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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

  • $26,000

    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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Average Length of Employment
Fine Dining Server 2.5 years
Food Server 2.4 years
Restaurant Server 2.4 years
Banquet Server 2.3 years
Waitstaff 2.2 years
Caterer/Server 2.1 years
Room Server 2.0 years
Dining Room Server 2.0 years
Server 1.9 years
Dining Room Busser 1.7 years
Dining Room Host 1.7 years
Dining Car Server 1.7 years
Bar Attendant 1.5 years
Server/Barista 1.4 years
Top Careers Before Dining Room Server
Server 15.2%
Cashier 14.0%
Internship 6.0%
Hostess 5.2%
Volunteer 4.6%
Waitress 4.2%
Manager 2.4%
Bartender 2.3%
Top Careers After Dining Room Server
Server 16.5%
Cashier 11.6%
Internship 4.0%
Bartender 3.7%
Hostess 3.2%
Volunteer 3.0%
Manager 2.8%
Waitress 2.7%
Supervisor 2.5%
Nanny 2.4%

Do you work as a Dining Room Server?

Average Yearly Salary
$26,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$16,000
Min 10%
$26,000
Median 50%
$26,000
Median 50%
$26,000
Median 50%
$26,000
Median 50%
$26,000
Median 50%
$26,000
Median 50%
$26,000
Median 50%
$44,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill
Highest Paying City
Boston, MA
Highest Paying State
Hawaii
Avg Experience Level
2.1 years
How much does a Dining Room Server make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Dining Room Server in the United States is $26,953 per year or $13 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $16,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $44,000.

How Would You Rate The Salary Of a Dining Room Server?

Have you worked as a Dining Room Server? Help other job seekers by rating your experience as a Dining Room Server.

Top Skills for A Dining Room Server

  1. Meal Trays
  2. Customer Service
  3. Menu Items
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Provided knowledgeable and timely customer service; diagnosed problem resolutions by responding to customer concerns and inquiries.
  • Provided information and offered recommendations for menu items and drink options.
  • Maintain cleanliness of both dining and kitchen areas.
  • Performed food preparation in a sanitary environment.
  • Take guest food and/or beverage orders and input orders in appropriate point-of-sale system.

Dining Room 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 3,138 Dining Room 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 Dining Room Server Resume

View Resume Examples

Dining Room Server Demographics

Gender

Female

57.2%

Male

30.3%

Unknown

12.5%
Ethnicity

White

64.3%

Hispanic or Latino

14.5%

Black or African American

11.0%

Asian

6.3%

Unknown

3.9%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

59.6%

French

8.3%

German

7.3%

Russian

3.7%

Chinese

2.8%

Arabic

2.8%

Italian

2.8%

Swedish

1.8%

Portuguese

1.8%

Japanese

1.8%

Mandarin

1.8%

Vietnamese

0.9%

Ukrainian

0.9%

Greek

0.9%

Cantonese

0.9%

Amharic

0.9%

Korean

0.9%
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Dining Room Server Education

Schools

Arizona State University

7.5%

Pennsylvania State University

7.5%

Johnson & Wales University

6.5%

University of Phoenix

6.5%

Ohio State University

6.0%

Monroe Community College

5.5%

The Community College of Baltimore County

5.5%

Glendale Community College

5.0%

Liberty University

5.0%

San Diego State University

4.5%

Sinclair Community College

4.5%

Rowan University

4.5%

Michigan State University

4.0%

The Academy

4.0%

University of Washington

4.0%

University of Central Florida

4.0%

Broward College

4.0%

West Chester University of Pennsylvania

4.0%

University of Arizona

4.0%

Palm Beach State College

3.5%
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Majors

Business

18.7%

Psychology

9.3%

Nursing

7.7%

Criminal Justice

6.3%

Medical Assisting Services

6.2%

Communication

5.3%

Health Care Administration

5.0%

Hospitality Management

4.6%

Liberal Arts

4.6%

Biology

4.6%

General Studies

4.5%

Accounting

3.9%

Culinary Arts

3.3%

Management

3.2%

Kinesiology

2.3%

English

2.2%

Marketing

2.2%

Social Work

2.1%

Education

2.1%

Graphic Design

2.0%
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Degrees

Bachelors

40.1%

Other

33.1%

Associate

14.9%

Masters

5.1%

Certificate

4.5%

Diploma

1.4%

Doctorate

0.5%

License

0.4%
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