Tags: Hospitality, hospitality, blog

The Christmas season is synonymous with the widespread urge to eat, drink and be merry – which ultimately results in a massive influx of customers pouring into restaurants over the festive period. While this is certainly a challenge for servers, who now have to manage a significantly larger number of orders and customers - and often at a quicker pace – it is certainly possible for you to turn it into an opportunity.

In this blog, we show you our top tips to make the most tips over the final stages of the Christmas rush!

1. Remember the customers' faces and names

While it may be tempting to focus on quick gains during the Christmas rush, it’s important to focus on the long-term benefits of encouraging customers to return to the restaurant in which you work. You want customers to keep coming back and become those highly sought-after regulars. When your customers feel recognised, they will not only feel more comfortable enjoying a meal at the restaurant, but also ask for your services directly. Recognising their faces is the easiest first step, and as time goes by, you can get to know regulars by name and establish a relationship with them.

2. Serve at the customer's pace

The silly season is a manic one to be sure, but it’s important to remember that no one likes being rushed through their meal. Your customers came out to enjoy themselves and get a break from the bustle of year-end work deadlines and Christmas shopping, so you should let them set the pace and enjoy their meal. Although you obviously need to turn tables to make money and earn tips, you also want customers to enjoy themselves and return to your restaurant, so aim to strike a balance – watching their movements from afar and anticipating their needs, without being overly attentive or fussy.

3. Make valuable recommendations

People are going out to eat as much for the experience as they are for the food. For this reason, you should get to know the restaurant inside and out so that you thoroughly guide guests through the restaurant menu, answer any questions they may have, and assist them in making their decisions. Shoot to make your guests’ night out more than just a meal, but a memorable experience they’ll want to repeat.

4. Share insights on regulars

Regulars have a routine at your restaurant, and enjoying that routine is part of why they keep coming back. Encourage an atmosphere where your colleagues feel like a team and put the customer ahead of any competitive spirit. Encourage them to share with each other any insights they may have about customers.

5. When in doubt, be entertaining

How do you boost your average tip from 16% of the bill to 23%? According to one French study, the answer is as simple as giving customers a card with a joke written on it. Given the hustle and bustle of the festive season, you’ll have to decide for yourself when it’s appropriate to entertain customers, but the studies show it works for bartenders and restaurant servers. You can also use blunders to your advantage by having a good laugh at yourself, which can in turn amuse your customers provided that you take steps to remedy any resulting issues shortly thereafter.

Tis the season to provide top notch customer service, and a little cheer, attentiveness and initiative will prove instrumental in filling up your pockets for the new year.

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