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Become A Sommelier

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Working As A Sommelier

  • 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

  • $25,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Sommelier 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 Sommelier

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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Do you work as a Sommelier?

Average Yearly Salary
$25,000
Show Salaries
$22,000
Min 10%
$25,000
Median 50%
$25,000
Median 50%
$25,000
Median 50%
$25,000
Median 50%
$25,000
Median 50%
$25,000
Median 50%
$25,000
Median 50%
$28,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
The Howard Hughes
Highest Paying City
New York, NY
Highest Paying State
New York
Avg Experience Level
2.9 years
How much does a Sommelier make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Sommelier in the United States is $25,177 per year or $12 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $22,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $28,000.

Real Sommelier Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Sommelier Via Alloro Inc. D/B/A Angelina's Ristorante New York, NY Aug 19, 2016 $93,309
Sommelier Sofia Wine Bar & CAFE New York, NY Jul 14, 2015 $70,000
Sommelier Via Alloro Inc. D/B/A Angelina's Ristorante New York, NY Dec 15, 2014 $66,290
Sommelier Le Petit Paris, LLC Breckenridge, CO Sep 01, 2015 $57,810
Sommelier Maverick Wine Marketing, Inc. Carson City, NV Oct 01, 2011 $36,837

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Top Skills for A Sommelier

  1. Wine List
  2. Wine Menu
  3. Wine Cellar
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Created wine lists and predicted price fluctuations, maintaining prices and revenue stable even during price increases in the wine industry.
  • Developed wine menus for the Masters Tournament, all Club events, and private functions.
  • Maintained successful and well known wine cellar, bar concept and beverage program featured in local and national industry standard publications.
  • Support outlet managers with staff training, opening and closing duties, and on-the-floor management support to 32 staff.
  • Provided excellent customer service to maximize revenue and ensure customer loyalty and return.

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Average Salary:

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Top 10 Best States for Sommeliers

  1. New York
  2. Alaska
  3. Massachusetts
  4. Connecticut
  5. District of Columbia
  6. New Jersey
  7. Florida
  8. Pennsylvania
  9. Rhode Island
  10. Delaware
  • (9 jobs)
  • (2 jobs)
  • (5 jobs)
  • (0 jobs)
  • (6 jobs)
  • (1 jobs)
  • (9 jobs)
  • (1 jobs)
  • (0 jobs)
  • (0 jobs)

Sommelier Demographics

Gender

Male

56.4%

Female

27.1%

Unknown

16.4%
Ethnicity

White

60.2%

Hispanic or Latino

18.1%

Black or African American

10.8%

Asian

7.0%

Unknown

4.0%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

44.4%

French

14.8%

Italian

9.3%

Russian

7.4%

Chinese

5.6%

Mandarin

5.6%

Portuguese

3.7%

German

3.7%

Hebrew

1.9%

Arabic

1.9%

Kazakh

1.9%
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Sommelier Education

Schools

Culinary Institute of America

9.8%

University of Houston

8.8%

University of Nevada - Las Vegas

8.8%

Johnson & Wales University

6.9%

The Academy

6.9%

University of Arizona

5.9%

University of Central Florida

4.9%

Western Washington University

4.9%

Florida International University

4.9%

Cornell University

4.9%

San Diego State University

3.9%

Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts

3.9%

Northwestern University

3.9%

Culinary Tech Center

3.9%

Central Washington University

2.9%

University of Florida

2.9%

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

2.9%

Arizona State University

2.9%

University of South Florida

2.9%

California State Polytechnic University - Pomona

2.9%
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Majors

Business

24.8%

Hospitality Management

12.4%

Management

6.8%

Culinary Arts

5.9%

Health Care Administration

5.6%

Psychology

5.0%

Education

4.0%

Communication

4.0%

Computer Science

3.7%

Liberal Arts

3.4%

English

3.1%

Political Science

3.1%

Fine Arts

2.5%

Photography

2.5%

History

2.5%

Marketing

2.5%

Food And Nutrition

2.2%

Finance

2.2%

Environmental Science

1.9%

Economics

1.9%
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Degrees

Bachelors

44.9%

Other

26.4%

Associate

10.8%

Masters

10.5%

Certificate

4.6%

Diploma

1.5%

Doctorate

1.3%
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