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Tips on a New Waitress Carrying Drink Trays

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Never underestimate the weight of a drink tray. The waiter or waitress only makes it look easy. In reality, they are working hard for their tips. Most people spill drinks from time to time. A full drink tray, if it were to spill, would be a much larger disaster. Carrying drink trays can take some practice to perfect, making the task somewhat intimidating for the new waitress.

Dress for the Job

Wear clothing that will not interfere with your job. This includes wearing shoes that you are comfortable walking in, even when you are carrying a weighted drink tray. Avoid wearing clothing that doesn't fit properly, as shirts may ride up or clothing may catch on furniture, while working. Groom yourself, avoid wearing shirts that show sweat stains and make sure clothing is clean. Pay attention to your hands and nails; these should always be clean and manicured.

Deliver Drinks with a Smile

Ultimately, you are working for tips. Carry drinks confidently, flash an authentic smile, engage in positive small talk, show interest in all the guests and work quickly. Ask children, then women and lastly men for their drink orders. Work around the table clockwise as you take the drink orders. When delivering the drinks, do not allow the customers to help remove drinks from your tray. Set the tray on the table using both hands and deliver drinks to customers without having to reach over the guests, if possible.

Carrying the Tray

Know what you are carrying. Some drinks, such as wine glasses or beer bottles, tip over easier. Balance your drinks on your tray, starting from the center of your tray with the heavier drinks and working outwards with the lighter drinks. Carry the tray using one hand and plan your routes. Know the area you will be walking through with a full drink tray. For example, be aware of any steps, narrow areas or uneven carpet. Avoid routes that are problematic, if possible.

Practice Makes Perfect

Practice carrying full drink trays before you begin working. Practice at home or ask to practice beforehand at work. Ask your employer if you can borrow a drink tray and take it home to practice. Get a feel for a full drink tray by deciding where you feel most comfortable placing your fingers, such as on the bottom of the tray, using all your fingers for the most control.


Sara Mahuron specializes in adult/higher education, parenting, budget travel and personal finance. She earned an M.S. in adult/organizational learning and leadership, as well as an Ed.S. in educational leadership, both from the University of Idaho. Mahuron also holds a B.S. in psychology and a B.A. in international studies-business and economics.

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