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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

  • $26,647

    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 Jobs

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Restaurant Server Career Paths

Restaurant Server
Front Desk Agent Night Auditor General Manager
Account Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Front Desk Agent Front Office Manager General Manager
Area Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Warehouse Worker Security Officer Night Auditor
Assistant General Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Home Health Aid Technician Service Manager
Branch Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Office Manager Account Manager Account Executive
Business Development Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Warehouse Worker Technician Operations Manager
Business Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Crew Member Home Health Aid Front Desk Agent
Catering Sales Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Restaurant Supervisor Food And Beverage Manager Assistant Director
Communications Director
7 Yearsyrs
Hostess Office Manager Property Manager
Communications Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Banquet Captain Assistant Banquet Manager Banquet Manager
Director Of Food And Beverage
9 Yearsyrs
General Manager Multi-Unit Manager Kitchen Manager
FOH Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Restaurant Supervisor Restaurant Manager
Food And Beverage Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Banquet Captain Banquet Manager General Manager
Food Service Director
9 Yearsyrs
General Manager Business Owner Chef
Food Service Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Restaurant Manager Food And Beverage Manager
General Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Restaurant Manager General Manager
Operations Director
9 Yearsyrs
Crew Member Merchandiser
Sales/Marketing
5 Yearsyrs
Home Health Aid Security Officer Technician
Service Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Office Manager General Manager Account Executive
Territory Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Hostess Instructor Trainer
Training Manager
5 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Restaurant Server?

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Do you work as a Restaurant Server?

Restaurant Server Demographics

Gender

Female

60.3%

Male

37.2%

Unknown

2.6%
Ethnicity

White

58.9%

Hispanic or Latino

18.3%

Black or African American

10.9%

Asian

8.3%

Unknown

3.6%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

51.1%

French

11.7%

German

5.6%

Japanese

5.2%

Mandarin

4.3%

Chinese

4.3%

Russian

3.5%

Vietnamese

1.7%

Korean

1.7%

Italian

1.7%

Cantonese

1.7%

Ukrainian

1.3%

Greek

1.3%

Portuguese

1.3%

Swedish

0.9%

Polish

0.9%

Swahili

0.4%

Romanian

0.4%

Hmong

0.4%

Hawaiian

0.4%
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Restaurant Server Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

8.7%

Northern Virginia Community College

6.9%

University of Central Florida

6.5%

Mississippi State University

6.5%

Auburn University

6.1%

Northern Arizona University

5.2%

San Francisco State University

5.2%

Towson University

5.2%

Johnson & Wales University

4.8%

Michigan State University

4.3%

Valencia College

4.3%

Middle Tennessee State University

4.3%

University of Central Oklahoma

4.3%

Florida International University

4.3%

University of Vermont

3.9%

West Virginia University

3.9%

Old Dominion University

3.9%

Miami Dade College

3.9%

Kennesaw State University

3.9%

Florida Atlantic University

3.9%
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Majors

Business

21.9%

Psychology

8.7%

Hospitality Management

6.8%

Criminal Justice

5.7%

Communication

5.4%

Nursing

4.8%

Health Care Administration

4.6%

Marketing

4.3%

General Studies

3.9%

English

3.7%

Liberal Arts

3.5%

Biology

3.5%

Kinesiology

3.4%

Management

3.3%

Accounting

3.3%

Education

3.0%

Sociology

2.8%

Political Science

2.6%

Medical Assisting Services

2.5%

Finance

2.3%
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Degrees

Bachelors

45.7%

Other

29.4%

Associate

11.0%

Masters

6.6%

Certificate

4.5%

Diploma

1.5%

Doctorate

0.7%

License

0.5%
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Top Skills for A Restaurant Server

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  1. Customer Service
  2. Alcoholic Beverages
  3. Seasonal Menu Items
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Resolved general customer service concerns through effective customer service techniques.
  • Provided fast-paced cocktail service requiring significant knowledge of alcoholic beverages and wines during specialty events and happy hour.
  • Provide great customer service-Processing payments-Opening and closing establishment- Understand food safety regulations- Serve private party and events
  • Take food orders and relay orders to kitchens or serving counters so they can be filled.
  • Inquired about guest satisfaction, anticipated additional needs and happily fulfilled requests.

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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