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Become A Caterer/Server

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Working As A Caterer/Server

  • 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

  • $19,250

    Average Salary

What Does A Caterer/Server 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 Caterer/Server

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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Caterer/Server jobs

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Average Length of Employment
Lead Server 3.0 years
Head Server 2.9 years
Bartender Server 2.7 years
Fine Dining Server 2.4 years
Restaurant Server 2.3 years
Beverage Server 2.3 years
Cocktail Server 2.2 years
Food Server 2.2 years
Caterer 2.1 years
Banquet Server 2.1 years
Caterer/Server 2.0 years
Server And Hostess 1.9 years
Room Server 1.9 years
Server 1.8 years
Counter Server 1.6 years
Server/Barista 1.3 years
Server Assistant 1.3 years
Top Employers Before
Server 15.2%
Cashier 10.9%
Internship 6.9%
Hostess 4.3%
Volunteer 3.9%
Waitress 3.4%
Bartender 2.9%
Manager 2.5%
Barista 2.2%
Top Employers After
Server 19.9%
Cashier 7.5%
Internship 7.1%
Bartender 3.9%
Volunteer 3.6%
Hostess 3.5%
Waitress 3.4%
Manager 3.0%
Cook 2.5%
Barista 2.4%

Caterer/Server Demographics

Gender

Female

64.0%

Male

34.8%

Unknown

1.3%
Ethnicity

White

80.0%

Hispanic or Latino

12.0%

Asian

6.1%

Unknown

1.3%

Black or African American

0.6%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

58.4%

French

13.7%

Russian

3.7%

Chinese

3.1%

German

3.1%

Mandarin

2.5%

Italian

1.9%

Portuguese

1.9%

Japanese

1.9%

Arabic

1.9%

Ukrainian

1.2%

Thai

1.2%

Tagalog

1.2%

Swedish

0.6%

Turkish

0.6%

Cantonese

0.6%

Hindi

0.6%

Dutch

0.6%

Indonesian

0.6%

Hungarian

0.6%
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Caterer/Server Education

Schools

Oregon State University

9.9%

San Francisco State University

5.9%

Temple University

5.9%

University of Delaware

5.9%

Utah State University

5.9%

Eastern Michigan University

5.3%

Utah Valley University

5.3%

University of Central Florida

5.3%

Florida State University

5.3%

University of South Florida

4.6%

Indiana University of Pennsylvania

4.6%

Washington State University

4.6%

Syracuse University

3.9%

University of Alabama

3.9%

Southern Connecticut State University

3.9%

Virginia Commonwealth University

3.9%

Pennsylvania State University

3.9%

Nassau Community College

3.9%

West Virginia University

3.9%

University of Colorado at Boulder

3.9%
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Majors

Business

18.3%

Psychology

9.3%

Communication

6.2%

Hospitality Management

5.5%

General Studies

4.7%

Nursing

4.7%

English

4.5%

Criminal Justice

4.5%

Kinesiology

4.1%

Accounting

4.1%

Health Care Administration

4.0%

Culinary Arts

3.9%

Liberal Arts

3.9%

Fine Arts

3.6%

Marketing

3.5%

Management

3.3%

Biology

3.1%

Sociology

3.0%

Political Science

2.9%

Medical Assisting Services

2.9%
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Degrees

Bachelors

46.1%

Other

28.7%

Associate

14.3%

Masters

5.0%

Certificate

3.6%

Diploma

1.2%

Doctorate

0.7%

License

0.4%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Top Skills for A Caterer/Server

CustomerServiceSkillsKitchenBanquetServiceBeverageServiceFoodPreparationDeliverySet-UpSafeFoodSpecialEventsMenuItemsExemplaryGuestServiceFoodItemsFoodServiceHospitalityFoodOrdersCommunicationSkillsLargeEventsPrivateEventsTableSettingsFullService

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Top Caterer/Server Skills

  1. Customer Service Skills
  2. Kitchen
  3. Banquet Service
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Maintain excellent customer service skills and also bartend during events.
  • Communicate effectively with kitchen staff regarding customer allergies, dietary needs, and other special requests.
  • Provided banquet services in team environment which included parking, inventory counts, food service, sales, and cooking assistance.
  • Organize food and beverage service to lessen time spent and please guests.
  • Learned incredible time management skills that were required for an event to flow smoothly as well as basic food preparation.

Top Caterer/Server Employers

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Caterer/Server Videos

Catering Room Setup

Banquet Server Basic Training

Focus Solutions Banquet Servers

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