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Become A Restaurant Server

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Working As A Restaurant 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

  • $19,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Restaurant 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 Restaurant 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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Restaurant Server Career Paths

Restaurant Server
Warehouse Worker Technician Team Leader
General Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Warehouse Worker Technician Field Service Technician
Service Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Warehouse Worker Technician Consultant
Account Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Office Assistant Executive Assistant Office Manager
Business Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Office Assistant Executive Assistant Assistant Manager
Assistant General Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Office Assistant Consultant Owner
Co-Owner
6 Yearsyrs
Front Desk Agent Executive Assistant Manager
Executive Director
10 Yearsyrs
Front Desk Agent Coordinator Editor
Communications Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Front Desk Agent Specialist Foreman
Business Owner
6 Yearsyrs
Hostess Coach Senior Technician Specialist
Food Service Director
9 Yearsyrs
Home Health Aid Consultant General Manager
Director Of Food And Beverage
9 Yearsyrs
Home Health Aid Administrator Manager
Food And Beverage Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Home Health Aid Administrator General Manager
Area Director
8 Yearsyrs
Assistant Account Executive Area Manager
Area Operations Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Assistant Account Executive Owner/Operator
Food Service Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Security Officer Officer Operations Officer
Chief Of Staff
7 Yearsyrs
Certified Nursing Assistant Patient Care Coordinator Front Office Manager
Catering Sales Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Cook Executive Chef Catering Manager
Director Of Sales And Catering
7 Yearsyrs
Cook Executive Chef Restaurant Manager
Banquet Director
7 Yearsyrs
Certified Nursing Assistant Cosmetologist Business Owner
Entrepreneur
5 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Restaurant Server?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Do you work as a Restaurant Server?

Average Yearly Salary
$19,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$11,000
Min 10%
$19,000
Median 50%
$19,000
Median 50%
$19,000
Median 50%
$19,000
Median 50%
$19,000
Median 50%
$19,000
Median 50%
$19,000
Median 50%
$32,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Bloomingdale's
Highest Paying City
Seattle, WA
Highest Paying State
Hawaii
Avg Experience Level
2.4 years
How much does a Restaurant Server make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Restaurant Server in the United States is $19,304 per year or $9 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $11,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $32,000.

How Would You Rate The Salary Of a Restaurant Server?

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

Top Skills for A Restaurant Server

  1. Menu Items
  2. Customer Service
  3. Beverage Orders
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Assisted customers in recommendations and inquiries regarding specific menu items.
  • Compliment the hotel's customer service experience by providing exceptional restaurant service to primarily hotel guests.
  • Write down and memorize guest food and beverage orders and properly enter orders into the computer for efficient kitchen preparation.
  • Perform food preparation duties such as preparing salads, appetizers, and cold dishes, portioning desserts, and brewing coffee.
  • Familiarized guests with menu items while ensuring an enjoyable dining experience through prompt service and accurate food and drink orders.

Restaurant 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 8,172 Restaurant 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 Restaurant Server Resume

View Resume Examples

Restaurant Server Demographics

Gender

Female

52.5%

Male

34.3%

Unknown

13.2%
Ethnicity

White

60.0%

Hispanic or Latino

17.4%

Black or African American

11.5%

Asian

7.4%

Unknown

3.7%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

52.8%

French

9.5%

Japanese

5.2%

Chinese

4.9%

German

4.9%

Mandarin

3.9%

Russian

3.6%

Cantonese

2.6%

Vietnamese

2.1%

Italian

1.8%

Ukrainian

1.5%

Korean

1.3%

Swedish

0.8%

Bulgarian

0.8%

Thai

0.8%

Greek

0.8%

Tagalog

0.8%

Portuguese

0.8%

Arabic

0.8%

Dutch

0.5%
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Restaurant Server Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

10.8%

University of Central Florida

7.0%

Mississippi State University

6.8%

Pennsylvania State University

5.8%

Arizona State University

5.4%

Northern Virginia Community College

5.4%

The Academy

5.2%

Johnson & Wales University

5.0%

Florida International University

5.0%

Georgia State University

4.8%

Towson University

4.6%

Miami Dade College

4.6%

University of Houston

4.0%

Northern Arizona University

3.8%

Ohio State University

3.8%

University of Colorado at Boulder

3.6%

Valencia College

3.6%

Florida State University

3.6%

Temple University

3.4%

Old Dominion University

3.4%
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Majors

Business

21.3%

Hospitality Management

7.7%

Psychology

7.3%

Communication

6.2%

Nursing

6.0%

Health Care Administration

5.5%

Criminal Justice

5.1%

General Studies

4.1%

Marketing

4.1%

Management

3.8%

Accounting

3.7%

Kinesiology

3.4%

Liberal Arts

3.2%

Biology

3.2%

English

3.1%

Medical Assisting Services

2.7%

Culinary Arts

2.6%

Finance

2.5%

Sociology

2.5%

Political Science

2.2%
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Degrees

Bachelors

45.1%

Other

29.1%

Associate

13.0%

Masters

5.8%

Certificate

4.1%

Diploma

1.7%

Doctorate

0.6%

License

0.6%
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How Would You Rate Working As a Restaurant Server?

Are you working as a Restaurant Server? Help us rate Restaurant Server as a Career.

Top Restaurant Server Employers

Jobs From Top Restaurant Server Employers

Restaurant Server Videos

Server (fine dining), Career Video from drkit.org

National Waiters Day: A day in the life of a maître d' with Paulo de Tarso

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