Lead Waiter Job Description, Key Duties and Responsibilities

By | June 3, 2024
Lead Waiter Job Description
Lead waiters play a central role in making sure restaurants, hotels, banquet halls and other dining establishments operate smoothly and provide excellent customer service.

This blog provides detailed information on the lead waiter job description, including the key duties, tasks, and responsibilities they usually perform.

It also highlights the major requirements that most employers/recruiters would want you to meet to be hired for the lead waiter role.

What Does The Lead Waiter Do?

A lead waiter is in charge of overseeing and coordinating the activities of a team of waiters/waitresses in the establishment, making sure of efficient service and high levels of customer satisfaction.

They play a liaison role between kitchen staff, the waiters, and management, fixing any concern during service.

The lead waiter job description includes duties such as managing the wait staff, promoting swift and polite service, resolving issues, maintaining a clean and organized environment and monitoring inventory levels.

It may also involve training staff, helping with inventory management, creating and updating staff schedules, and adhering to health and safety regulatory standards.

Lead waiters report to floor manager, restaurant manager or head of the food and beverage department, it all depends on the size and structure of the establishment.

According to northcote, the head waiter who is also called lead waiter’s duties involves overseeing and ensuring that high quality service is given to guests by the front of service team.

Lead waiters are demanded in different work places, including catering companies, crew ships, hotels, banquet halls and casual dining places.

To work as a lead waiter, a formal education is not always required, many employers want applicants with a high school diploma or its equivalent.

On-the-job training and experience is a must-have. Furthermore, some entities may want a candidate with certifications in food safety, alcohol service or customer service.

The place of the lead waiter is an essential one in the hospitality industry around the world.

Countries that boast of a vibrant tourism sector show a strong demand for the lead waiter as they help deliver on the reputation of an establishment and ensure guests get an unforgettable experience.

Employers usually look for lead waiters with impeccable communication and leadership skills, problem solving aptitude, attention to details, and deep understanding of customer service tenets.

According to document on Amazon Web Services, to improve the chances of a lead waiter gaining employment, they must also show expertise in basic food service techniques, including memorizing orders, properly carrying food trays, and opening of wine at the table.

Experience in a supervisory position within the food service industry is valuable.

There are no specific local or national regulatory agencies for lead waiters, however industry standards and guidelines put forward by bodies such as the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) and the National Restaurant Association (NRA) are commonly adhered to in the United States or similar agencies in other countries.

Lead Waiter Job Description Sample/ Example/Template

The lead waiter job description typically consists of the following duties, tasks, and responsibilities:

  • Coach and guide new wait staff members, helping them grasp the brand’s menu offerings, service standards, and customer service protocols
  • Allocate roles and areas to wait staff, ensuring even allocation of workload and team efficiency
  • Keep tabs on the dining area and observe how each wait staff performed so they can get feedback and improve service delivery
  • Resolve customer issues professionally and promptly by deploying solutions and escalate to management when appropriate
  • Support wait staff during peak hours or special events, making sure guests are attended to promptly
  • Keep the communication channels open with the kitchen staff, sharing any dietary requirements or special requests to ensure accurate order preparation
  • Get the dining area cleaned and organized and adequately stocked with menus, tableware an napkins
  • Keep an eye for the inventory levels of essential items like linens, glassware, and silverware, and convey to management when restocking is needed
  • Oversee and supervise the set up of dining areas for private functions or special events
  • Lead pre-shift meetings to review daily specials, promotions, and any important information or updates
  • Make sure all wait staff stay aligned to the grooming guidelines and dress code policies
  • Use your deep knowledge of menu offerings, including ingredients and preparation methods and wine pairings to help guests with menu choices
  • Make sure all wait staff adhere strictly to safety and sanitation protocols as well as proper handling of food and beverages
  • Be on the look out for pace of service to ensure guests receive their orders in a timely manner
  • Advise and collaborate with management on service improvement strategies and execution
  • Keep a record of customers’ compliments, complaints and feedback and share with management for continuous service delivery
  • Prep wait staff on how to deliver excellent customer service where you anticipate customers needs accurately and exceed their expectations
  • Help with the creation and update of wait staff schedules to make sure there is full coverage during operational hours
  • Take part in performance evaluation for wait staff members offering constructive feedback and pointing out areas of improvement
  • Keeping a professional and positive energy, setting a good example for the wait staff and contributing to a positive work environment.

Lead Waiter Job Description for Resume

If you are making a new resume or CV as someone who has worked before as a lead waiter or presently working in that role, then you can apply the sample lead waiter job description in making a compelling Professional Experience section for your resume.

You can highlight the duties and responsibilities you have carried out or currently performing as a lead waiter by utilizing the ones provided in the above lead waiter job description example.

This will serve as a proof that you have been successful working as a lead waiter, which can greatly boost your chances of being hired for the new job that you are seeking, especially if it requires someone with some lead waiter work experience.

Lead Waiter Requirements: Skills, Knowledge, and Abilities for Career Success

To be an effective lead waiter and be success in your career, you would need to possess a mix of industry knowledge, technical skills, and interpersonal abilities, as well as the following:

  • Exceptional communication and leadership skills
  • Solid problem solving prowess and customer service orientation
  • Ability to multitask and perform well under pressure
  • keen attention to details and strong organizational skills
  • Good grasp of food and safety regulations and sanitation standards
  • Ability to operate point-of-sale systems (POS) and other related technology
  • Good knowledge of wine, beer, and cocktail service
  • Working knowledge of dietary restrictions and allergens
  • Can motivate and manage a team
  • Possess conflict resolution and de-escalation skill-set
  • Competency in prioritizing and time management
  • Physically agile and can work long hours on your feet
  • Professional and positive with a team orientation.

Lead Waiter Employment

The number of head or lead waiters/waitresses in the United States in current employment is 429,400 according to data on Zippia.

Women make up 408,789 while the number of employed male head waiters is 20,611.

Industries with the highest employment for lead waiters/waitresses include hospitality and manufacturing, with employments of 218,994 and 34,352 respectively.

Lead Waiter Salary

According to Zippia, the average salary for a lead waiter, also called lead server, in the United States is $28,677 per year or $13.79 per hour by April, 2024.

The top highest paying States in the United States for lead servers or waiters include Hawaii ($70,000 yearly) and Alaska ($50,966 yearly) on the average.


In this article, we have covered the lead waiter job description extensively, highlighting key duties and responsibilities, essential skills and knowledge, as well as employers’ requirements and salary information.

Whether you are seeking a lead waiter position or looking to hire one, this post will help you navigate your way and serve you in the area of drawing up an accurate job description.

When you understand the in-and-out of the lead waiter job, you will be in a better position to excel or search for the right candidate to join your team. By using the information presented in this blog post, both lead waiters and employers can create a smooth and memorable dining experience that turns a first-time customer to a returning customer time and time again.

Resources for Lead Waiters

Here are useful resources to improve your work as a lead or head waiter/waitress and advance in your career:

Professional Organizations

National Restaurant Association The National Restaurant Association is over 100 years old and is the world's largest foodservice trade association, proving representation and advocacy on behalf of the restaurant industry. American Hotel & Lodging Association The American Hotel & Lodging Association is a leading voice and supporter of the American hospitality industry. Food and Beverage Association of America The Food and Beverage Association of America encourages and promotes continuing education, career growth, and friendly relation among its members. It also provides scholarships in industry fields.

Useful Blogs

The Waiter's Academy The Waiter's Academy provides free training to industry professionals to improve on their knowledge, skills, and income. OpenTable OpenTable's restaurant blog provides lots of valuable content for restaurant professionals. Modern Restaurant Management This blog provides restaurant management news, expert advice, and industry trends.

Valuable Books

Food and Beverage Service: A Handbook for Hospitality and Tourism Services This book covers various techniquesin food and beverage service Strategic Questions in Food and Beverage Management Discover various critical reviews of issues in food and beverage management Food and Beverage Service This book is for individuals working towards professional qualifications in food and beverage service, as well as trainers and practitioners.