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Working As a Bar Waiter/Waitress

  • Performing for or Working Directly with the Public
  • Performing General Physical Activities
  • Getting Information
  • Selling or Influencing Others
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Deal with People

  • Outdoors/walking/standing

  • $20,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Bar Waiter/Waitress Do

Waiters and waitresses take orders and serve food and beverages to customers in dining establishments.

Duties

Waiters and waitresses typically do the following:

  • Greet customers, present menus, and explain daily specials to customers
  • Answer questions related to menu
  • Take food and beverage orders from customers
  • Relay food and beverage orders to the kitchen staff
  • Prepare drinks and food garnishes
  • Carry trays of food or drinks from the kitchen to the dining tables
  • Remove dirty dishes and glasses, and clean tables after customers finish meals
  • Prepare itemized checks and take payments from customers
  • Set up dining areas, refill condiments, and stock service areas

Waiters and waitresses, also called servers, are responsible for ensuring that customers have a satisfying dining experience. The specific duties of servers vary with the establishment in which they work.

In casual-dining restaurants that offer simple menu items, such as salads, soups, and sandwiches, servers provide fast, efficient, and courteous service. In fine-dining restaurants, where more complicated meals are prepared and are often served over several courses, waiters and waitresses emphasize personal, attentive treatment at a more leisurely pace. For example, they may suggest a beverage choice such as a wine recommendation with certain foods.

Waiters and waitresses may meet with managers and chefs before each shift to discuss the menu or specials, review ingredients for potential food allergies, or talk about any food safety concerns. They also discuss coordination between the kitchen and the dining room and review any customer service issues from the previous day or shift.

In establishments where alcohol is served, waiters and waitresses verify the age of customers and ensure that they meet legal requirements for the purchase of alcohol.

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How To Become A Bar Waiter/Waitress

Most waiter and waitress jobs are entry level, and workers learn through short-term on-the-job training. No formal education or previous work experience is required to enter the occupation.

Most states require workers who serve alcoholic beverages to be at least 18 years of age, but some states require servers to be older. Waiters and waitresses who serve alcohol must be familiar with state and local laws concerning the sale of alcoholic beverages.

Education

No formal education is required to become a waiter or waitress.

Training

Most waiters and waitresses learn their skills through short-term on-the-job-training, usually lasting a few weeks. Trainees typically work with an experienced waiter or waitress, who teaches them basic serving techniques.

Some full-service restaurants provide new employees with some form of classroom training that alternates with periods of on-the-job work experience. These training programs communicate the operating philosophy of the restaurant, help new servers establish a rapport with other staff, teach serving techniques, and instill a desire to work as a team. They also discuss customer service situations and the proper ways to handle unpleasant circumstances or unruly customers.

Training for waiters and waitresses in establishments that serve alcohol typically involves learning state and local laws concerning the sale of alcoholic beverages. Some states, counties, and cities mandate the training, which typically lasts a few hours and can be taken online or in-house.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Waiters and waitresses must listen carefully to customers’ specific requests, ask questions, and relay the information to the kitchen staff, so that orders are prepared to the customers’ satisfaction.

Customer-service skills. Waiters and waitresses spend most of their work time serving customers. They should be friendly and polite and be able to develop a rapport with customers.

Detail oriented. Waiters and waitresses must record customers’ orders accurately. They need be able to recall the details of each order and match the food or drink orders to the correct customers.

Interpersonal skills. Waiters and waitresses should be courteous, tactful, and attentive as they deal with customers in all circumstances to resolve any issues that arise.

Physical stamina. Waiters and waitresses spend hours on their feet carrying heavy trays, dishes, and drinks.

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Average Yearly Salary
$20,000
Show Salaries
$17,000
Min 10%
$20,000
Median 50%
$20,000
Median 50%
$20,000
Median 50%
$20,000
Median 50%
$20,000
Median 50%
$20,000
Median 50%
$20,000
Median 50%
$24,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Sanderling Resort
Highest Paying City
Highest Paying State
Massachusetts
Avg Experience Level
1.9 years
How much does a Bar Waiter/Waitress make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Bar Waiter/Waitress in the United States is $20,846 per year or $10 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $17,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $24,000.

Real Bar Waiter/Waitress Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Waiter/Waitress, Bar Wild Goose Tavern LLC MA Apr 01, 2011 $23,124
Waiter/Waitress, Bar Ramnee Enterprises, LLC FL Dec 01, 2011 $21,454
Waiter/Waitress, Bar Lake Shore Country Club IL May 01, 2011 $21,329
Waiter/Waitress, Bar Green Acres Country Club IL May 01, 2011 $21,329
Waiter/Waitress, Bar Fenway Golf Club, Inc. NY May 01, 2011 $20,870
Waiter/Waitress, Bar Boca West Country Club, Inc. FL Oct 15, 2011 $20,870
Waiter/Waitress, Bar Mariner Sands Country Club, Inc. FL Oct 15, 2011 $20,870
Waiter/Waitress, Bar The Country Club of Darien Inc. CT May 15, 2012 $20,870
Waiter/Waitress, Bar Bald Peak Colonyclub NH May 01, 2012 $19,827
Waiter/Waitress, Bar Jackie's Too, Inc. ME Apr 01, 2011 $18,199
Waiter/Waitress, Bar Kiawah Resort Associates, L.P. SC Apr 01, 2011 $17,468
Bar Staff/Wait Staff Hsnbrgww LLC Manitowoc, WI May 01, 2015 $16,696

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Top Skills for A Bar Waiter/Waitress

  1. Customer Service
  2. Drink Orders
  3. Kitchen Areas
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Provided quality customer service while managing numerous tasks simultaneously in a fast paced team environment.
  • Take food and drink orders, make cocktails, serve customers
  • Washed and disinfected kitchen areas, floors, tables, tools, knives and equipment.
  • Perform food preparation, Serving food and beverages Quickly worked through the ranks to become one of the restaurant's main trainers
  • Provided excellent customer service by taking customer food and beverage orders and ensured timely correct completion.

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Average Salary:

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Top 10 Best States for Bar Waiter/Waitresses

  1. Iowa
  2. Kansas
  3. Ohio
  4. Illinois
  5. Idaho
  6. Massachusetts
  7. West Virginia
  8. Vermont
  9. Nevada
  10. New York
  • (300 jobs)
  • (207 jobs)
  • (919 jobs)
  • (846 jobs)
  • (103 jobs)
  • (476 jobs)
  • (148 jobs)
  • (32 jobs)
  • (230 jobs)
  • (747 jobs)

Bar Waiter/Waitress Demographics

Gender

Female

53.3%

Male

33.3%

Unknown

13.4%
Ethnicity

White

63.5%

Hispanic or Latino

15.8%

Black or African American

11.0%

Asian

6.2%

Unknown

3.5%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

54.5%

French

10.6%

Italian

6.1%

Vietnamese

4.5%

Japanese

4.5%

Portuguese

3.0%

Mandarin

3.0%

Russian

3.0%

Chinese

1.5%

German

1.5%

Ukrainian

1.5%

Hindi

1.5%

Thai

1.5%

Cantonese

1.5%

Bengali

1.5%
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Bar Waiter/Waitress Education

Schools

The Academy

9.3%

University of Phoenix

8.0%

More Tech Institute

6.7%

Tidewater Community College

6.7%

Wayne State University

5.3%

Texas A&M University

5.3%

University of Connecticut

5.3%

Florida International University

5.3%

University of Alabama

4.0%

Pennsylvania Highlands Community College

4.0%

University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire

4.0%

Owens Community College

4.0%

Mercy College - Dobbs Ferry

4.0%

East Carolina University

4.0%

California University of Pennsylvania

4.0%

University of Rhode Island

4.0%

Lees-McRae College

4.0%

Ashford University

4.0%

Virginia Commonwealth University

4.0%

Saginaw Valley State University

4.0%
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Majors

Business

20.3%

Psychology

7.9%

Criminal Justice

7.1%

Management

5.4%

General Studies

5.2%

Hospitality Management

5.2%

Nursing

4.6%

Graphic Design

4.6%

Kinesiology

4.4%

English

4.4%

Communication

4.2%

Accounting

3.6%

Medical Assisting Services

3.4%

Marketing

3.3%

Biology

3.1%

Computer Science

2.9%

Education

2.9%

Health Care Administration

2.7%

Cosmetology

2.5%

Sociology

2.5%
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Degrees

Bachelors

39.5%

Other

37.9%

Associate

11.7%

Masters

3.9%

Certificate

3.5%

Diploma

2.4%

License

0.8%

Doctorate

0.3%
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Updated May 19, 2020