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Working As a Cocktail 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

  • $28,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Cocktail 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 Cocktail 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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Cocktail Server Career Paths

Cocktail Server
Hostess Teacher Consultant
General Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Hostess Specialist Team Leader
Account Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Hostess Specialist Consultant
Sales Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Waitress Specialist Account Executive
District Sales Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Waitress Teacher Consultant
Business Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Waitress Technician Shift Leader
Assistant General Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Office Assistant Executive Assistant Assistant Manager
Restaurant General Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Office Assistant Executive Assistant Office Manager
Business Owner
6 Yearsyrs
Office Assistant Executive Assistant Manager
Food And Beverage Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Certified Nursing Assistant Team Leader General Manager
Director Of Food And Beverage
9 Yearsyrs
Certified Nursing Assistant Administrator General Manager
Food Service Director
9 Yearsyrs
Certified Nursing Assistant Team Leader Owner/Operator
Food Service Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Cocktail Waitress Brand Ambassador Marketing Consultant
Brand Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Front Desk Agent Sales Consultant Internet Sales Consultant
Internet Sales Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Brand Ambassador Marketing Specialist Event Manager
Catering Sales Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Event Coordinator Lead Server Food And Beverage Manager
Assistant Director Of Food And Beverage
7 Yearsyrs
Event Coordinator Lead Server Kitchen Manager
Assistant Food Service Director
5 Yearsyrs
Personal Assistant Legal Secretary Business Owner
Entrepreneur
5 Yearsyrs
Event Coordinator Development Coordinator Development Officer
Manager Of Special Events
5 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Cocktail Server?

Average Yearly Salary
$28,000
Show Salaries
$21,000
Min 10%
$28,000
Median 50%
$28,000
Median 50%
$28,000
Median 50%
$28,000
Median 50%
$28,000
Median 50%
$28,000
Median 50%
$28,000
Median 50%
$37,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Chuy's
Highest Paying City
San Jose, CA
Highest Paying State
Oregon
Avg Experience Level
2.4 years
How much does a Cocktail Server make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Cocktail Server in the United States is $28,442 per year or $14 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $21,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $37,000.

Top Skills for A Cocktail Server

  1. Customer Service
  2. Beverage Orders
  3. Drink Orders
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Provide exceptional customer service and utilized my strong organizational and communication skills; delivered first class experience to each guest.
  • Circulate throughout assigned workstations on a continuous basis, receiving and delivering beverage orders.
  • Assisted bar supervisor in taking drink orders, mixing and serving drinks in bar area as well as formal dining room.
  • Trained new employees in restaurant operations and responsibilities.
  • Thrived in a fast-paced environment while demonstrating proficiency in time management, multitasking, and increased guest satisfaction.

Rank:

Average Salary:

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Top 10 Best States for Cocktail Servers

  1. Nevada
  2. Iowa
  3. Idaho
  4. Oregon
  5. West Virginia
  6. Kansas
  7. Illinois
  8. Alaska
  9. New York
  10. Ohio
  • (356 jobs)
  • (348 jobs)
  • (101 jobs)
  • (221 jobs)
  • (151 jobs)
  • (210 jobs)
  • (914 jobs)
  • (24 jobs)
  • (749 jobs)
  • (959 jobs)

Cocktail Server Resume Examples And Tips

The average resume reviewer spends between 5 to 7 seconds looking at a single resume, which leaves the average job applier with roughly six seconds to make a killer first impression. Thanks to this, a single typo or error on your resume can disqualify you right out of the gate. At Zippia, we went through over 10,902 Cocktail Server resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

Learn How To Create A Top Notch Cocktail Server Resume

View Resume Examples

Cocktail Server Demographics

Gender

Female

76.4%

Male

12.2%

Unknown

11.4%
Ethnicity

White

60.1%

Hispanic or Latino

19.4%

Black or African American

10.3%

Asian

6.1%

Unknown

4.1%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

65.1%

French

7.1%

German

3.3%

Russian

3.1%

Italian

3.1%

Portuguese

2.8%

Japanese

2.6%

Arabic

2.0%

Swedish

1.3%

Mandarin

1.3%

Chinese

1.3%

Vietnamese

1.0%

Romanian

1.0%

Ukrainian

0.8%

Lithuanian

0.8%

Cantonese

0.8%

Tagalog

0.8%

Amharic

0.8%

Polish

0.8%

Greek

0.5%
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Cocktail Server Education

Schools

University of Nevada - Las Vegas

16.2%

College of Southern Nevada

11.7%

University of Phoenix

9.0%

Arizona State University

7.6%

University of Central Florida

5.2%

The Academy

5.1%

San Diego State University

4.8%

Atlantic Cape Community College

4.5%

San Francisco State University

3.4%

Miami Dade College

3.4%

Valencia College

3.3%

Texas State University

3.2%

University of Arizona

3.1%

University of South Florida

3.0%

Portland State University

2.9%

Florida Atlantic University

2.8%

Northern Virginia Community College

2.7%

Metropolitan State University of Denver

2.7%

Johnson & Wales University

2.6%

University of Nevada - Reno

2.6%
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Majors

Business

19.0%

Psychology

9.5%

Nursing

7.4%

Communication

7.3%

Criminal Justice

5.4%

Health Care Administration

5.0%

General Studies

4.8%

Hospitality Management

4.6%

Medical Assisting Services

4.3%

Liberal Arts

4.3%

Cosmetology

4.2%

Marketing

3.5%

Biology

3.2%

Accounting

2.9%

Fine Arts

2.6%

Graphic Design

2.5%

Management

2.4%

Sociology

2.4%

Kinesiology

2.4%

English

2.3%
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Degrees

Bachelors

37.2%

Other

35.7%

Associate

15.4%

Certificate

4.7%

Masters

3.6%

Diploma

1.7%

License

1.2%

Doctorate

0.3%
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Updated May 19, 2020