Tip Making Tips for Tip Makers
Written by: Tom House
Dear Tip Makers: One of the most ubiquitous problems with earning tips for a living, is after a while you begin to realize how time consuming it is. Sometimes it takes a few years for you to actually realize this fact, because time flies once you start working “in the biz” full time. The hours crawl, but the years fly by! What can make it worse is if you are working “in the biz” to earn the money needed to help you achieve your own personal dreams (and most are); it can and will take a while. Check this out…the future is coming anyway, and you will either be prepared or not. The time invested in making tips today, may well be the key to your future successes tomorrow. Don’t abandon this plan of attack, because it has sustained many others before you until their “ship came in”. Visualize saving stacks of cash…you can do it!
In the hospitality business you hear people all the time saying, “I am out of here…this is my last year waiting tables or bartending man.” You have said it if you are a hospitality employee, and I know I said it many times throughout my career. Well…guess what…I might not be waiting tables too much anymore, but I am still in the restaurant / nightclub biz. I have become an expert in my field. I know enough about food and service to write about it, and today I even teach entire restaurant staffs and management teams how to improve sales and service via my Celebrity Service Seminars (contact me for details)! When I finally started getting away from waiting on tables full time…I began hanging around restaurants even more than before.
What I do now is a lot more fun and has the potential to be more financially rewarding, but I am still in the hospitality biz. If I stand in one spot too long in any restaurant anywhere, people start walking up to me saying, “Excuse me, are you the manager?” Or, “Can you tell me where the bathroom is?” or my favorite, “Could you help us to get table by the window sir?” Something about being in this biz too long has made me look like an employee no matter what restaurant or club I am at. I am like some kind of gigantic freaky Hospitality Chameleon! But I like it!
This short piece is a simple pep talk to remind all you servers, bartenders, managers, hostesses, musicians and aspiring chefs to keep trudging along towards your life goals. They are much closer than you think. Just because you chose the service industry as your vehicle to help you along the way, is not a bad thing. In fact, it was a wise choice. Someday I will list all the now famous and successful people who started out as servers or bartenders…like Bruce Willis for example. He was “discovered” while tending bar. Yes, he really was! You have to believe your own hype or self-marketing plan in order to get others to go for it.
What about that South Florida boy (Ft. Lauderdale) who made it big by the name of Brian Warner, better known as…Marilyn Manson? I remember going to a great Lauderdale club called Squeeze, and listening to a relatively unknown band called, Marilyn Manson and the Spooky Kids. Today, he / she’s one of the hottest recording acts in the world and most controversial by far. My point is that this cat believed his own bull crap so thoroughly that he’s a star today. Another South Florida shooting star known as Johnny Depp was in a Ft. Lauderdale rock band before he was discovered as an actor. He believed his own promotion of himself! Are you getting my drift?
Keep moving along your path my friends. I truly hope you have dreams to chase along the way. If earning gratuities is how you make your living, keep your eye on the prize, and bring something special to your guests each and every shift. To be successful in the hospitality industry…and this goes for non-tip earning employees too…you must stand out from the crowd. As a chef, your cuisine must be unique or it is forgettable. Ask yourself…what makes my service or my food better or at least unique from the millions of others doing this same work?
Working for tips is a healthy past time. Staying positive and balanced throughout the “Ground Hog Day” grind of the hospitality business will help you be successful during each repetitive shift. This advice works in any other business as well. Sometimes I sound like the proverbial broken record, but those who have taken my advice are much happier today.
Reflection: The best measure of what you can accomplish in your life is what you have already accomplished. You better get busy!