Serving Young Children With Parents – Every Waitress Should Know These 10 Safe and Considerate Tips
I had a long chat with many girlfriends about dining with their children in a restaurant. It can make or break their dining experience if a server knows or doesn’t know some important tips when children are at the table.
I used to be that mother with a young child, eighteen years ago and I know how tired I could be from lack of sleep and dragging around a fussy kid, never mind the heavy diaper bag and purse. I just wanted to sit down to rest and eat a meal.
The following are some important tips for you to keep in mind if you work in a family restaurant and encounter these tired and frustrated parents who will tip you accordingly if you ease some of the stress off of them.
1) Always greet everyone with a big smile and good energy. There is a big difference between, “Hi. What can I get for you to drink?” with a weak smile and “Hi everyone! How’s your day going so far?” as you smile warmly. They will comment something such as, “It’s going good.”
This is where you will respond with, “Fantastic! Can I start you all off with some nice cold beverages while you take a peek at the menu?” Give energy out. People feel it! One of my wonderful regulars named Dennis always says to me before he leaves, “Thank you my friend! I love your wonderful energy!” This is so very important and I can not stress it enough.
If you want to earn extra Brownie points with the parents, talk to the children. “What a pretty dress you’re wearing!” or “Who’s your friend?” if they’re carrying around a stuffed toy or doll.
2) Parents coming in with small children should always be asked if a high chair or a elo boosting league of legends seat is needed. If it is, go get it now. A tired parent will struggle to juggle a fussy child, purse and a heavy diaper bag when they just want to sit down and rest.
3) Offer coloring books or toys right away. This keeps small children occupied while parents can get themselves settled and focus their mind on deciding what to order.
4) Ask the parents if they would prefer their children’s food to arrive before their own. This way, children can be fed first or have their food cut up before the parent’s meal arrives.
5) If a child asks for an unusual item, always look at the parent and get their nod for approval (they are the one to pay the bill and leave the tip). Some unusual items requested by youngsters can be ice cream for dessert, a coke for breakfast, drink refills, etc.
If a child orders a coke and the parent looks at you with wide eyes and shakes their head, you can say something like, “I’m sorry sweetie. We just ran out of coke.” Be patient when waiting for children to order. They tend to fidget a lot. Lean down a bit closer to their level while listening and smile warmly. Make them feel important too.
6) When bringing cutlery and hot plates, keep them away from children! Set them in front of the adults while mentioning, “These are the chicken strips for the young lady. I will set them here as they could be a bit warm. Parents appreciate this gesture as it shows that you are concerned for their child’s safety. This is the one thing that most of my girlfriends complained about. “Don’t some waitresses think? They always set a hot plate down right in front of Junior!”
7) Always have a stack of napkins. Spills happen, snotty noses need a wipe and a parent can not have enough napkins. Always have a wet rag handy to help out with any spills too.
8) Pop by a few times to ask if everything is okay and if anything is needed. Forks fall on the floor, a ketchup bottle runs out or a drink of water may be needed.
9) Be alert and take away dishes that customers are finished with as soon as possible. A good indication is an empty plate, a plate with napkins and garbage piled on top, a plate with the utensils sitting side by side on the surface of it.
A nice thing to do is always say, “Let me take that away for you.” If the customers are engaged in a conversation, do not interrupt. Just smile and remove the plates.
10) Always have the bill ready to go at a moments notice. If they order dessert, you can always add it to the bill and re-adjust it. This is important, especially to parents dining with children. Children get fussy quick and sometimes they just want to pack up and leave right away.
Always thank your party and wish them a good day/evening. For children, make a little wave with your hand and say, “I’ll see you next time, Ok?” and wink. Children notice and it’s nice to hear them say, “Mommy, I like her. She was really nice!” This makes parents happy. Happy, relaxed parents like to leave a big tip!