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Become A Lead Server

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Working As A Lead 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

  • $119,964

    Average Salary

What Does A Lead 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 Lead 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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Lead Server Jobs

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Lead Server Career Paths

Lead Server
Front Of House Manager Restaurant Manager Director Of Food And Beverage
Assistant General Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Office Manager Operations Manager
Branch Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Assistant General Manager Operations Manager General Manager
Business Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Personal Assistant Merchandiser Front Desk Agent
Catering Sales Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Shift Manager Sales Manager Property Manager
Communications Director
7 Yearsyrs
Office Manager Property Manager
Communications Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Bar Manager Restaurant Manager Food And Beverage Manager
Director Of Food And Beverage
9 Yearsyrs
Restaurant Manager General Manager
District Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Service Manager Finance Manager Chief Finance Officer
Entrepreneur
5 Yearsyrs
Dining Room Manager Bar Manager
FOH Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Front Of House Manager Kitchen Manager Executive Chef
Food And Beverage Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Assistant General Manager General Manager
Food Service Director
9 Yearsyrs
Personal Assistant Chef Executive Chef
Food Service Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Restaurant Manager Food And Beverage Manager
General Manager
7 Yearsyrs
General Manager Account Manager Operations Manager
Operations Director
9 Yearsyrs
General Manager District Manager
Regional Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Shift Manager Account Manager Account Executive
Sales/Marketing
5 Yearsyrs
Bar Manager Office Manager Technician
Service Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Hostess Office Manager Operations Manager
Site Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Hostess Instructor Trainer
Training Manager
5 Yearsyrs
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Lead Server Demographics

Gender

Female

62.9%

Male

35.5%

Unknown

1.6%
Ethnicity

White

61.6%

Hispanic or Latino

16.9%

Black or African American

10.4%

Asian

7.3%

Unknown

3.7%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

65.6%

French

6.0%

Italian

4.3%

German

4.0%

Chinese

3.0%

Mandarin

2.3%

Korean

2.3%

Portuguese

2.3%

Cantonese

1.7%

Japanese

1.3%

Swedish

1.0%

Vietnamese

1.0%

Dutch

1.0%

Russian

1.0%

Cherokee

0.7%

Albanian

0.7%

Carrier

0.7%

Arabic

0.7%

Hmong

0.3%

Cheyenne

0.3%
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Lead Server Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

15.3%

University of Central Florida

9.7%

Arizona State University

5.8%

San Diego State University

5.3%

Boise State University

5.1%

University of Arizona

5.1%

University of South Florida

4.4%

Kennesaw State University

4.2%

Orange Coast College

4.2%

Florida State University

4.2%

California State University - Fullerton

4.0%

Michigan State University

4.0%

Southern New Hampshire University

3.8%

Texas State University

3.8%

San Francisco State University

3.5%

Virginia Commonwealth University

3.5%

University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

3.5%

California State University - San Marcos

3.5%

University of North Texas

3.5%

Northern Virginia Community College

3.5%
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Majors

Business

25.2%

Psychology

9.4%

Communication

7.3%

Criminal Justice

4.8%

Health Care Administration

4.7%

Nursing

4.6%

Hospitality Management

4.6%

Marketing

4.2%

Management

4.0%

Biology

3.6%

Accounting

3.4%

General Studies

3.1%

Culinary Arts

2.9%

Liberal Arts

2.9%

Computer Science

2.8%

Education

2.6%

Medical Assisting Services

2.6%

English

2.6%

Fine Arts

2.3%

Political Science

2.3%
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Degrees

Bachelors

43.6%

Other

29.4%

Associate

15.0%

Masters

6.3%

Certificate

3.5%

Diploma

1.1%

Doctorate

0.6%

License

0.5%
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Real Lead Server Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Lead Server Engineer Kabam, Inc. San Francisco, CA Dec 01, 2014 $160,000
Lead Server Engineer Legend Gaming, Inc. San Francisco, CA Sep 04, 2015 $139,000
Senior Software Development Lead-Server & Tools-BG-Bizdev or Other Microsoft Corporation Redmond, WA Sep 24, 2015 $137,622 -
$157,622
Senior Software Development Lead-Server & Tools-BG-Bizdev or Other Microsoft Corporation Redmond, WA Dec 02, 2014 $137,622 -
$157,622
Lead Server Developer Asurion San Mateo, CA Feb 04, 2015 $134,111
Lead Server Engineer-Games Ngmoco, LLC San Francisco, CA Apr 15, 2013 $120,000
Lead Server Engineer Ngmoco, LLC San Francisco, CA Sep 01, 2014 $120,000
Lead Server Developer Asurion, LLC San Mateo, CA Mar 20, 2014 $115,000

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Top Skills for A Lead Server

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  1. Customer Service
  2. New Servers
  3. Menu Items
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Provided superior customer service while ensuring brand integrity from food aesthetics and beverage pairings to delivery.
  • Selected as store's lead trainer; trained all new servers on menu items and company's customer service point standard.
  • Responded to customer questions regarding menu items and dining experience.
  • Prepared both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages using correct techniques, liquid measurements and garnishes.
  • Received on the job training regarding food safety, food service regulations, and proper sanitation and health practices.

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Top 10 Best States for Lead Servers

  1. Hawaii
  2. Arizona
  3. Vermont
  4. Nevada
  5. New York
  6. Washington
  7. West Virginia
  8. New Jersey
  9. Massachusetts
  10. Pennsylvania
  • (95 jobs)
  • (549 jobs)
  • (37 jobs)
  • (332 jobs)
  • (721 jobs)
  • (375 jobs)
  • (143 jobs)
  • (551 jobs)
  • (494 jobs)
  • (925 jobs)

Top Lead Server Employers

Jobs From Top Lead Server Employers

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