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Become A Server

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Working As A 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

  • $16,000

    Average Salary

What Does A 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 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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Server Demographics

Gender

Female

63.3%

Male

27.6%

Unknown

9.1%
Ethnicity

White

62.8%

Hispanic or Latino

16.0%

Black or African American

11.6%

Asian

6.2%

Unknown

3.4%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

64.0%

French

8.9%

German

3.3%

Italian

2.7%

Portuguese

2.5%

Chinese

2.5%

Russian

2.4%

Japanese

2.2%

Mandarin

2.2%

Korean

1.6%

Arabic

1.6%

Vietnamese

1.1%

Cantonese

0.9%

Polish

0.8%

Greek

0.7%

Tagalog

0.6%

Hindi

0.6%

Thai

0.5%

Swedish

0.5%

Hebrew

0.3%
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Server Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

11.2%

University of Central Florida

7.3%

The Academy

6.7%

Arizona State University

6.5%

University of South Florida

5.0%

Valencia College

5.0%

Pennsylvania State University

4.8%

Georgia State University

4.6%

Florida State University

4.6%

University of North Texas

4.5%

Texas State University

4.5%

Kaplan University

4.2%

Temple University

4.2%

Michigan State University

4.1%

Northern Virginia Community College

4.0%

Ohio State University

3.9%

Miami Dade College

3.7%

Kent State University

3.7%

Johnson & Wales University

3.7%

Virginia Commonwealth University

3.7%
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Majors

Business

18.9%

Psychology

9.6%

Nursing

8.5%

Criminal Justice

6.8%

Communication

6.3%

Medical Assisting Services

5.2%

General Studies

4.9%

Health Care Administration

4.3%

Biology

3.9%

Accounting

3.8%

Marketing

3.5%

Liberal Arts

3.2%

Cosmetology

3.2%

Kinesiology

2.9%

English

2.9%

Hospitality Management

2.7%

Management

2.5%

Education

2.5%

Graphic Design

2.3%

Political Science

2.3%
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Degrees

Bachelors

40.2%

Other

34.8%

Associate

14.1%

Masters

4.0%

Certificate

4.0%

Diploma

1.7%

License

0.8%

Doctorate

0.4%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$16,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$11,000
Min 10%
$16,000
Median 50%
$16,000
Median 50%
$16,000
Median 50%
$16,000
Median 50%
$16,000
Median 50%
$16,000
Median 50%
$16,000
Median 50%
$23,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Kalispell Regional Healthcare
Highest Paying City
Seattle, WA
Highest Paying State
Alaska
Avg Experience Level
1.9 years
How much does a Server make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Server in the United States is $16,593 per year or $8 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $11,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $23,000.

Real Server Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Servers New RH, LLC. Friday Harbor, WA May 05, 2016 $37,670
Server The Twineagles Club LLC Naples, FL Oct 15, 2016 $31,305
Server The Twineagles Club LLC Naples, FL Oct 15, 2015 $31,305
Server 2 Hermitage Club LLC Dover, VT Dec 04, 2016 $30,387
Server Hermitage Club LLC Dover, VT Nov 15, 2015 $29,990
Server Nantucket Hotel Holdings LLC Nantucket, MA Apr 18, 2016 $29,114
Server The Westmoor Club Nantucket, MA May 15, 2016 $29,114
Server Great Harbor Yacht Club, Inc. Nantucket, MA May 25, 2016 $29,114
Server Steamboat Wharf of Provincetown, Inc. Provincetown, MA May 01, 2016 $29,114
Server Island Holdings LLC Edgartown, MA Apr 07, 2016 $29,114
Server Pine Brook Country Club Weston, MA May 01, 2016 $28,968
Asian Restaurant Host Alley Pond House, Corp. NY May 13, 2016 $27,997
Server The Players Club & Spa, LLC Naples, FL Nov 01, 2016 $27,507
Server Imperial Golf Club, Inc. Naples, FL Nov 01, 2016 $27,507
Server Glen Oaks Club, Inc. Old Westbury, NY May 01, 2015 $24,794
Server The Muttontown Club East Norwich, NY May 01, 2015 $24,794
Server Sebonack Golf Club LLC Southampton, NY May 01, 2015 $24,794
Server Hunters Run Property Owners Association, Inc. Boynton Beach, FL Oct 01, 2016 $24,794
Server Granlibakken Resort Sunnyside-Tahoe City, CA May 01, 2016 $24,606
Server Sebonack Golf Club LLC Southampton, NY May 01, 2016 $24,001
Servers Eastward Ho! Country Club, Inc. Chatham, MA May 15, 2016 $23,813
Servers Ocean Edge Resort Limited Partnership Brewster, MA May 01, 2016 $23,813
Server Ocean Reef Club, Inc. Key Largo, FL Nov 01, 2016 $22,853
Server Sailfish Point Property Owners and Country Club Association, Inc. Stuart, FL Oct 01, 2016 $22,435
Server Sailfish Point Property Owners and Country Club Association, Inc. Stuart, FL Oct 01, 2015 $22,435
Server Green Valley Country Club Lafayette, PA May 01, 2015 $22,373
Server Brothers Property Management Corp Whitefield, NH May 01, 2016 $22,268
Server Anglers Club Members Association, Inc. Key Largo, FL Oct 26, 2016 $22,247
Server Northwood Hospitality, LLC Islamorada Village of Islands, FL Dec 29, 2015 $22,247
Server Lake Shore Country Club Glencoe, IL May 01, 2015 $21,914

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Top Skills for A Server

  1. Customer Service
  2. Menu Items
  3. Food Safety
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Maintained high standards of customer service during high-volume, fast-paced operations.
  • Suggested of menu items to corporate specifications.
  • Maintained professional service standards and adhered to all food safety regulations while performing daily duties.
  • Developed and maintained positive working relationships with others to reach business goals.
  • Worked with BOH/FOH and Bar team to ensure guest satisfaction for the VIP events and soft openings until Grand Opening roll-out.

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Top 10 Best States for Servers

  1. Hawaii
  2. Arizona
  3. Nevada
  4. Pennsylvania
  5. Texas
  6. West Virginia
  7. Vermont
  8. Washington
  9. Rhode Island
  10. District of Columbia
  • (137 jobs)
  • (746 jobs)
  • (433 jobs)
  • (1,299 jobs)
  • (2,575 jobs)
  • (205 jobs)
  • (47 jobs)
  • (656 jobs)
  • (87 jobs)
  • (152 jobs)

Top Server Employers

Jobs From Top Server Employers

Server Videos

A day in the life of a server

How To Be A More Successful Server (Pt. 1)

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

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