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Become A Dining Room Server

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Working As A Dining Room Server

  • Performing for or Working Directly with the Public
  • Getting Information
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
  • Handling and Moving Objects
  • Training and Teaching Others
  • Unpleasant/Angry People

  • Outdoors/walking/standing

  • $19,280

    Average Salary

What Does A Dining Room Server Do

Food and beverage serving and related workers perform a variety of customer service, food preparation, and cleaning duties in restaurants, cafeterias, and other eating and drinking establishments.

Duties

Food and beverage serving and related workers typically do the following:

  • Greet customers and answer their questions about menu items and specials
  • Take food or drink orders from customers
  • Prepare food and drink orders, such as sandwiches, salads, and coffee
  • Relay customers’ orders to other kitchen staff
  • Serve food and drinks to customers at a counter, at a stand, or in a hotel room
  • Clean assigned work areas, dining tables, or serving counters
  • Replenish and stock service stations, cabinets, and tables
  • Set tables or prepare food trays for new customers

Food and beverage serving and related workers are the front line of customer service in restaurants, cafeterias, and other food service establishments. Depending on the establishment, they take customers’ food and drink orders and serve food and beverages.

Most work as part of a team, helping coworkers to improve workflow and customer service. The job titles of food and beverage serving and related workers vary with where they work and what they do.

The following are examples of types of food and beverage serving and related workers: 

Combined food preparation and serving workers, including fast food, are employed primarily by fast-food restaurants. They take food and beverage orders, prepare or retrieve items when ready, fill cups with beverages, and accept customers’ payments. They also heat food items and make salads and sandwiches.

Counter attendants take orders and serve food over a counter in snack bars, cafeterias, movie theaters, and coffee shops. They fill cups with coffee, soda, and other beverages, and may prepare fountain specialties, such as milkshakes and ice cream sundaes. Counter attendants take carryout orders from diners and wrap or place items in containers. They clean counters, prepare itemized bills, and accept customers’ payments.

Food servers, nonrestaurant, serve food to customers outside of a restaurant environment. Many deliver room service meals in hotels or meals to hospital rooms. Some act as carhops, bringing orders to customers in parked cars.

Dining room and cafeteria attendants and bartender helpers—sometimes collectively referred to as bus staff—help waiters, waitresses, and bartenders by cleaning and setting tables, removing dirty dishes, and keeping serving areas stocked with supplies. They also may help waiters and waitresses by bringing meals out of the kitchen, distributing dishes to diners, filling water glasses, and delivering condiments. Cafeteria attendants stock serving tables with food trays, dishes, and silverware. They sometimes carry trays to dining tables for customers. Bartender helpers keep bar equipment clean and glasses washed. 

Hosts and hostesses greet customers and manage reservation and waiting lists. They may direct customers to coatrooms, restrooms, or a waiting area until their table is ready. Hosts and hostesses assign guests to tables suitable for the size of their group, escort patrons to their seats, and provide menus. They also take reservations over the phone, arrange parties, and help with other customers’ requests.

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How To Become A Dining Room Server

Most food and beverage service jobs are entry-level jobs and do not require a high school diploma. The majority of workers receive short-term on-the-job training.

Most states require workers, such as nonrestaurant servers, who serve alcoholic beverages to be 18 years of age or older.

Education

There are no formal education requirements for becoming a food and beverage serving worker.

Training

Most workers learn their skills through short-term on-the-job training, usually lasting several weeks. Training includes basic customer service, kitchen safety, safe food-handling procedures, and good sanitation habits.

Some employers, particularly those in fast-food restaurants, teach new workers with the use of self-study programs, online programs, audiovisual presentations, or instructional booklets that explain food preparation and service procedures. However, most food and beverage serving and related workers learn their skills by watching and working with more experienced workers.

Some full-service restaurants provide new dining room employees with classroom training sessions that alternate with periods of on-the-job work experience. The training communicates the operating philosophy of the restaurant, helps new employees establish a personal rapport with other staff, teaches employees formal serving techniques, and instills a desire in the staff to work as a team.

Some nonrestaurant servers and bartender helpers who work in establishments where alcohol is served may need training on state and local laws concerning the sale of alcoholic beverages. Some states, counties, and cities mandate such training, which typically lasts a few hours and can be taken online or in-house.

Advancement

Advancement opportunities are limited to those who remain on the job for a long time. However, some dining room and cafeteria attendants and bartender helpers may advance to waiter, waitress, or bartender positions as they learn the basics of serving food or preparing drinks.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Food and beverage serving and related workers must listen carefully to their customers’ orders and relay them correctly to the kitchen staff so that the orders are prepared to the customers’ request.

Customer-service skills. Food service establishments rely on good food and customer service to keep customers and succeed in a competitive industry. As a result, workers should be courteous and be able to attend to customers’ requests.

Physical stamina. Food and beverage serving and related workers spend most of their worktime standing, carrying heavy trays, cleaning work areas, and attending to customers’ needs.

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Dining Room Server jobs

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Dining Room Server Demographics

Gender

Female

62.5%

Male

35.9%

Unknown

1.6%
Ethnicity

White

80.8%

Hispanic or Latino

10.0%

Asian

6.9%

Unknown

1.8%

Black or African American

0.6%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

56.7%

French

12.5%

German

8.7%

Portuguese

2.9%

Chinese

2.9%

Japanese

2.9%

Mandarin

1.9%

Russian

1.9%

Polish

1.9%

Italian

1.9%

Swedish

1.0%

Vietnamese

1.0%

Greek

1.0%

Tagalog

1.0%

Korean

1.0%

Arabic

1.0%
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Dining Room Server Education

Schools

Johnson & Wales University

9.2%

The Community College of Baltimore County

7.0%

University of Phoenix

7.0%

Culinary Institute of America

7.0%

Liberty University

6.3%

Arizona State University

5.6%

Appalachian State University

4.9%

Monroe Community College

4.9%

University of Central Florida

4.9%

Sinclair Community College

4.2%

Pennsylvania State University

4.2%

Erie Community College

4.2%

San Diego State University

4.2%

Onondaga Community College

4.2%

Northern Virginia Community College

4.2%

University of South Florida

3.5%

Ultimate Medical Academy - Clearwater

3.5%

Western Washington University

3.5%

College of DuPage

3.5%

Valencia College

3.5%
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Majors

Business

20.3%

Psychology

8.9%

Nursing

6.2%

Communication

5.9%

Criminal Justice

5.6%

Hospitality Management

5.2%

Health Care Administration

5.0%

General Studies

4.7%

Medical Assisting Services

4.7%

Culinary Arts

4.6%

Biology

4.6%

Liberal Arts

3.7%

Accounting

3.7%

English

2.7%

Social Work

2.6%

Management

2.6%

Food And Nutrition

2.3%

Graphic Design

2.3%

Fine Arts

2.2%

Kinesiology

2.2%
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Degrees

Bachelors

38.7%

Other

35.4%

Associate

13.7%

Masters

6.1%

Certificate

4.3%

Diploma

0.9%

Doctorate

0.6%

License

0.2%
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Real Dining Room Server Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Dining Room Staff The Mayflower Cafe, Inc. Provincetown, MA Apr 15, 2016 $29,114
Dining Room Staff The Mayflower CAFE, Inc. MA Apr 15, 2014 $27,507
Dining Room Staff The Mayflower CAFE, Inc. Provincetown, MA Apr 15, 2015 $25,983
Dining Room Staff The Mayflower CAFE, Inc. MA Apr 15, 2013 $20,870

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Top Skills for A Dining Room Server

KitchenAreaMenuItemsDinnerServiceBeverageOrdersFoodPreparationFoodOrdersBanquetRoomServiceOrdersSpecialEventsCustomerSatisfactionPOSSet-UpResetTablesMealOrdersDrinkOrdersCreditCardCommunicationSkillsRoomAreaCleanTablesCleanLinens

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Top Dining Room Server Skills

  1. Kitchen Area
  2. Menu Items
  3. Dinner Service
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Greet clients *Take orders and enter in computer *Clean and organize work area *Stock waitress station and kitchen area as needed .
  • Present menus to guests and answer questions about menu items, making specific recommendations.
  • Maintained proper customer contact throughout dinner service and provided excellent customer service to ensure a wonderful dining experience.
  • Prepared and delivered guest's beverage orders.
  • Monitored food preparation and safety standards.

Top Dining Room Server Employers

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