Real Server Training

Real Server Training

Real Server Training is geared more towards servers in higher-volume, semi-casual restaurants. This is the majority of restaurants and therefore applies to the majority of servers.

Much of this is more pragmatic in nature – how to hold three glasses, carry plates, serve drinks, etc – while some of this is more abstract which is to say aimed at cultivating a better way of thinking and angle of approach to this job.


Real Server Training
  • This is Real Server Training

    Real Server Training was created to offer practical instruction in an industry where it is often lacking. Much of it is more pragmatic - how to hold three glasses, carry plates, etc - while some of it is more abstract which is to say aimed at cultivating a better way of thinking and angle of appr...

  • Appearance Matters: What to Consider

    Appearance matters when you're dealing with the public.

    It may not even be a conscious decision on their part, but people do treat you differently based on their perception of you. So you should take interest in how you present yourself.


    Their perception in turn shapes th...

  • How to Iron Work Clothes and Look Correct

    Easy way to look 10x better.

    You looking all wrinkly may not grab so much attention, but it will leave a disheveled impression upon your customers. It may not even be at a conscious level, but they will FEEL a certain way about you –maybe they'll feel you're sloppy, not doing great, less trustwo...

  • Systems and Structure Matter: How to Stay Organized

    This is how you prevent getting weeded: by eliminating guesswork with a clear system.

    This is just a general template for where I put things. You can determine what works best for you, but there needs to be a structure that you consistently follow.

    Guesswork creates unnecessary stress.

  • How to Organize Orders in Your Server Book

    It really doesn't matter HOW you structure your book, but there has to be a consistent structure – a system of sorts.

    Writing randomly all over different sheets a paper is a great way to create anxiety for yourself.

  • How to Carry Three Glasses in One Hand

    Surprisingly useful skills outside of just restaurant work.

    Take the time to learn to carry 3 glasses. Better yet, 5. Trays are fine if you're comfortable with them (and possibly required at your restaurant), but using your hands to carry 3-4-5 glasses out is simply faster.

    This is a surprising...

  • How to Carry Multiple Wine Glasses

    Some basics on carrying wine glasses -- not exactly perfect standards but a reasonable start.

    DISCLAIMER: Real Server Training is not for fine-dining and not focused on teaching the highest standards of wine table service. It's a basic guide for most servers working in most restaurants. The aim ...

  • How to Carry Three Plates

    This is a surprisingly useful skill in real life and makes your life a lot easier in restaurants.

    Take the time to learn to carry plates right. It'll save you time in the long run, and you won't ever need to be anxious about dropping plates at work.

    You'll notice I grab my third plate first, fo...

  • How to Greet Your Table and Build Rapport with Guests

    Building rapport with your guests.

    The greet is really more important than a lot of people recognize. This sets the tone for the rest of the evening with your guests. And while you may never see these people again, you will be interacting quite a bit over the next couple hours. So take the time ...

  • How to Efficiently Get Drink Orders

    Efficiently getting drink orders.

    Getting drink orders goes along with the greet which is worth reviewing: You are starting a relationship of sorts when you approach your guests. You are going to be working together for the next hour and a half. They don't need to LOVE you nor do you need to be ...

  • How and Why to Sell Appetizers

    My best friend in a busy shift.

    Appetizers are my best friend in a busy shift. It's a simple order that takes virtually no time, and once I've taken that order, I can focus on whatever else while my table still feels taken care of.

    This lets me get my table set up without spending all the time ...

  • Things to Consider When Setting Tables up for Appetizers

    Try to start thinking about your guests having a seamless dining experience.

    What you need to prepare for appetizers coming out will vary restaurant to restaurant, but try to start thinking about your guests having a seamless dining experience. That is it flows from one stage to the next without...

  • How to Give Recommendations and Not Overwhelm Guests

    Helping guests make decisions.

    So I often offer recommendations when I deliver drinks. At that point it's often too soon to take entree orders and serves as a good transition if they don't want an appetizer.

    I don't ask about appetizers when I take drink orders, but if they order one then, that...

  • How to Efficiently Collect Entree Orders

    This is how to efficiently collect decisions and prepare your table for seamless dining.

    I prioritize unobtrusive service -- interrupting my guests as little as possible.

    They’re here to enjoy each other’s company and be taken care of... not to hang out with me. Occasionally, guests do seem to ...

  • How and Why to Prepare Tables for Entrees

    It's more in consideration of my coworkers.

    I typically don't rush to clear appetizer plates off of a table the second they finish. BUT I am sure to get them before the entrees come out. You should know about when your food is going to come out if you've been working somewhere long enough. Eithe...

  • How to Sell More Drinks and Increase Your Tab

    This is how you get your tab higher.

    I'm always scanning my tables and keeping drinks filled. 2nd and 3rd rounds are typically how you're going to get your tab higher. BUT I never push drinks and try to up-sell a table.

    The way I get a lot of second and third and fourth rounds is by being AVAIL...

  • How to Serve Entrees and What to Consider

    This is the general approach and some things to keep in mind when serving entrees.

    I keep track of which plate is going to which seat by relying on numbers: table numbers and seat numbers. This plate is going to seat 3 at table 12 for example. It's never going to the guy in the blue shirt in the...

  • Why and How to Check In with Guests After Serving Entrees

    This is an efficient, seamless way to check in with guests after serving entrees.

    So after I drop the entrees, I take a beat and wait for the table to either acknowledge approval or make a request. Any request that a guest needs to have or enjoy their meal (a fork, ketchup, cook the steak longer...

  • Why Pre-Busing Helps Generate Volume

    This is how to get plates off the table and move customers along.

    So if I'm a customer, I want the plates out my way. I don't want to sit amongst dirty plates that no longer serve any purpose. Some restaurants (and guests) are weird about this. They may want you to wait on every single person to...

  • How to Pre-Bus Plates: An Effective and Efficient System for Servers

    This is an effective, efficient system for servers to pre-bus entrees.

    Here’s the general system I use to pre-bus plates:

    1. Find the plate with the most food on it that you wouldn't be able to stack another plate on top of. It has chicken bones on it, half a burger, etc.

    2. Hold it like you b...

  • Short Rant on Pre-Busing

    Think of this as like an intermission in the series.

    I get quite passionate when discussing the topic of pre-busing. But for real, just get the plates off the table. 😀

    *If you're interested in boxing, I have another series I put together on some basics. I deliver all instruction in Chinese, but...

  • What to Do When Checking on Guests After Pre-Busing

    This is how to approach your guests after they're finished with entrees.

    A note on Unobtrusive Service:

    I'm limiting the amount of interaction that I have with any given table.
    I'm limiting the number of times I approach it.
    I'm limiting the amount of time I spend at the table when I do appr...

  • An Alternative way to Approach Dessert Orders

    I don't always encourage upselling after entrees... but it depends.

    I'm happy to get people dessert, I just don't encourage it. It's often way more advantageous that I clear that table and focus on starting a new tab with a new table.

    Just a reminder, this is higher-volume, more casual restau...

  • How to Deliver the Check

    Getting close...

    When I'm doing my last pre-bus at a table, I'll check in with them and see if they're done or need anything else. Remember, I strive to approach the table as few times as possible and get as much done as possible with each trip.

    Now if they do order another drink, and I’m sla...