If you’re interested in a career in the restaurant industry or simply want to understand the ins and outs of what it’s like to be a waiter or waitress, you’re in the right place.
In this article, we’ll delve into the key responsibilities included in the waiter/waitress job description, as well as the education requirements and qualifications needed for the role.
Keep up with pay ranges in the areas with the highest number of job opportunities, and check out examples of interview questions—for restaurant owners and applicants alike.
Waiter/Waitress Job Description
Waiters and waitresses specialize in taking orders, serving food and beverages and making recommendations. They also ensure smooth communication between the dining area and the kitchen. Most of all, it is in the waiter/waitress job description to enrich the guests’ dining experience.
Waiters and waitresses take orders, serve food and drinks and make recommendations from the menu, all the while acting as the face of an establishment.
They are also tasked with ensuring customers are satisfied with their meals, and addressing, or anticipating, their needs.
Customer service skills are a key aspect of waiting and waitressing. As the first point of contact for customers, waiters and waitresses need to deliver the desired tone of the venue with their actions.
In addition to customer service, waiters and waitresses must work well in a team environment and follow their establishment’s protocols to a T. They must also have basic math skills to handle payments and calculate tips.
Here are some responsibilities found within the waiter/waitress job description:
- Greeting guests in a cordial manner
- Escorting guests to their tables
- Presenting the food and drink menus to customers
- Answering questions about the menu upon request
- Upselling meals or drinks when appropriate
- Presenting the day’s specials
- Offering food and beverage recommendations when needed
- Making suggestions based on the guests’ preferences
- Preparing tables following the establishment’s protocols
- Taking correct orders from guests
- Verifying customers’ IDs to ensure they are of legal age for alcohol consumption
- Transferring the correct, detailed orders to the kitchen staff
- Promptly delivering food and drinks to guests
- Checking the dishes and utensils before bringing them to the table, according to sanitation protocols
- Showing receipts to customers and taking payments.
- Bringing used dishes, glasses and cutlery to the kitchen for cleaning
- Holding meetings with restaurant staff to talk about daily specials, potential changes to the menu, protocols and guidelines
- Following all applicable rules and regulations set by the health department
- Maintaining a friendly, professional attitude in any situation with guests and staff alike.
Excellent memory, a friendly demeanor, multitasking capabilities and teamwork are the most basic responsibilities of a waiter or waitress.
Still, whether in bars, hotels or restaurants, the key part of the waiter/waitress job description is knowing how to represent your establishment in the best possible light.
Waiter/Waitress Training & Education
Typically, there are no specific education requirements for waiters or waitresses. Still, some restaurants and bars insist on a high school diploma.
Moreover, some high-end Michelin-star restaurants may prefer candidates with formal training such as fine dining service and wine-pairing, requiring certification programs.
Being that most establishments do not insist on education requirements, most waiter/waitress training is done on the job, working under the supervision of a more experienced colleague.
Training usually includes various aspects of customer service, such as taking orders and interacting with guests and colleagues.
Following food safety measures and sanitation procedures, and staying in compliance with the most recent public health policies are also part of the training.
Waiter/Waitress Skills & Qualifications
Experienced waiters and waitresses will be proficient in a range of skills, from money management to culinary awareness and team leadership.
Good manners and patience are necessary skills for a good career path in hospitality, but the expectations for personalized interactions versus speedy service may differ between high-end restaurants and fast-food diners.
Either way, there are numerous skills a hospitality worker needs to possess if they want to provide quality customer service.
Here’s what you can expect to see in a typical waiter/waitress job description:
- Experience with cash registers and ordering systems
- Strong problem-solving abilities in a fast-paced environment
- Excellent memory
- Keeping a neat and clean exterior
- Ability to multitask and prioritize in hectic situations
- Practical time management and fast learning ability
- The ability to stand and walk for hours at a time
- A good physical condition
- Customer-centric mindset and willingness to work in shifts
- A high school diploma is a plus but usually not necessary
A waiter/waitress job description might not cite all of these skills and qualifications in the job ad itself, but they might turn up during the interview process, or the trial period.
Still, it is important to keep them in mind when sifting through the different candidates for the waiter/waitress position, or if you plan to apply.
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