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How To Become a Waiter/Waitress With No Experience

a young waiter

If you enjoy working with people, becoming a Waiter/Waitress is a great way to earn some extra cash. If the only concern you have is your lack of experience, don’t worry, because you can still find work and earn a decent salary.

In this article, we’ll explore how to become a Waiter/Waitress with no experience and get started in the hospitality industry.

Tips To Get a Waiter/Waitress Job

When looking to find a job as a Waiter/Waitress without previous working experience, there are some things you can do first to increase your chances of getting hired. Let’s take a closer look at just a few of them.

Look for entry-level positions

While some restaurants require experience for the role of Waiter/Waitress, this isn’t always the case. When browsing through jobs, look for “entry-level position” or “no experience needed” in the job advert. If they’re hiring inexperienced workers, the owner or restaurant manager will include something like this in the job description for Waiter/Waitress.

Of course, you’ll still have to meet other requirements listed in the description, which usually include having good communication skills, attention to detail and the ability to multitask.

Keep in mind that some establishments require candidates to have a high school diploma or GED while others don’t. Find a listing that aligns with your qualifications and apply to those.

If you’re applying online, don’t forget to check entry-level Server jobs as well, since the terms Server and Waiter/Waitress are often used interchangeably.

Update your resume

If you’re considering applying for a Waiter/Waitress job, you probably already have a resume. But is it up to date? If not, it’s time to refresh it by including your latest work experience.

Additionally, consider your previous jobs to see if there are some key skills you can include in your resume. Skills like active listening or delivering exceptional customer service can help you land a job as a Waiter/Waitress.

In case this is your first job ever, you can still create a CV and include your education or experience such as volunteer work.

Be ready to work flexible hours

Working in food service isn’t like having a traditional nine-to-five job. Sometimes, you may have to adjust your schedule to be available at times when the restaurant is the busiest. This is usually during lunch and dinner times.

During the interview, the Restaurant Manager may ask if you can work weekends and night shifts. Making yourself available at those times can increase your chances of landing the job.

This also showcases your willingness to be a team player, which is of great value in the hospitality industry.

Plan restaurant visits

Another smart thing to do before you start applying for jobs is to visit local restaurants you like. Use these occasions to observe seasoned Waiters/Waitresses and take notes on how they handle difficult tasks.

Use that opportunity to observe how different restaurants operate and identify those you’d like to work at. If you’re lucky, they may be hiring and you can talk to the restaurant manager about scheduling an interview. Even if they’re not hiring at the moment, you can hand them your resume and they may call you once they have an opening.

There are different types of Waiters/Waitresses, some of which work in cafes and bars. Checking out those places can be a good idea too.

Discover your transferable skills

Even if you’ve never worked in the hospitality industry before, chances are you have some skills that are valued in restaurant settings.

Things such as good communication, the ability to work in teams and multitasking are all valuable skills you might’ve learned at previous positions.

If this is your first job, you may have even acquired these skills during your education.

Work on your fitness

Waiters/Waitresses spend a lot of time on their feet, especially on weekends and during busy hours. They also have to carry trays of food and drinks while navigating between tables and customers.

To do this effectively, you need to be fit and have good balance.

Of course, we’re not saying you have to be a professional bodybuilder to be a good Waiter/Waitress, but regular exercise such as running or walking will make you more than prepared for the role.

waitress with two plates

Look professional

Waiters/Waitresses are the face of the establishment they work at, meaning they need to have a neat and tidy appearance.

Most restaurants have uniforms for Waiters/Waitresses, which often include a shirt with the company’s logo, pants and an apron. You’ll have to wear this attire once you get a job.

It’s also important to look professional during your interview. You can never go wrong with business casual. Just make sure anything you wear is clean and ironed.

Prepare for the interview

The last thing you have to do before getting hired is acing the interview. Check out common interview questions for Waiters/Waitresses and prepare your answers.

If this is your first time applying for jobs, it’s also a good idea to ask a friend or family member to help you conduct a mock interview.

You can also research the restaurant you’ve applied to. Learn about its menu and ambiance. This will showcase your genuine interest and preparedness for the role.

What Skills Do You Need To Be a Waiter/Waitress

If you want to secure a job as a Waiter/Waitress, you might be wondering what skills are necessary to excel at the role. Listed below are the top five skills you need to earn a living working as a Waiter/Waitress.

Effective communication skills

Being a good Waiter/Waitress is all about ensuring customers have a pleasant time at the restaurant. To achieve this, you need effective communication skills.

Your role will see you greet customers when they first arrive, take their orders, deliver food and assist them throughout their stay at the establishment. If they’re dissatisfied with the food, it’ll be your job to turn their negative experience into a positive one.

So, to better prepare for the role, work on your communication skills and observe how Waiters/Waitresses in restaurants you visit handle customer interaction.

waiter talking to customers

Menu knowledge

When working as a Waiter/Waitress, you’ll have to know everything about the items on the restaurant’s menu. This includes not only listing everything that’s on it, but also knowing more details about each dish.

Customers often ask questions about food and beverages listed on the menu, and it’s up to the Waiter/Waitress to provide that information.

Before you get the job, you can do some research on popular meals, drinks, cocktails and techniques the kitchen staff uses when preparing them.


For Waiters/Waitresses, patience is everything since they have to continuously assist and interact with customers. Whether it’s explaining the menu or taking specific requests, they always have to show the same level of attention and service. This helps build trust and shows customers they’re being valued.

Dealing with an irritated or dissatisfied customer also requires staying calm and de-escalating the situation. In case there’s a conflict, the Waiter/Waitress is the one who should try to defuse the situation.


Working in a restaurant involves juggling multiple tasks at once. There are multiple tables to take care of and customers may often stop you to ask for a refill or to order again.

A good Waiter/Waitress can keep track of everyone’s requests and fulfill them without keeping other customers waiting.

This often involves hurrying from one task to another, with very little time to stop and rest.


We already mentioned that the role involves memorizing everything from the menu. However, there’s much more you have to remember when working as a Waiter/Waitress.

Customers often have specific requests and delivering the food the way they asked is key. To remember these details, you need excellent memory.

Once you start working in a restaurant, always carry a pen and pad to jot down big orders and specific requests. As you gain more experience, you’ll be able to recall everything without writing it down.

waiter with notepad

How To Become a Waiter/Waitress With No Experience: Final Thoughts

Becoming a Waiter/Waitress without any previous experience isn’t always easy. However, if you’re prepared and persistent, the opportunity will come.

Entry-level Waiter/Waitress jobs are posted quite often. Keep an eye out for such listings and apply to everything that meets your personal preferences.

But you shouldn’t stop there. Once you get hired, keep working on your abilities and show the Restaurant Manager that they made the right decision when they hired you.

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