Course Description

Restaurant Server Training Course

It would be more noble to say that the reason to take this course is to elevate the quality of service in the hospitality industry and to bring respectability to the profession.

And, that would be true.

But there’s a more compelling reason to successfully complete this course: to make more money.

It’s a well documented fact that a good server makes more money than a bad or even so-so server. Waiting tables is different from just about any job in that how much money you make is controlled in large part by your customers. They determine your "salary" by deciding how big or small a tip to leave.

There is a certain sector of the dining public that automatically leaves between 15 and 20 percent of the check regardless of the quality of service. But there are others who feel no compunction with leaving a lower percentage or nothing at all if they feel the quality of the service was below acceptable standards. 

This course will help you learn the skills needed to provide the quality of service that will compel your guests to leave a better tip. 

Even with those people who leave 15 to 20 percent as a rule, improving your chance of getting the higher percentage more often can mean thousands of dollars more in your pocket each year depending on your average check.

Let’s take an example. Let’s say you work in a restaurant where the average check for a table of two comes to $100. If every table tipped you 15%, you’d make $15. And if you serve 8 tables each shift, that comes to $120. 

But if every table tipped you 20%, your take for the evening would be $160, a difference of $40.

That might not seem like a lot, but take that $40, multiply it five times a week and 50 weeks for the year and it’s a difference of $10,000. That’s how much more you’d make just by getting the higher gratuity. 

Better servers make better tips. This course is designed to make you a better server.

Of course, there is another type of diner, those who leave a lousy tip regardless of the quality of service. Nothing can be done about such people, but this course will teach you how to deal with them when it happens.

The core components of this course deal with server basics. We’ll be going over things that, at first, you’ll probably think don’t have anything to do with you or your current work situation. But the goal is to make you more knowledgable and well-rounded in your professional role. So even if you feel you don’t have any need to, say, know the difference between Russian style service and English style, knowing it will make you more educated about the role of a server.

Here are the modules for the course:

  1. What a critic looks for: An explanation of how a professional restaurant critic approaches a new restaurant for a review.
  2. The Diner’s Bill of Rights: A list of what a guest should expect from the staff of a restaurant (and what should be expected of the guest, too).
  3. Types of Service
  4. Types of Restaurants
  5. Types of Menus
  6. Restaurant Positions: A typical organizational chart and where you fall in the hierarchy.
  7. The Role of the Waiter in the restaurant system
  8. Restaurantspeak
  9. The Qualities of a Waiter
  10. Advantages and Disadvantages of being a Waiter
  11. Setting the Table
  12. The Basics of Proper Service
  13. Chronicle of the Guest Experience
  14. Learning (and Unlearning) How to Speak: Don’t say that, say this.
  15. The Art of Upselling, or How Not to Be Evil.

Upon successful completion of this course, you will receive a certificate of achievement that declares you to be a graduate of Scott Joseph’s Servers Training Course. You may show it to potential employers to prove you have the knowledge necessary to be a good server. 

Note to restaurateurs: This course may be customized to fit the needs of your restaurant, including adding modules and quizzes specific to your menu. For details, contact Scott Joseph directly at the email link in the "About the Instructor" section above. Group pricing plans also available.

Scott Joseph

Scott Joseph has been reviewing restaurants in Central Florida and beyond for more than 29 years. In that time he established himself as the most trusted, reliable and comprehensive source of restaurant information in the region. His advice was so closely followed that Orlando magazine named him one of the city’s “50 Most Powerful People” on multiple occasions.During his career, first as senior critic for the Orlando Sentinel and currently as publisher of Scott Joseph's Orlando Restaurant Guide, he has written thousands of reviews, columns and articles on the restaurant industry.He is a member of the Association of Food Journalists and a frequent judge for national restaurant awards.He is a contributor to National Public Radio affiliate WMFE-FM, which broadcasts a weekly review, and WFTV-Channel 9 in Orlando. He also serves as a consultant on fine service and food for new and established restaurants.Joseph has appeared as a dining expert on CNN International, Canada AM and The Daily Buzz, and has been featured in the pages of Wine Enthusiast, Food & Wine, Bon Appetit and numerous other journals and periodicals.

Course curriculum

  • 2

    What a Critic Looks for

  • 3

    The Diner's Bill of Rights

  • 4

    Types of Restaurant Service

    • Types of Restaurant Service

    • Types of Restaurant Service (text version)

    • Types of Service Quiz

  • 5

    Types of Restaurants

    • The various types of restaurants and the levels of service they require

    • The various types of restaurants and the levels of service they require (text version)

    • Types of Restaurants Quiz

  • 6

    Types of Menus

    • Different types of Menus

    • À la Carte

    • Table d'Hote

    • Prix Fixe

    • Degustation

    • Types of Menus Quiz

    • Types of Menus Quiz -- Part 2

  • 7

    Waiting in America

    • The Role of the Server in the Restaurant System

    • Role of the Server in the Restaurant System (text version)

    • The Qualities of a Server

    • Advantages and Disadvantages of Being a Server

    • Advantages and Disadvantages to of Being a Restaurant Server (text version)

    • Terms and Jargon

    • Familiar Terms and Jargon

  • 8

    Proper Grooming

    • Proper Grooming

    • Proper Grooming (text version)

  • 9

    Setting the Table

    • Proper Placement and Handling of Flatware

    • Proper Placement and Handling of Flatware (text version)

    • Proper Placement of Glassware

    • Proper Placement of Glassware (text version)

    • The Scourge of the Rollup

    • The Scourge of the Rollup (text version)

    • The Use of Chargers and Show Plates

    • The Use of Chargers and Show Plates (text version)

    • Some Notes About Napkins

    • Some Notes about Napkins (text version)

    • Table Setting Quiz

  • 10

    The Basics of Proper Service

    • How to Serve, How to Clear

    • How to Serve, How to Clear (text version)

    • How to Pour Water

    • Step-saving Efficiencies

    • Moving Through the Restaurant

    • Moving Through the Restaurant (text version)

    • Handling a Complaint -- and a Compliment

    • Handling a Complaint (text version)

    • Pivot-point Order Taking

    • Pivot-Point Order Taking (text version)

    • Basics of Proper Service Quiz

  • 11

    Chronolgy of the Guest Experience

    • Chronology of the Guest Experience Part 1

    • Chronology of the Guest Experience Part 2

    • Chronology of the Guest Experience Part 3

  • 12

    Learning (and unlearning) How to Speak

    • Dont' Say That, Say This

    • Don't Say That, Say This (text version)

    • How to Speak (text version)

    • How to Speak

  • 13

    The Art of Upselling

    • The Art of Upselling or How Not to Be Evil

    • Upselling and Suggestive Selling for Fun and (Extra) Profit (text version)

  • 14


    • Conclusion