and your behavior could cut into your tip as well.
Another reason to memorize the menu ties into our next suggestion for what it takes to be a good breakfast server…
2. Be Ready to Make Recommendations
Remember, as the breakfast server, you’re the expert! When a new customer comes through the door and asks you what’s good, memorizing the menu will make it incredibly easy to answer that question.
Of course, you don’t just want to make random recommendations to your customers. Before you suggest a single menu item, you should have taken the time to try them all at various points.
You’ll have favorites, and you’re free to mention them, but keep in mind that what you like is not necessarily to everyone’s tastes.
It’s not a bad idea to ask a few questions of your customers, such as whether they’re in the mood for a sweet or savory breakfast, if they have any allergies or intolerances, or if they’re under any kind of dietary restriction (for example, they’re not allowed to eat meat for a religious observance).
Then you can make a recommendation that’s going to feel incredibly tailored to your customer. They’ll remember your thoughtful suggestion, and if they enjoy the meal, they’ll probably thank you and hopefully tip you quite generously!
3. Get to Know How Your POS System Works
All restaurants have a point-of-sale system, from small mom-and-pop establishments to the biggest chains and franchises on the planet.
If working as a breakfast server is your first restaurant job, then you might have never seen a POS system in your entire life let alone used one.
Here are some pointers that should make it a little easier to adjust. A POS system is used for printing receipts after a customer checks out, processing their credit cards, and managing sales transactions.
Each time a customer pays, you will have to use a POS system, even if they happen to pay in cash.
A POS system includes both hardware and software. There are so many POS options on the market that we can’t say for certain which your restaurant will use. Whatever it is though, make sure you know how it works.
You’re going to do more than take orders and deliver meals as a breakfast server, after all. You’ll have to close out transactions so customers can leave.
When you’re first being onboarded, you can ask if POS system education is included as part of your training. It should be, so when you come to that learning module, make sure you pay as much attention as you can.
It’s okay to admit that this is your first time using POS software just as it’s fine to ask as many questions as are required for you to feel comfortable with using the system.
If you feel like you need a bit of additional training, then once you’re onboarded, don’t be afraid to bring that up. Being the best employee you can be means admitting weaknesses and striving to strengthen them.
Even if you’re feeling overwhelmed with how your restaurant’s POS system works right now, rest assured that this will not be forever. The more regularly you use the system, the more familiar it will become to you.
Eventually, you’ll forget that there was ever a time that you didn’t know how it worked!
4. Keep a Positive Attitude, But Don’t Be Fake
Excelling in the restaurant industry, especially when you have such a visual role as a server, is all about maintaining your positivity.
As we touched on in the intro, when customers walk into your restaurant, yours is one of the first faces they see all day. The people who are visiting are tired, hungry, and possibly jetlagged or even hungover.
The cheeriness that you inject into their day could set the stage for the whole rest of their day moving forward, so that’s something you have to keep in mind. If you’re cranky or otherwise sour, these customers might not want to come back.
It’s easy enough to maintain a positive demeanor as your restaurant doors first open, but as the morning wears on and you’re dealing with 10 tables at once, it can be tough to stay positive.
That’s why our next tip will come in handy so much, so make sure you don’t miss it.
We do have one more nugget of advice that should help: no matter how many customers you’ve served today, each customer is having a unique experience with you.
Each deserves the same level of consideration that you offered the first groups who came into the restaurant after you opened for the morning.
That said, don’t be fake. Customers aren’t stupid, and when you’re trying to put on an act, many of them can see right through it.
We’re not saying you should drag through your shift because it’s early in the day and you’re tired. That’s just as bad.
You need to find a good balance between genuinely keeping up your enthusiasm and pretending you’re happy just for the sake of doing it.
This is another area of serving where the longer you’re at it, the better you’ll get at it.
5. Have a Good Stress Reduction System in Place
Okay, so what do you do when you have two dozen tables you’re serving at once because you’re short-staffed, the first group’s baby will not stop crying, the chefs have delays in the back, and you’re so exhausted you can barely keep your eyes open?
These things are going to happen. The morning rush can be intense, just as bad sometimes as the dinner rush if not more so.
You might have very little food and even less caffeine in you, which can make everything feel about 10 times worse.
It’s easy to want to curl up into the fetal position and give up, but if you want to have a future in the restaurant industry, you’re going to have to get used to these kinds of rushes.
So what are you to do in these situations as a breakfast server?
As this tip says, you need a method for reducing your stress both within and outside of the workplace.
When you’re given breaks, take them. Don’t spend your breaks kicking yourself for everything you did wrong, as that’s not going to help you relax. If anything, you’ll come out of your break even more stressed out than you were before you went in!
Use your break time productively. Sit in the breakroom for a couple of minutes and just veg. Decompress by watching a funny video on YouTube if you need a smile or text a friend or loved one.
Make sure you’re staying hydrated and using the restroom, especially during your breaks. Feed yourself as well. You might not get the chance otherwise without being interrupted!
Find methods for busting stress at home as well. When your shift ends, take some time to engage in your favorite hobbies and pastimes, as that will surely rejuvenate you in your day-to-day life.
Take good care of yourself when not working. Eat nutritious and balanced meals, get enough sleep, exercise when you can, and prioritize your wellness.
You’ll experience less stress not only when you’re at work but overall! You’ll feel readier to keep your cool and do an excellent job at work each day that you check in.
6. Carry Your Essentials on You
Do you want to save time walking back and forth to the kitchen unnecessarily? The answer should be an unequivocal yes.
You only have so much energy to go around, after all, and even if you only work the morning shift, you still have to clean up the restaurant for the lunch shift before you can go home for the day.
All you have to do is begin carrying more of your essentials in your waitstaff apron.
All those little pockets throughout are handy for keeping a pen and some spares, as you never know when you’ll run out of ink when a customer is trying to sign a receipt.
You can also stash extra napkins, a few spare bundles of silverware, and plenty of drinking straws.
By producing these items before a customer even has to think to ask for them, you’re making a fantastic impression. Your quality of service will not be forgotten.
Make sure that you spend a few minutes in the kitchen or the back restocking your supply of essentials so you don’t run out when serving a customer.
After doing this for only a couple of days, you’ll be amazed at how much less time you’re spending running back and forth!
7. Expedite Your Delivery and Collection Processes
This last tip is another handy one to prevent you from needlessly burning through your energy during the frantic morning breakfast rush.
A good breakfast server knows the golden rule of serving: your hands should never be empty.
When you’re arriving at the tables, you should have drinks to serve, maybe an appetizer or side, and the main entrees as well.
If not food, then you should have menus to hand out or checks to collect.
When a table is wrapping up their meal, your hands should be full of empty glasses and plates that you can send back to the kitchen to be washed.
There’s a way to expedite the process even more, and that’s tackling like tables.
For instance, if you just seated two tables, then you should deliver their menus at the same time, take their orders at the same time, and hopefully deliver their food at about the same time.
When the time comes to collect the check and clean up, you can kill two birds with one stone rather than do food delivery for Table 1, taking the check for Table 2, and dropping off change for Table 3.
Being a good breakfast server is something that everyone in your position should aspire to be.
Learn the menu, make recommendations based on what you’ve sampled, and carry basic supplies like napkins, pens, and straws in your apron.
Be courteous, be professional, and remember to smile. When you need a break, which is going to happen to everyone, take it. Best of luck!