Business Development  /  1.17.14  / 0-min read

What Your Waiter Knows About Business Success (That You May Not)

Over the years I have worked for and with a lot of different folks from every imaginable background. Without exception, the common thread in the people who “get it”—that elusive talent for seeing, spinning, and winning opportunities—is that they have worked successfully for tips at some point in their lives.

Think about it. Really good servers in restaurants have:


  • Worked hundreds, if not thousands, of client relationships, beginning, middle, and end—soup to nuts, if you will;

  • Crafted countless custom sales pitches based solely on chicken scratch from a menu board or the unintelligible speed-talking of a too-busy-to-be-here chef;

  • Learned to read an audience by tone and body language, tailoring each client experience by serving and suggesting, maximizing both customer satisfaction and profit;

  • Multi-tasked in extremely chaotic environments—tens of multi-variable orders at somewhat unpredictable stages of completion amidst a cacophony of distractions;

  • Paid attention to the smallest of details, from filling water to replacing lost forks without being asked, because it’s the little things that add up;

  • Dealt with the disappointment of getting stiffed even when everything in their power went right; and,

  • Managed the most difficult of coworker personalities, from diva chefs to vindictive seating hosts to aloof bartenders to underpaid and underappreciated bussers.

Can you imagine a better trial-by-fire experience for future business success? Next time you are interviewing someone for a job, ask him if he’s ever waited tables, worked as a caddy or valet, or had a summer job at a hotel or resort. Ask him if he earned good tips and how he did it. He might just tell you what you want to hear.

Post written by

Melissa Currier

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