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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

  • $64,000

    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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Average Yearly Salary
$64,000
Show Salaries
$31,000
Min 10%
$64,000
Median 50%
$64,000
Median 50%
$64,000
Median 50%
$64,000
Median 50%
$64,000
Median 50%
$64,000
Median 50%
$64,000
Median 50%
$129,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Thomson Reuters
Highest Paying City
North Bergen, NJ
Highest Paying State
New York
Avg Experience Level
3.0 years
How much does a Lead Server make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Lead Server in the United States is $64,331 per year or $31 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $31,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $129,000.

Top Skills for A Lead Server

  1. Customer Service
  2. Beverage Orders
  3. Food Preparation
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Praised for quality and timeliness of Manager reports, attention to detail, exemplary customer service delivery and team-player attitude.
  • Receive food and beverage orders and deliver accordingly while utilizing proper service techniques.
  • Operated computer/cash register, assisted kitchen staff with food preparation; performed duties as supervisor when necessary.
  • Assist management with shift/Trained new servers to assure proficiency with menu items/Implemented how to use equipment and utilize
  • Informed patrons of restaurant and seasonal specials; memorized current menu items, garnishes, ingredients and preparation methods.

Rank:

Average Salary:

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Top 10 Best States for Lead Servers

  1. West Virginia
  2. Iowa
  3. Indiana
  4. Ohio
  5. Illinois
  6. Kentucky
  7. Kansas
  8. Delaware
  9. Pennsylvania
  10. New York
  • (143 jobs)
  • (336 jobs)
  • (607 jobs)
  • (893 jobs)
  • (891 jobs)
  • (361 jobs)
  • (209 jobs)
  • (90 jobs)
  • (925 jobs)
  • (721 jobs)

Lead 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 15,107 Lead 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 Lead Server Resume

View Resume Examples

Lead Server Demographics

Gender

Female

56.4%

Male

33.3%

Unknown

10.4%
Ethnicity

White

62.5%

Hispanic or Latino

16.3%

Black or African American

10.9%

Asian

6.7%

Unknown

3.7%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

65.3%

French

6.5%

Portuguese

3.2%

German

3.2%

Mandarin

3.0%

Italian

3.0%

Chinese

2.6%

Korean

2.0%

Japanese

1.8%

Cantonese

1.8%

Russian

1.4%

Arabic

1.4%

Vietnamese

1.0%

Swedish

0.8%

Dutch

0.6%

Tagalog

0.6%

Cherokee

0.4%

Albanian

0.4%

Carrier

0.4%

Hmong

0.2%
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Lead Server Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

15.9%

University of Central Florida

8.5%

Arizona State University

8.0%

Valencia College

4.9%

San Diego State University

4.9%

Ohio State University

4.8%

University of South Florida

4.5%

Johnson & Wales University

4.3%

California State University - Fullerton

4.1%

University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

4.0%

University of Nevada - Las Vegas

3.8%

University of Arizona

3.8%

University of North Texas

3.7%

San Francisco State University

3.6%

Kennesaw State University

3.6%

College of Southern Nevada

3.6%

University of Washington

3.6%

Texas State University

3.6%

Georgia State University

3.6%

Florida State University

3.5%
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Majors

Business

24.5%

Psychology

9.2%

Communication

6.7%

Criminal Justice

5.1%

Nursing

5.1%

Hospitality Management

4.9%

Health Care Administration

4.9%

General Studies

4.1%

Marketing

3.8%

Management

3.6%

Accounting

3.5%

Biology

3.2%

Culinary Arts

3.1%

Liberal Arts

3.1%

Medical Assisting Services

3.0%

Education

2.6%

English

2.5%

Political Science

2.5%

Graphic Design

2.4%

Computer Science

2.2%
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Degrees

Bachelors

43.2%

Other

28.9%

Associate

16.1%

Masters

5.5%

Certificate

3.6%

Diploma

1.4%

License

0.7%

Doctorate

0.5%
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Updated May 19, 2020