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Restaurant Server Job Description: 2024 Updated Template

A restaurant server delivers food and wine to diners

Restaurant servers play a vital role in ensuring that customers have a positive and enjoyable dining experience. They are responsible for taking orders, answering questions about the menu, preparing tables, and serving food and beverages to customers. They must also be able to handle complaints and cash out customers.

A restaurant server delivers food and wine to diners

In this article, we explain the details behind a restaurant server job description, including the responsibilities, skills and qualifications needed.

While you’re at it, explore our articles on restaurant server salary and common restaurant server interview questions.

A graphic showing how 1,026,200 openings for food and beverage serving and related workers are projected each year
[Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics]

Restaurant Server Job Overview

A restaurant server is in charge of delivering food and drinks to dine-in customers who are sitting in a specific seating section within the restaurant.

Restaurant servers are responsible for taking each customer’s order, communicating the order to the kitchen, serving the menu items and responding to any additional requests that customers may have while dining in the restaurant.


The responsibilities of a restaurant server include:

  • Cleaning and setting restaurant tables
  • Welcoming customers in a friendly manner
  • Answering questions about the restaurant’s menu, explaining daily specials and recommending dishes
  • Taking food and beverage orders
  • Taking note of any dietary restrictions, allergies or food preferences and communicating this information to the kitchen staff
  • Delivering food to the table, after making sure the order is correct and well presented
  • Checking in with customers at regular time intervals to refill drinks, check on meals and fill additional requests
  • Responding promptly to any issue and escalating it to the restaurant management, if necessary
  • Stocking serving stations with water and ice
  • Issuing bills and handling payments
  • Rearranging restaurant tables for larger groups of people or special events when needed, such as birthdays, weddings or anniversaries
  • Assisting with basic food preparation or cleaning, when needed
  • Adhering to customer service guidelines and health rules and regulations

A restaurant server typically reports to a head server or a restaurant manager, if there are customer complaints, payment issues or refund requests.

However, servers are largely relied on to handle tables and customers on their own and work without close supervision throughout their shift.

Restaurant server responsibilities

Restaurant Server Training & Education

In most cases, restaurants do not have specific education requirements for the position.

For some high-end establishments, however, a high school diploma or an associate degree in culinary studies, along with a food service certificate, may be required.

In most cases, a server who is just starting a new position at a restaurant will be asked to shadow or follow a server who has been with the company for an extended period, for hands-on training. This training could last several days to several weeks, depending on the hiring policy.

A graph showing 46% of restaurants offer a mentorship program
About half of restaurants offer mentorship and training programs for restaurant employees

Related: How To Write a Job Description

Skills & Qualifications Needed to Become a Restaurant Server

The skills and qualifications needed to apply for a restaurant service position vary according to the type of restaurant.

However, skills and qualifications needed typically include:

  • Prior experience in a customer service environment, such as retail or hospitality
  • Knowledge of different types of cuisine and beverages
  • Knowledge of food service safety regulations
  • Knowledge of or experience with cashier tasks
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills
  • Friendly attitude and patience
  • Ability to work weekends and holidays
  • Physical strength to stand for long hours and lift heavy weights
  • Legal age to serve alcohol
  • Ability to work without supervision
  • Ability to work under pressure
  • Ability to work in a team
  • Punctuality and reliability
  • Strong work ethic

Poll: Which quality do you think is most crucial for a successful restaurant server?

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