How Susan Went from Making 50.00 to 200.00 a Nite in Tips Using a Hand Held Calculator

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Dear Glenn,

…Here’s a real life example:

I worked full-time as a secretary from 8:30 am – 5:00 pm

I knew that I needed to make more money than what my day job was bringing in (I was already making the most money that the market was paying for my skills — I had hit the top of the ceiling, so to speak) so, I thought hey, I could waitress (this was back in the late ’80’s early 90’s — so no internet opportunities there for me to pursue).

However, I had THREE MAJOR OBSTACLES in my way (at least that’s what I thought).  Remember, these are required skills to be a waitress (besides, every one told me I couldn’t do this job either):

1.  EXPERIENCE.  I didn’t have any.
2.  I couldn’t balance plates on my arms (as they weren’t long enough and I didn’t have the confidence to balance them, plus they were bloody heavy and awkward); and
3.  I couldn’t do math in my head (for those cash and carry transactions).

So, how did I OVERCOME these THREE MAJOR OBSTACLES and become a popular, well-respected and successful waitress?

1.  I offered to work for free to gain the necessary waitressing experience.  We took a chance on each other.  (Note:  I made more money in TIPS than I did for the lousy $2.50/hour they would have paid me anyway.  So, win/win here — for me and the Restaurant Owner.

2.  I realized that an upscale restaurant wasn’t my thing (they are cheap bastards anyway) so ended up working in a Sports Bars instead (.  You see, they serve their food (usually wings, fries, burgers, etc.) in baskets.  I also used a tray instead of trying to balance them on my arms and THIS WAS PERFECTLY ACCEPTABLE.  So, win here — for me.

3.  Drum roll here …. I carried a calculator with at all times.  YUP.  I would take the order to the customer and place it on their table.  I would then add up all of the food and drink items, including the taxes, right there in front of the customer.

So, when a customer would challenge me and ask why I am using a calculator and not my head (like EVERYBODY ELSE does), I quickly and confidently said, “well, you see Mr. Customer, this is for YOUR BENEFIT.”    Customer, “How?”, Me, “because, when I use my trusty little calculator, I am calculating EXACTLY what your order is, including the TAXES.  I am not “guesstimating” like ALL THE OTHER WAIT STAFF DO.  No sirree.  You are Paying Exactly what you owe me.  I am also not rounding it up to include the 10 – 15% tip, like ALL THE OTHER WAIT STAFF DO.  I am charging you TO THE PENNY what you owe me, AND if you would like to add a tip ON TOP of this amount, then that is up TO YOU” .(not me and what the others do).

So, win/win here — for me and the customers.    (Editor’s Note:  This one I had to think fast on my feet without letting them know that I didn’t know how to do math in my head and HAD to use a calculator.)  Again, I said that it was FOR THEIR PROTECTION …. so that they weren’t being OVERCHARGED!)

So, guess what Point 3. did for me?  My customers LOVED IT.  They knew that I was an honest waitress who served them with a smile, greeted them by their name, asked about their day and never EXPECTED a tip.

***All of my customers ended up tipping me 25 – 30% (sometimes 50%) because of this one honest technique that NOBODY, and I mean NOBODY was doing.  Actually, I haven’t seen anyone use a calculator when doing cash and carry transactions.

At first, they didn’t know what to make of it, but then got used to it and loved it and loved me.  I never received a tip less than 20%.  They would also buy me drinks ON TOP of the tip.  They always sat in MY SECTION and they came to the Pub on the NIGHTS that I WAS WORKING.  I heard from my customers if they came and I wasn’t working (because of a last-minute shift change), they would leave and ask another waitress when I was working next.

Within 3 years I went from making $50.00 a night to $150 – $200.00 a night.  I worked 3 nights and sometimes weekends too.

It was addictive.  I couldn’t stay away because, I would go to work broke and come out with CASH (lots of it) after working a few hours (usually 5-6 hours —- on TOP of my day job).    I actually ended up MAKING MORE MONEY working part-time as a waitress than I did working full time.  But, I still kept my day job (because I loved it).

You see, I used psychology here (with my customers).  I didn’t follow the herd and I did not read this strategy in any book.  Y

You see, I had to think quickly and out-side-of-the-box.  I was honest with my customers and they appreciated it (again, I couldn’t add up the items quickly enough in my head —- and the Pub was busy, so you have to go fast, fast fast).  But I was also in survival mode.

So, yah.  ANYTHING is POSSIBLE.  You just need to be focused, be positive and GO FOR IT!  Remember, there is more than 1 way to accomplish a task.

THE REST of the Story –

We actually BARTERED our
5K Waitress Book
for Susans Permission to Share her Story…

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