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Different Types of Waiters

Waiter holding plate

The first person who talks to you when you enter most restaurants and bars is probably the Waiter/Waitress. The exception to that rule may be upscale restaurants and bars in which case it’s the Host/Hostess’s job to greet you.

As such, Waiters and Waitresses are responsible for the majority of your experience in a dining establishment. They’re the ones who have the largest impact on customer satisfaction.

But not all Waiter positions are the same. Waiters are categorized based on where they work. Some places demand a more sophisticated and formal approach to waiting, while others are more casual and laid-back.

In this article, we discuss the different types of services Waiters and Waitresses provide. From fine dining to fast-food service, we’ll briefly describe the duties of the different types of Waiters.

Fine Dining Service Waiters

Fine dining Waiters in upscale restaurants offer a formal and sophisticated service. The service is tailored to ensure a memorable, pleasant dining experience.

Fine dining Waiters are in charge of preparing the dining room. Mise en place” is the term used to describe the act of preparing the tables, flatware and tableware. It’s a culinary phrase that translates to “putting in place.”

Once the guests arrive, Waiters often start by presenting the menu. Then, they help them select their meals based on the customer’s preferences. Once the food arrives, it’s presented in detail and with poise.

As a rule of thumb, Waiters in fine dining restaurants serve dishes from the left side and remove them from the right. The Waiter’s arms should never reach across the guest.

Besides these general rules, each fine dining establishment has its guidelines for how the Waiters should serve customers.

waiter setting up table

French-Service Waiters

The French way of service is one of the most refined types of service that requires extensive training. There are a few rules that must be followed for French service style.

For starters, there have to be five Waiters for each guest. The food is served on a platter, allowing people to serve themselves.

The meal is divided into starters, hot dishes, side dishes and desserts. The same goes for the beverages. Water is served first, then comes the wine service. Champagne is the go-to choice for desserts and toasts.

As for the table arrangement, each guest should have a flat plate that’s placed over a presentation plate and a napkin.

The meat knife, fish knife and soup spoon are placed on the right-hand side of the plate, in that specific order. The forks are on the left-hand side. 

Lastly, the glasses are arranged in the following order: the red wine glass near the tip of the meat knife, the water glass to the left, the white wine glass to the right and the champagne glass between the wine and water glasses.

Casual Dining Service Waiters

Waiters in casual dining establishments provide a more relaxed service. A good example would be Italian and other family-style restaurants.

Here, the Waiter’s job is to prepare tables, take orders and serve food and drinks. Food is typically served in large communal dishes. The guests help themselves with the dishes and pass these dishes to one another.

In short: Nothing too fancy, unlike in fine-dining services.

Room Service Waiters

This type of service is provided in resorts and hotels. Guests order food and drinks from the comfort of their accommodation, and the room service Waiters deliver these orders directly.

This type of service is for people who prefer eating in their rooms rather than at the hotel or resort’s restaurant.

Room service Waiters and Waitresses would get the food from the kitchen staff and put it on a serving tray. Then, they take the food using a cart to the guest’s room.

When the guest is done with their meal, they’ll call room service to pick up the tray. Room service Waiters can check on guests to see whether they’re satisfied with the order.

Banquet Service Waiters

Banquet Waiters are also known as catering Waiters. As their name implies, they serve food and beverages to guests at catered events.

They typically greet guests, take orders and serve food and drinks. Usually, the menu items are pre-determined and served in courses. Every course is cleared before the following one is served.

buffet bartender replenishing dish

Buffet Service Waiters

Buffet service is a type of self-service that usually takes place in large events and hotels. The food is displayed on a buffet table and guests serve themselves.

The waiter is there to inform customers about the different food and to replenish items on the buffet table if necessary.

Bar Waiters

Bar Waiters and Waitresses (also known as cocktail Servers) greet customers, take orders and serve alcoholic beverages.

They’re also responsible for keeping the bar area clean and can sometimes even act as Barbacks. This means they’ll be helping restock the bar and supplying it with ice, garnishes and everything else needed for the bar to operate smoothly.

Some bars serve food. In that case, the Waiter is also a food Server. On top of all this, they need to take the dirty dishes and glasses back to the kitchen for washing

Fast-Food Waiters

Fast food restaurants are similar to casual dining restaurants. As such, the responsibilities of Waiters in both types of restaurants are similar.

The main difference is that fast-food Waiters often need to package take-out orders and help Cooks with food preparation.

Cafe Waiters

Waiters employed in cafes have similar responsibilities as those in conventional bars. The main difference is that they’ll be serving coffee and other non-alcoholic drinks. They’ll also have to take the empty cups and glasses back to the counter for washing.

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