Building RegularsBusiness

How I Got 3 New Regulars In One Shift

I gained three new regulars during a recent shift.

Regulars are the bread-and-butter for servers. They’re also why I LOVE my job.

I built three brand-new relationships, and all tipped 50 to 100 percent. Regulars offer a steady stream of recurring income. They also make your job a lot more fun and help boost your confidence. 

Every time a regular comes in to see you – since you’ve already fostered relationships and know them well – it’s easier to serve them and give them a tailored experience. They’re also likely going to give you a fantastic tip, and might even bring their friends to see you. 

My first table of the day was a couple in their mid-50s, sitting on the same side of the table. I’m not sure why, but couples who sit on the same side of the table are usually “awesome” and seem to be the typical “bar top” guests. They often turn into my regulars. 

Anyway, they were both former military, and the gentleman spent nearly a decade working as a head brewer at a few local breweries.

We had great conversations about beer and the current state of foodservice. They shared their story with me, and I shared mine. 

At the end of their experience, they told me that they’re usually “bar people.” However, because of COVID-19, they can’t sit at the bar top. Until the pandemic ends, they’re going to ask for me every time they visit. 

They loved that I made them feel comfortable and connected to me. They also experienced “that social feeling” again – which they usually don’t find when sitting at a table. They praised my service, my attention to detail, and how I predicted what they would need. This is the fuel that keeps me burning. 

The next guest that sat at that same table was a “one top,” really nice gentleman.

When I have “one top,” especially one sitting in my section, I try to talk with them as much as possible because there’s a reason they call and put their name on the list to sit down with a server rather than going through a drive-through or eating at home alone.

They want some social interaction. This man could talk. A few times I had to tell him to “Give me a minute” and “I’ll be right back.” Since I always keep my head on a swivel and know where all my tables are, I could see that some of my other tables needed me. Still, I knew the value of building this relationship over the other ones because it was going in the direction of a new addition into my Server Tribe. 

So, this gentleman said he was a regular at Red Robin and told me what he orders there. He loves SWEET ASS DRINKS, like the mango sweet tea he was drinking, and LOVES wings. 

He told me how the servers at Red Robin- who would come and drink at my bar after they got off work – told him to check it out. In a matter of a few minutes, I knew a lot about this guy and how to tailor his dining experience. 

I kept his drink full because he told me he LOVES free refills. I also kept talking with him every chance I got. He even asked if it was O.K. to hang out here a little while longer with me. “Absolutely!” I said. 

 “I know some servers get annoyed by that and want to flip their tables quickly,” he said.

I replied: “I’ve got other tables I can flip, you enjoy yourself and we’ll have a good time, don’t you worry about it!”

When he pulled out cash to pay, he kept putting money down and tipped a little over 100 percent of the bill. He told me he tips based on performance, and he dines out because that is his social life. He said that because I talked with him and had great conversations – plus kept his favorite drink filled – he tipped well. 

“Because you went above and beyond for me, I’m going above and beyond for you, so thank you,” he said. He said every time he visits this establishment he’s going to ask for me. 

Finally, I had this table of two ladies, obviously best friends. They were a little older, in their 60s, but went out together at least once a week. They told me I was their new “Houston.” 

“I think that’s good right?” I replied.

They explained how pre-pandemic, they would go out to $5 movies at the theater every Tuesday and then go to happy hour at the bar next door. Every Tuesday, when they went into that bar, Houston would have their favorite drinks already prepared. 

They went in to see him every week and built a great relationship with Houston. Unfortunately, with COVID-19, they can’t go to the movies, and that bar sadly had to close down. 

They told me I’’ be their new Houston, and they will come and see me for their “girl dates” every week.

They told me stories about their husbands, how they watch football, how their homes are set up with “badass” patios and basement bars. We talked for over an hour after all of my other tables had left. They tipped me over 50% and told me they can’t wait to see me next week. 

I share these stories with you to show three different examples of regulars, and to give you an idea of some ways to identify potential regulars.

In one lunch shift, I potentially just added another $50 to my tips each week by building such relationships. These are some of the lessons we coach in-depth in “Six Figure Server Coaching.” We’re also coming out with tools that will help you connect and build your “Tribe” of regulars.

Share with me below some of your #ServerStories on your regulars and how you build your base. Regulars help separate you from your co-workers and help you stay #NothinLessThanLegendary!

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