If there’s one universal truth amongst waitstaff no matter when or where you work: there are certain types of customers that you’ll always encounter when serving.
Some of these customers are amazing, the kind of customers that you’ll want to get all the time. Some of these customers are horrific and hope to never see again. And still other customers who are absolutely hilarious, the kind that you simply have to tell anyone and everyone about, and the kind that you’ll share stories about on various waitstaff websites.
Here’s a breakdown of the customers you’ll meet while serving: the best, and the worst!
The Customer Who’s In a Rush
These kinds of customers can go one of two ways: they can request their food, leave in a hurry, and give you a big tip for being so efficient or they can request their food, leave in a hurry, and give you a small tip because you didn’t bring out their food fast enough.
Do these customers not realize that you don’t control the kitchen? Probably not…
When it comes to customers like this, one of the easiest ways to tip the scales in your favor is to gently remind them that you are there to serve them and that you’ll do your best to make sure their food gets out in time, but you don’t have absolute control over the kitchen.
Pro-tip: If the customer is amenable to suggestions, perhaps you can suggest a dish that doesn’t take as long to prepare.
The Laidback Customer
One of the easiest types of customers you’ll serve, the laidback customer is a simple orderer, easy to please, and an eat-pay-leave kind of person.
They understand the purpose of servers: to take your order, get your drinks and food, and make sure the experience is pleasant.
This is why they’ll need no special accommodations and likely won’t be rude or difficult. It’s likely that they have worked in the food industry and relate to the job.
These kinds of customers usually pop up when as a large party. They’re the kind of customers that want to split the check into many different parts…down to the penny. (How dare you charge them for an extra basket of bread?)
One of the easiest ways to appease these kinds of customers early on is to ask if the check is separate before you take the order.
Pro-tip: Another option is to make sure that you make careful notes about what each customer ordered, so that when they ask to split the check, you can do so with ease.
The Customers with Bratty Children
It’s inevitable that you will get customers with unmannered (or spoiled) children who have no idea how to behave in even the simplest of civilized ways.
Whether it’s the parents of a child who simply must run everywhere throughout the restaurant or who simply will not stop screaming, you’re going to have a huge challenge on your hands.
That said, the easiest way to deal with this kind of customer (and to get the huge tip you certainly deserve) is to appease the child.
Try to engage the child, talk to him/her in such a way that s/he feels included in the restaurant process, and encourage good behavior with a special treat.
This is perhaps the best kind of customer you’ll ever serve. They’re the customer that not only knows the menu but also knows what to expect when frequenting your restaurant. From service to timing, there will be no surprises.
The regulars will also treat you with respect, and tip you well.
Pro-tip: If you’re lucky enough to get this kind of customer, hold on to him/her for dear life!
There you have it; the customers you’re most likely to encounter while serving and how to approach each!
Learn more about customer service here →
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