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By J.P. Wildes


The cry, repeated millions of times each day across the nation, is usually answered promptly. But today it is waiters themselves, the service lifeblood of the American eatery, who are crying for help.

Often stigmatized as wannabes eking out a living while desperately searching for a "real" career, waiters are waking up and smelling the coffee. Service is a real career for many, returning the kind of money, personal satisfaction and - yes - creative expression that many U.S workers today would envy.

Waiters are important. A multi-billion dollar food service industry hangs on the women and men who carry the food to the guests. They need to respect their jobs. When they do, their customers and employers do as well. Waiters are America's ambassadors of hospitality.

With the service industry the fastest growing segment of the economy demand is high for good service waiters. Why not see this as a career for talented, spirited and motivated people?

We see service as a profession. Do you? If so, it means a comitment on your part to develop the necessary skills for advancement and career growth. The art of getting along well with others, for example, can be learned and perfected. Without customers we are out of business. Ask yourself, "how do i attract good customers?" or "how do I make (and keep) customers happy?".

Best Tips for Best Tips will help you digest the answers and prepare you to better perform your job.

Continually developing the necessary skills to get ahead in this business is our survival. Best Tips for Best Tips cuts through the grease, to use a restaurant term. It points us in the right direction. It saves us the countless hours we would have spent trying to figure it out through trial and error. Why not listen to the experts? Best Tips for Best Tips offers service people solid, practical advice on how to start, develop, and advance in the service industry. Host of highly educated, successful business people and authors recognize the "real" job is a "real" art. They know it takes talented, knowledgeable and caring individuals to provide good service to the public. By "good service" i do not mean give-me-my-burger-in-30-seconds-or-i-want-it-free. I mean trained, pleasant, happy-to-be-here waiters, the kind customers can't wait to tip. Good servers recognize diners eat out not just for food, but for adventure. "Pamper me!" they say. "Show me a good time." And this doesn't always mean spending mega-bucks. The Mastercard international dining out study says the key criteria for choosing restaurants are good value, good food, and fun. It is our job to know the food and drink selections, our job to recommend menu items, and our job to recognize our customers are looking for value, just like us.

For those interested in service, Best Tips for Best Tips is a valuable tool. The fine writing style of the authors guides us through the acrobatics of service works. They teach us how to make customers happy, how to host people looking for a good time away from home, how to make suggestions within a customer's budget, how to ask the right questions and, most importantly, how to bring the customer back. Repeat business is your key to success in the service industry.

Service professionals must recognize that in addition to their use of technique, such as balancing the trays and handling glassware, they employ many critical thinking skills in their work. Critical thinking skills includes the ability to prioritize, ask questions, communicate, and understand the psychology of service. This ability to think as a service professional is the focus of Best Tips for Best Tips. Career veterans as well as persons new to the service industry will enrich their journey toward a successful career by reading this book.

Lastly, hospitality, an industry richly steeped in myth and history and highly multicultural, is sorely disregarded in today's America. Our vision is to professionalize, to upgrade and to define American hospitality . . . to give waiters respect and recognition they have long been waiting for.

Enjoy this book and take it to heart. It is a useful waiter tool. I wish it were available when I started out 25 years ago.

Vivienne J. Wildes
President and Founder
The Waiters Association

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