Waiter Job Description, Key Duties and Responsibilities

By | May 26, 2024
Waiter Job Description
Waiters serve foods and drinks to guests.

This post provides detailed information on the waiter job description and career, to boost your knowledge of their duties, tasks, and responsibilities.

What Does a Waiter Do?

Waiters and waitresses work in establishments where foods and drinks are served to guests or customers. These include hotels, bars, and restaurants.

The waiter job description involves serving drinks and foods to customers or guests in a polite and friendly manner.

According to report on O*NET OnLine, the duties that waiters perform include taking orders for food and beverages from patrons and ensuring they are enjoying their meals.

They are to take action if customers are not enjoying their meals to correct the situation.

Waiters and waitresses are responsible for taking orders from customers or guests and presenting it to the kitchen staff exactly the way the customer wants it, and delivering the prepared food or drink to the customer promptly.

Other tasks they may carry out include suggesting to customers the menu to pick and handling register as the case may be so as to make sure all customers are accurately and quickly checked out.

They also perform duties such as informing customers of the day’s specials and prices, and presenting menu information to them.

Waiters and waitresses are usually required by their employers to have excellent customer service skills because of their direct contact with customers and guests.

They should also have good knowledge of formal dining room service standards, safety and sanitation regulations so as to provide outstanding and enjoyable service to customers or guests.

The waiter’s job requires continuous walking and occasional sitting. It also involves frequent lifting of light to medium loads, occasionally heavy loads with the support from other people.

The job also requires squatting, bending, kneeling, crawling, and climbing.

Waiter Job Description Example/Sample/Template

Shown below is an example of the kind of job description usually presented to newly hired waiters by most employers to execute.

It consist of vital tasks, duties, and responsibilities that form their daily activities at work.

  • Read communication pad at the start of duty, read the day’s menu, and check board for special instructions, guests, and room trays
  • Serve food and drinks to guests applying knowledge of appropriate menu and diet order
  • Obtain menu order politely by smiling and speaking clearly to guests
  • Responsible for serving and cleaning tables applying the right procedures
  • Perform table bussing carefully and silently
  • Prepare room trays correctly and efficiently
  • Ensure room carts are delivered and retrieved on schedule
  • Make beverages following list and place on the right table
  • Wash dishes following laid down procedures and soak bowls, silverware, and other materials as instructed
  • Observe and ensure the right temperatures are maintained for dish machine
  • Adhere to dish and utensil handling procedures to avoid cross contamination
  • Wash pots and pans, air dry them and keep in the right location
  • Perform correct wing refrigerator stocking
  • Ensure work environment is kept neat and organized
  • Establish good relationship with guests, customers, and colleagues
  • Perform other duties that may be assigned by the supervisor.

Waiter Job Description for Resume

When preparing a resume for the post of waiter, the job history section of the resume can be made by using information from the job description sample shown above.

Here is a sample resume to help you in preparing your resume: Waiter/Waitress Resume Sample

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

When hiring a waiter or waitress, employers usually look for certain traits, skills, and knowledge from the applicants to be sure they will be efficient and effective on the job if hired.

Below is a list of required traits, knowledge, abilities, and skills that waiters and waitress should possess that enhance job performance.

  • High School Diploma or GED
  • Ability to apply positive interpersonal skills to relate cordially with guests or customers and co-workers
  • Good physical strength to be able to move up and down, including going up and down staircases
  • Bilingual, with a good command of English
  • Strong knowledge of placing foods in its right category
  • Strong stamina to work long hours
  • Well motivated with ability to function effectively in a team
  • Well presentable with clean and friendly appearance
  • Ability to work under pressure without being stressed out.

 Waiter Employment

According to report on waiter employment by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS, in 2023, there were 2,237,850 waiters and waitresses in the United States.     

Restaurants and other eating places and traveler accommodation are some of the industries that employ the most waiters and waitresses, with employment numbers 1,830,190 and 127,390 respectively.

Waiter Salary

According to the 2023 report on waiter salary in the United State by BLS, the average annual salary for waiters and waitresses was $ 36,530, while hourly wage was $17.56.

The best paying states for waiters/waitress are: Vermont, $60,200; Washington, $57,960, District of Columbia, $51,970; New York, $51,040; and Arizona $49,080.

Industries that pay the highest salaries to waiters and waitresses in the United States include Promoters of performing arts, sports, and similar events, $55,640 and other schools and instruction, $46,770.

Waiter career
With a waiter career, you can climb to various job positions, like head waiter, restaurant supervisor, and kitchen supervisor.

Waiter Career Opportunities

A waiter has various career opportunities to explore, including:

  1. Head Waiter

A head waiter is responsible for organizing the schedule and assignments of other waiters at a restaurant.

This position requires great communication skills.

2. Restaurant supervisor/Manager

A restaurant supervisor oversees the kitchen and other employees in order to help manage the company to make sure they are running well.

They also do research on what foods are being ordered by their customers, as well as plan out meals and seat people at tables.

Some restaurant supervisors are also responsible for ordering supplies, as well as making sure that the facility is clean and ready to serve customers.

Restaurant managers are also commonly called “chefs”.

3. Kitchen Supervisor

A kitchen supervisor basically oversees the kitchen staff and employees in order to make sure that they are running smoothly.

They assist in making food during busy periods of the day or night.

Some kitchen or restaurant supervisors are also responsible for ordering supplies, as well as making sure that the facility is clean and ready to serve customers.

4. Assistant Manager

An assistant manager oversees a single restaurant or eatery and helps organize the staff in order to make sure that they run well throughout the day or night.

Some assistant managers are also responsible for hiring and firing employees, as well as training them in the organization’s standard operations.

These positions require a high level of school and previous work experience.

5. Food Scientist

A food scientist is someone who tests food to make sure that they are safe for consumption, that they aren’t contaminated by dangerous organisms.

Food scientists help prepare new types of foods or food products.

They may be employed at a restaurant or catering company, as well as many different kinds of agricultural companies.

Some even work for the government or private labs to help test the safety of agricultural products across the world.

6. Nutritionist

Nutritionists, simply put, study the nutritional value of food.

These professionals may work in their own companies or restaurants, as well as for insurance companies, to help determine which foods are healthy and which are not.

7. Interior Decorator/Stylist

An interior decorator is someone who works for a company that specializes in designing and managing the look of restaurants and other establishments.

They also work with clients to make sure they are satisfied with the way their establishments look.

8. Human Resources Specialist

A human resources specialist hires, trains, and fires employees.

Some specialize in various areas like recruiting, training, and development, benefits, or payroll.

HR specialists are often employed by large companies or corporations like restaurants and stores.

9. Restaurant Operator (Franchisee)

A restaurant operator opens their own restaurant. They may hire employees, obtain recipes and produce, and supply items such as tables and chairs.

They may also purchase supplies, such as kitchen equipment, food items, and table linens.

Challenges faced by Waiters on the Job

The following are the common challenges that a waiter may face on the job:

  1. Handling Drunken People

Being a waiter is a difficult job.

Dealing with drunken people and controlling them is one of the most common challenges that waiters face on the job.

Drunken people behave in an unruly manner and create a lot of hassle for waiters.

They start throwing their weight around and making the job more difficult for their waiters by coming to their tables and creating a scene over the smallest things.

2. Handling Really Gross People

The next common challenge that waiters face on the job is handling really gross people.

People who are drunk and do not have basic hygiene habits are a big turn off for waiters.

They often make remarks about their bad breath and appearance in front of other customers and this creates a lot of confusion and awkwardness among them.

3. Talking to Strangers

Waiters must deal with meeting and talking to a lot of strangers.

Many people who go to restaurants are often very friendly with their waiters.

They talk about the food and drink, and make jokes over the smallest things.

This can sometimes be hard for some people because they are not used to talking with strangers.

4. Dealing with Stressful Situations

Another common challenge that waiters face on the job is dealing with stressful situations.

People are always in a hurry and this creates a lot of stress for waiters who have to deal with multiple orders all at once.

Waiter Job Satisfaction

A survey conducted by Murat Hancer of Adnan Menderes University, Turkey and R. Thomas George of Ohio State University found that unsupervised restaurant workers, such as waiters and cooks, show low level of satisfaction in their job.

The survey, which was to investigate job satisfaction of restaurant employees, used the Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire (MSQ) short form and demographic questions.

It questioned 798 participants from 52 restaurants across the United States.

The result of the survey showed that 50.2% of respondents indicated low satisfaction in their job, 24.2% showed a high job satisfaction level, and 25.6% indicated an average level of job satisfaction.

How to Become a Waiter

To work as a waiter or waitress, no formal education is required.

Most waiters and waitresses learn through on-the-job training that lasts a few weeks.

Trainees are usually paired with an experienced waiter or waitress who teaches them the fundamentals of serving.

Major Benefits of a Waiter Career

The following are the major benefits of working as a waiter:

  • Independent

The ability to take control of your career and determine your own fate and route is a major benefit of working as a waiter or waitress.

You’ll be able to decide where you want to work, what type of job you want, what kind of pay you need, and when you’d like the job because it is flexible.

If needed, you can even change jobs at any time without having an impact on your ability to work.

  • Flexibility

The ability to work at different places and get to know the people you interact with is a major benefit of working as a waiter.

You’ll be able to meet new people with different interests, personalities, and different backgrounds than your own.

You’ll be able to raise your social status as you meet more and more people from different fields.

  • Meeting New People

Since waiters have to deal with a lot of people every day, they’ll be able to meet lots of new people and make friends.

You can also meet celebrities like sports stars or singers and make a name for yourself.

  • Good Income

Income is another major benefit that waiters have. You’ll get good salary as you will be provided tips by the customers for your service.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ data for May 2011, the mean annual wage for waiters was $21,550 per year. The median annual wage of waiters and waitresses was $18,250 per year.

  • Saving Money

You’ll be able to save a lot of money by working as a waiter.

You’ll be able to save your money on food and other expenses such as transportation, entertainment, and clothing by not having to buy these things by yourself.

You’ll also have favorable hours that you can work because you can work when it is convenient for you.

  • Making Friends

Another benefit of working as a waiter or waitress is making friends with the customers who you serve.

Customers who are comfortable with you will be more likely to come to your table and make conversation.

You’ll probably make a lot of friends at work as you interact with many people every day.

  • Stimulating World’s Culture

Working in a restaurant often involves much travel. So when you work as a waiter, you’ll be able to increase your knowledge about the culture of different countries because you get to interact with people from all over the world on a daily basis.


Working as a waiter or waitress can be flexible and give you the ability to control your career.

You’ll also get to meet new people and make friends with them which is a big benefit.

The income you will earn from this job is good and you’ll be able to save money by not needing to spend on food, entertainment, and other things that you can get on the job.


U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
O*NET OnLine

Resources for Waiters

We have provided helpful resources to make you a better 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.