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What is a Waitress

Waitresses take food and beverage orders, typically in dining establishments. You don't need a lot of formal education to be a waitress, but you'll receive some on-the-job training. If you want to secure a lot of tips, you may want to brush up on your customer service.

Some waitresses depend on a notepad to make sure the orders come out right, fewer waitresses are able to memorize everyone's order. Even if the waitresses jotted down or memorized the order perfectly if there is a mistake with the food, they're the first to blame.

As a waitress, you'll probably have to deal with a lot of "hangry" people but, hopefully, once they've eaten, they'll be in a much better mood and leave a nice tip. There will undoubtedly be times that you have to deal with difficult customers, it's those days that make this job stressful.

What Does a Waitress Do

Waiters and waitresses take orders and serve food and beverages to customers in dining establishments.

Learn more about what a Waitress does

How To Become a Waitress

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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And if you’re looking for a job, here are the five top employers hiring now:

  1. Ruby Tuesday Jobs (1,290)
  2. Cracker Barrel Jobs (2,033)
  3. Perkins Restaurant & Bakery Jobs (619)
  4. Platinum Corral Jobs (742)
  5. IHOP Jobs (3,459)
Average Salary
$22,128
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
6%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
93,971
Job Openings
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Waitress Career Paths

Top Careers Before Waitress

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Waitress Jobs You Might Like

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Average Salary for a Waitress

Waitresses in America make an average salary of $22,128 per year or $11 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $29,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $16,000 per year.
Average Salary
$22,128
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12 Waitress Resume Examples

Learn How To Write a Waitress Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Waitress resumes and compiled some information about how to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

View Waitress Resume Examples And Templates

And if you’re looking for a job, here are the five top employers hiring now:

  1. Ruby Tuesday Jobs (1,290)
  2. Cracker Barrel Jobs (2,033)
  3. Perkins Restaurant & Bakery Jobs (619)
  4. Platinum Corral Jobs (742)
  5. IHOP Jobs (3,459)

Choose From 10+ Customizable Waitress Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Waitress templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Waitress resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

Waitress Resume
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Waitress Resume
Waitress Resume
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Waitress Resume
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Waitress Demographics

Waitress Gender Distribution

Male
Male
20%
Female
Female
80%

After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among Waitresses, 80.1% of them are women, while 19.9% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among Waitresses is White, which makes up 58.7% of all Waitresses.

  • The most common foreign language among Waitresses is Spanish at 62.0%.

Job Openings

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Waitress Education

Waitress Majors

17.5 %
8.2 %

Waitress Degrees

High School Diploma

36.4 %

Bachelors

32.8 %

Associate

17.9 %
Job Openings

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Online Courses For Waitress That You May Like

SAP Customer Service (CS/SM) - Service Management module
udemy
4.4
(551)

Real World SAP CS and SD, Repair Orders, Service Orders, Service Contracts...

Customer Service Mastery: Delight Every Customer
udemy
4.6
(11,073)

Master Customer Service using this practical customer care course...

The Semantics of First-Order Logic
edX (Global)

The focus of this class is on the language of first-order logic , a formally defined language that allows us to make precise and unambiguous statements about any subject of interest. Using the language of first-order logic we will investigate many foundational topics in logic. We will address such questions as what counts as a grammatical expression, and the circumstances under which it makes a claim about the world (whether it can be considered true or false, E.g. “the sky is brown”, as...

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Full Time
Part Time
Internship
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Top Skills For a Waitress

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 19.3% of Waitresses listed Food Preparation on their resume, but soft skills such as Communication skills and Customer-service skills are important as well.

  • Food Preparation, 19.3%
  • Customer Service, 6.9%
  • Customer Orders, 6.2%
  • POS, 5.6%
  • Communication, 5.5%
  • Other Skills, 56.5%

Best States For a Waitress

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a Waitress. The best states for people in this position are Hawaii, New York, Massachusetts, and Vermont. Waitresses make the most in Hawaii with an average salary of $39,530. Whereas in New York and Massachusetts, they would average $35,405 and $31,808, respectively. While Waitresses would only make an average of $29,527 in Vermont, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Arizona

Total Waitress Jobs:
1,141
Highest 10% Earn:
$35,000
Location Quotient:
1.37
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. New York

Total Waitress Jobs:
1,476
Highest 10% Earn:
$49,000
Location Quotient:
0.81
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. West Virginia

Total Waitress Jobs:
242
Highest 10% Earn:
$32,000
Location Quotient:
1.12
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
Full List Of Best States For Waitresses

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Becoming a Waitress FAQs

How long does it take to become a Waitress?

It takes one year or less to become a waitress. That is the time it takes to learn specific waitress skills, but does not account for time spent in formal education.

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