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Become A Food And Beverage Server

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Working As A Food And Beverage 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

  • $20,850

    Average Salary

What Does A Food And Beverage 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.


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 Food And Beverage 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.


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


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 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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Food And Beverage Server jobs

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Real Food And Beverage Server Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Food and Beverage Executive Amber India Commercial, Inc. Mountain View, CA Sep 08, 2015 $55,000
Food and Beverage Servers Woodstock Resort Corporation Woodstock, VT Jan 01, 1970 $29,990
Food & Beverage Worker Killington Pico Ski Resort Partners, LLC VT Nov 01, 2013 $28,175
Food & Beverage Server Lumiere Hotel Group Management Telluride, CO Jan 06, 2015 $25,044
Food & Beverage Server Lumiere Hotel Group Management Telluride, CO May 20, 2015 $25,044
Food & Beverage Server Lumiere Hotel Group Management Telluride, CO Dec 01, 2014 $25,044
Host and Food and Beverage Server Saffron Group, Inc. Key Biscayne, FL Jan 01, 1970 $24,251
Host and Food and Beverage Server Ayesha Fine Dining, Inc. Miami, FL Jan 01, 1970 $24,251
Host and Food and Beverage Server Ayesha Fine Dining, Inc. Miami, FL Jan 01, 1970 $23,604
Food and Beverage Servers Ocean Reef Club, Inc. Key Largo, FL Nov 15, 2014 $21,788
Food & Beverage Workers Wintergreen Pacific LLC Wintergreen, VA May 15, 2015 $18,950

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Top Skills for A Food And Beverage Server


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Top Food And Beverage Server Skills

  1. Customer Service Skills
  2. Safety
  3. Banquet Events
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Demonstrated mastery of customer service skills in an independent senior living environment.
  • Practiced proper safety and sanitation standards during food preparation and service.
  • Served tables, assisted with banquet events
  • Service quick prep food and beverage, tender money, run money back and forth to cage, was over night
  • Maintained familiarity with menu items and specials to answer customer questions about food and beverage options and food allergy accommodations.