Restaurant Server Job Description, Key Duties and Responsibilities

By | May 26, 2024
Restaurant Server Job Description
Restaurant Servers take order and deliver food to customers.

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.

To be a good restaurant server, according to Lightspeed, servers must possess three qualities, including adaptability, likability, and knowledge of restaurant menu.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said in 2022 alone, 4,540,700 food and beverage serving and related workers 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 Employment

According to Zippia, the number of restaurant servers employed in the United States in 2022 is 1,693,827 with the average age of employees 28 years.

Women have the larger employment of restaurant servers at 59.2% with men at 40.8%.

From ethnic perspective, White has the highest number of employed restaurant servers in the U.S (884,178 employments) followed by Hispanic at 354,010.

African American comes next with 184,627 employments while Asian has 159,220 servers working in restaurants.

Industries that hire restaurant servers the most include hospitality, with               1,236,494 employments and retail, 67,753.

Restaurant Server Salary

Restaurant servers in the U.S. earn an average of $49,277 a year, according to reports on Glassdoor.

Restaurants and food service, hotels and travel accommodation, and retail and wholesale are the top paying industries for restaurant servers, with average annual salary of $55,789, $49,387, and $44,934 respectively.

Also, according to Indeed, the cities that pay the highest salaries to restaurant servers include Orlando, FL, $62,989 yearly, Scottsdale, AZ, $57,841 yearly, and Atlanta, GA, $54,311 per annum.

Restaurant Server Career
The restaurant server career can lead to other exciting jobs like kitchen staff, cashier, and food and beverage manager.

Restaurant Server Career Opportunities

A restaurant server can make career progression in different roles such as:

  1. 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.

2. Cashier

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.

6. Chef

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.

8. Bartender

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:

  1. 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:

  1. 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.

4. Network

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:

  1. 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.

How to Get More Tips as a Restaurant Server

According to a 2009 survey by Michael Lynn and Michael McCall of the Center for Hospitality Research of Cornell University, there are certain activities servers should engage in to increase the tips they make from patrons or customers.

This includes:

  1. Wearing something unusual
  2. Introducing yourself by name
  3. Selling, selling, selling
  4. Squatting next to the table
  5. Touching your customers
  6. Entertaining your customers
  7. Repeating customers’ orders
  8. Calling your customers by name
  9. Drawing on the check
  10. Using credit card insignia on tip trays and checking folders
  11. Smiling
  12. Writing “thank you” on the check
  13. Forecasting good weather
  14. Giving customers candy.


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.


Zippia, Indeed, Glassdoor, Lightspeed, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Resources for Restaurant Servers

Here are useful resources for restaurant servers to improve their knowledge of the hospitality industry and take their career to the top:

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.