This post presents detailed information on the restaurant server job description and career, to help you learn the tasks, duties, and responsibilities they usually perform.
It also helps you learn how to become a restaurant server, the various careers you can explore, and the salary you can earn working as a restaurant server.
What Does a Restaurant Server Do?
Restaurant servers, also known as waiters and waitresses, play a vital role in any restaurant.
While a restaurant server job description entails delivering food by taking orders, today’s servers represents the customer service unit of any restaurant.
A good restaurant server can convert any customer into a repeated customer, while a poor server may cause customers not to return again to the restaurant.
Restaurant server job description may also include many different duties, which may depend on type of restaurant in which they are employed.
Not every person can work as a restaurant server. However, if you desire to become a restaurant server, it’s imperative you understand that you belong to a much bigger team and you need to work hand-in-hand with your coworkers if you plan to succeed on the job.
Restaurant servers make sure that customers have an exciting dining experience by providing quality customer service to them.
They work in the front office of the business by taking orders, removing dinnerware from the table in a timely manner and serving drinks and food.
Restaurant server is the general term used for a waitress or waiter who is typically part of a wait staff.
Restaurant servers can get employed in different kinds of establishments, from big dining restaurants to casual eateries.
They are required, by the nature of their job to be on their feet for most of their shifts. Part-time employment in this line of work is common.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said in 2010 alone, 4.1 million food and beverage servers were employed.
Restaurant server positions are entry-level and require not less than a high school diploma while previous experience is usually not required, save for some fine dining restaurants where some experience might be required.
Training as a server is mostly done on the job and this is usually carried out by experienced wait staff.
Restaurant Server Job Description Example/Sample/Template
A typical job description for the position of restaurant server consists of important tasks, duties, and responsibilities shown in the job description example below:
- Provide good customer service
- Take orders
- Deliver food
- Answer questions regarding the menu.
- Work together with other servers and the kitchen staff to ensure the restaurant is operated efficiently
- Be a part of the dining experience
- Offer suggestions and recommendations in regards to orders and drinks
- Help to personalize the meal
- Help in the kitchen when the need arise
- Process payment
- Greet customers
- Clean tables and dining area
- Set tables
- Discuss the day’s menu with manager and kitchen staffs.
Restaurant Server Resume Preparation
In preparing a resume to be used in applying for the job of restaurant server, information can be extracted from the sample job description above.
The employment history section of the resume can particularly be created with such information.
If you are trying to learn how to write a good resume for the position, you can study this: Restaurant Server Resume Sample.
Restaurant Server Requirements: Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities for Career Success
Here are some of the important qualities most employers would usually request that individuals seeking the job of restaurant server must possess before they are hired.
- Must have the ability to provide good customer service
- Must always be neat in appearance
- Must be ready to wash dishes
- Ability to demonstrate habits of greeting both new and old customers
- Must be comfortable with running errands for customers within the restaurant
- Substantial knowledge of refilling condiment containers
- Comprehensive knowledge of securing proper payment and at the same time controlling guest checks
- In-depth knowledge of serving customers’ needs and understanding of serving food to customers
- Demonstrate ability to sanitize servicing tools and sanitizing dining areas.
Restaurant Server Salary
The average salary for a restaurant server is $45,642 per year.
The highest paying states for restaurant servers include New York, NY, $52,972; Chicago, IL, $49,609; Atlanta, GA, $48,060; Dallas, TX, $47,599; and Austin, TX, $47,501 per year.
According to Zippia, there are currently over 2,351,479 restaurant servers employed in the United States.
Women make up 59.2% of all restaurant servers, while men make up 40.8%.
An employed restaurant server is 29 years old on average.
White (57.7%) is the most common ethnicity among restaurant servers, followed by Hispanic or Latino (19.1%), Black or African American (10.8%), and Asian (8.5%). Women will earn 95% of what men will earn in 2021.
Restaurant Server Career Opportunities
A restaurant server can make career progression in different roles such as:
- Kitchen Staff
A host/server prepares and serves food and beverage in the kitchen.
The kitchen staff will also aid in the preparation of menu items and assist the cooks, who are primarily responsible for preparing menu items; in turn, they will serve customers orders.
A restuarant cashier is a server that ensures patrons have all the proper credit card information on file.
They handle cash transactions and keep track of sales.
They review and confirm sales receipts to ensure that correct payment is recorded.
They also assist employees in inputting inventory or patient files into computer system.
3. Food and Beverage Manager
A food and beverage manager is a server that oversees all aspects of the food and beverage department.
They manage employees and serve patrons on a daily basis.
4. Restaurant Host/Hostess
A restaurant host/hostess is a server who greets and seats customers upon their arrival to the restaurant.
They also inform patrons of any scheduled events or specials that are occurring that particular evening.
5. Food and Beverage Server
A food and beverage server serves food and beverage to patrons.
They are required to be knowledgeable of the menu items, daily specials, and wine list.
A chef works in the kitchen preparing food for patrons.
They must have good knowledge of all menu items, the ability to follow recipes, and excellent cooking skills.
They will also assist in proper food and beverage service.
7. Line Cook
A line cook is the person who prepares food for the chefs and serves food to patrons.
They assist bakers and sous-chefs.
A bartender assists patrons with alcoholic beverages.
They are responsible for keeping supplies stocked, preparing daily and nightly specials, and informing patrons of upcoming events.
9. Restaurant Manager
A restaurant manager oversees the general operations of a restaurant on a daily basis.
They must be able to delegate tasks to employees and handle customer service issues, as well as handle customer complaints.
They are responsible for adhering to health codes, fire regulations, and state licensing laws.
10. Food and Beverage Consultant
A food and beverage consultant assists restaurants with menu planning, market analysis and marketing.
They may be responsible for preparing sales reports and product recommendations.
Challenges faced by Restaurant Servers on the Job
There are different challenges faced by a restaurant server on the job, including:
- Inadequate salary
The salary of a restaurant server is very low. They can earn as little as $7.47 an hour, and there is no overtime.
2. Low level of job security
Restaurant servers are not immune to the fact that their job is a high stress environment for them.
The restaurant serves lots of customers at a time, which may result in physical injuries, emotional strain and other issues.
Even the manager’s job can also be stressful.
3. Stressful environment
Working in a restaurant can be a stressful environment. Some servers may get frustrated very easily, and this is because they are always expected to meet customers’ expectations, which is hard to fulfill.
The constant pressure of dealing with customers may result in stress disorders.
Also, the restaurant server’s job may require them to deal with drug users and gang members.
This could put them at risk of sexually transmitted diseases (STD).
How to Become a Restaurant Server
Here are steps you can follow to become a restaurant server if you are interested in the career:
- Determine your restaurant server career goals
Take some time to think about what you like about serving others.
Are you in the habit of helping others out? If so, why not use your talents to serve others?
Choose your career based on what you want to achieve.
2. Education requirements
Depending on the level of the restaurant, a restaurant server may need a high school diploma or a GED certificate.
Although some states require specific education for certain positions, for instance, California requires an additional year of college for cooks and servers, other states don’t have any requirements.
For servers who are looking to work in fast food chains, career training is sometimes offered through community colleges and trade schools rather than state universities.
3. Prepare for the job search
Almost all restaurant servers begin their careers by working at local restaurants.
Many servers start this way even after high school graduation.
The starting pay for servers varies depending on the type of establishment and the experience of the person applying for the role.
Many servers don’t work full-time, but they may continue to work during their off hours to supplement their income.
This includes working at a local retail store that also offers tips.
You want to focus on reaching out to individuals of influence that are familiar with the industry in which you want to work.
You may also reach out to individuals who are currently working in the restaurant server industry, who can give you some insight into the employment opportunities and advancement potentials within their respective companies.
Major Benefits of a Restaurant Server Career
Here are some major benefits of a career as a restaurant server:
- Fast paced environment
If you love to work in a fast paced environment, then serving in a restaurant can be the best career for you.
In a busy restaurant or café, there will be lots of orders and you might have to handle some rude customers as well.
2. Choose your hours
Although many servers work nights and weekends, sometimes they get to choose which shifts they want to work.
You don’t have to report in on time if you don’t want to, or you can leave early if you are not busy at that time.
3. Fit around your school schedule or whatever activities
If you are in high school or college, restaurant serving jobs are good because they fit around your school schedule.
Many people want to pursue a career where they can work mostly on the weekends and nights and you can go to school full-time.
If you don’t have to work during the week, then that is a big plus for being a restaurant server.
4. You learn valuable skills
Working as a server teaches you different valuable skills, such as multitasking, time management, teamwork and communication.
You get to learn how to handle different kinds of people and get your customer service skills sharpened.
5. Get valuable experience
The early years in a restaurant are important. They teach you a lot of valuable lessons in life and give you experience that will help you later on your career.
6. Team work
In the restaurant business, teamwork is very important. You might have to work with cooks or other servers for example.
Team work can be very important because it can help you learn more about your job and work together with your co-workers.
Working as a restaurant server brings you into contact with people from all walks of life.
The restaurant industry is extremely diverse. You will meet a variety of people, some of whom may become good friends.
Also, servers frequently cater to people with special needs, which can be advantageous for some of them.
Working as a restaurant server is not an easy career choice to make. The initial training is a challenge and you have to be patient in order to succeed.
Learning new skills is not easy either but once you learn them, they stick with you for a very long time.
Even the job can be quite stressful at times, but if you like the work, there are many benefits that equal the stress.
Make sure to choose the restaurant server career because it will be enjoyable and allow you to do what suits your personality and abilities best.
This post is helpful to individuals interested in the restaurant server career, to learn all they need to know about the duties and responsibilities of the role.
It is also helpful to recruiters/employers needing to make a detailed job description for the restaurant server position in their companies.