How to Take Orders as a Waiter – Restaurant Server Training

Staying on top of all your tables as a server can feel like a juggling act. Keeping accurate and organized notes is critical for getting orders right, providing good service, and maximizing your tips. When greeting a new table, having a tried and true system in place can make all the difference.

In “How to Take Orders as a Waiter– Restaurant Server Training” video by Real Server Training, you will learn the importance of having a consistent structure when taking orders as a waiter.

Key Takeaways for Servers

  • Keep your table numbers organized by writing them in the top right corner of your notepad
  • Write guest counts and seat numbers to keep track of different orders
  • Note appetizers at the top with a dividing line before entrées
  • Cross off items already ordered to avoid duplication
  • Stack signed receipts with tips on the left side of your book
  • Maintain table order integrity by keeping notes for each table separate

Staying Organized as a Server Is Critical

As a server in a restaurant, organization, and attention to detail are critical for providing good service to your customers. When you approach a new table, having a system in place to accurately record orders and keep everything straight is essential for getting orders correct and keeping your customers happy.

There are some key things you can do as a server to set yourself up for success. First, always bring a notepad and pen with a server book so you can write down orders. Don’t rely on just your memory – write things down right away to make sure nothing gets lost or duplicated.

Steps to Taking Orders as a Server

  1. Record guest counts and seat numbers
  2. Log drink orders at the top of the page
  3. Leave space for appetizers under a dividing line
  4. Cross off items already ordered in the system
  5. Use page numbers to track multiple tables
  6. Add indicators for modifications like “+1”
  7. Collect signed merchant receipts from tables
  8. Discard pages when tables leave
  9. Regularly reconcile your recorded tables vs slips

Your Notepad Is Your Guide

Every restaurant has its own system, but a standard approach using your notepad is effective. First, write the table number in the top right corner and box it off so it doesn’t get confused with any other info. This grounds each page to a particular table.

Next, note the guest count by tallying or writing the number at that table. Assigning seat numbers for each guest in a clockwise pattern around the table is also helpful for identifying each person’s order.

How to Take Orders as a Waiter-- Restaurant Server Training

When taking drink orders first, write these towards the top under the table and guest numbers. Leave space for appetizers by drawing a dividing line, as these often get ordered next.

When you bring drinks and are ready for entrée orders, cross off the drinks you’ve already entered since you don’t need to track them anymore. Then, write entrées underneath the dividing line. This organized structure for each table keeps everything neat and easy to read to make sure orders get placed correctly.

Track Multiple Tables at Once

At any given time as a server, you are likely responsible for 3-5 tables simultaneously. Having an effective system will allow you to juggle these properly. Using the boxed table number to identify each page, you can quickly shuffle through your notepad to access the info you need when visiting each table.

For example, checking back on table 12 without mixing it up with table 11 nearby. Adding indicators like “+1” if additional drinks are requested rather than rewriting everything also saves time.

Just be sure to cross off items that have already been served so you don’t duplicate orders. Keeping notes tightly tied to table numbers is key for keeping your orders straight when handling multiple tables.

Close Out Tables Properly

When a table is ready to close their check and pay, there are a few things you need to do properly as part of your table service. First, present the check in a check holder or folder. This keeps sensitive information private instead of laying it out openly.

You’ll also want to present a pen in case they want to add a tip. Never assume someone will not tip! Providing good service up until the very end may make that extra difference.

Once they’ve signed their check, bring back their payment slip along with change if needed. Then place the signed merchant copy in your notepad on the left side, stacking table’s slips together. Protect these receipts, as you’ll need them to close out tips later with the restaurant POS.

How to Take Orders as a Waiter-- Restaurant Server Training

They prove tables you served and tips you earned when reconciling your checkout totals at the end of a shift. So keeping them safeguarded in your book is essential. When a table leaves, simply tear out their page from your notepad and discard it, having already secured your merchant copy with tip documentation.

This keeps your notes clean and empty for incoming tables you’ll be taking over. Rinse and repeat this process seamlessly during your entire shift while regularly checking back that you have signed slips and tip info for every table you served. Staying meticulously organized sets you up for success!

The Bottom Line

Your notepad is your best friend as a server. Create an organized structure within it to capture guest counts, seat numbers, properly timed courses, and more. Cross off items already ordered and reinforce table numbers on each page.

Securing signed merchant receipts proves the tables you served. Staying meticulously organized sets you up for serving success and bigger tip totals in the end! Having an effective system down allows you to handle more tables simultaneously while keeping your orders, and ultimately your customers, happy.

Did you find this guide helpful? Do you have any tips for taking orders as a server? Please let us know below! 👇

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