Waiter/Waitress Job Description

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What is a Waiter/Waitress?

A waiter/waitress, often known as a server, is an individual employed in the food service industry to take orders, serve food and beverages, and provide assistance to customers in a restaurant, café, bar, or other dining establishments. They are responsible for ensuring a pleasant dining experience by offering menu suggestions, answering questions, delivering orders, and addressing any concerns or needs of the customers. Waiters/waitresses work in the hospitality industry, specifically in the food and beverage sector.

What does Waiter/Waitress do?

A waiter/waitress is responsible for providing excellent customer service in a restaurant setting. Here's a rundown of what they typically do on a day-to-day basis:

  1. Greeting and seating customers: When customers enter the restaurant, waiters/waitresses warmly welcome and escort them to an available table, ensuring their comfort.

  2. Taking orders: Waiters/waitresses provide menus, take food and beverage orders, and answer any questions customers may have about the menu items.

  3. Serving food and beverages: Once the orders are placed with the kitchen, the waiter/waitress serves the food and beverages to the customers, ensuring accuracy and presentation.

  4. Checking on customers: Throughout their meals, waiters/waitresses regularly check on the customers to ensure they are satisfied with their meals, refill drinks, and address any concerns or additional needs.

  5. Processing payments: At the end of the meal, waiters/waitresses present the bill to the customers, handle cash or card payments, and provide any necessary change or receipts.

  6. Cleaning and setting up tables: After customers leave, waiters/waitresses clean and sanitize the tables, chairs, and surrounding areas to prepare them for the next guests.

  7. Collaborating with kitchen staff: Waiters/waitresses work closely with the kitchen staff to ensure that the correct meals are prepared and delivered promptly.

  8. Handling customer complaints: If a customer has an issue with their order or service, waiters/waitresses should handle the complaint professionally, resolve any concerns, and report feedback to the management if necessary.

  9. Upselling and suggesting additional items: Waiters/waitresses may recommend additional menu items, appetizers, desserts, or special promotions to enhance the dining experience and increase sales.

  10. Participating in training and meetings: In some cases, waiters/waitresses may attend training sessions or team meetings to improve their skills, stay updated on menu changes, or discuss any operational issues.

Overall, waiters/waitresses play a crucial role in providing a positive dining experience and ensuring customer satisfaction.

What skills are needed to be a Waiter/Waitress?

  • Excellent communication skills: Waiters/waitresses need to have good verbal communication skills to effectively interact with customers, take orders, and communicate any special requests or modifications to the kitchen staff.
  • Customer service: This skill involves being friendly, attentive, and accommodating to customers' needs. It includes providing recommendations, addressing complaints, and ensuring a pleasant dining experience.
  • Ability to multitask: Waiters/waitresses must be able to handle multiple tasks simultaneously, such as taking orders, serving food, and processing payments, while maintaining efficiency and accuracy.
  • Attention to detail: Waiters/waitresses need to pay close attention to customer orders, ensuring accuracy in taking down orders and delivering the correct dishes, without mixing up details or preferences.
  • Product knowledge: This involves having a thorough understanding of the menu, including ingredients, preparation methods, and any potential allergens, in order to answer customer questions and make appropriate recommendations.
  • Ability to work under pressure: Waiters/waitresses often work in fast-paced environments, especially during busy meal times. They need to remain calm, organized, and efficient, even when faced with time constraints and a high volume of customers.
  • Teamwork: Waiters/waitresses frequently collaborate with kitchen staff, hosts/hostesses, and other waitstaff. The ability to work well in a team, communicate effectively, and assist colleagues when needed is crucial for a smooth dining experience.
  • Physical stamina: This job requires standing, walking, and carrying dishes and trays for long periods. Waiters/waitresses should have the physical stamina to withstand the demands of the job without compromising on service quality.
  • Problem-solving: Waiters/waitresses need to be able to quickly address any issues that may arise during a customer's dining experience, such as handling billing discrepancies, resolving complaints, or adapting to unexpected changes in the kitchen.
  • Basic math skills: Waiters/waitresses should have basic math skills to handle payments, provide correct change, and accurately calculate tips.

Waiter/Waitress duties and responsibilities

Duties of a Waiter/Waitress:

  1. Greeting and seating customers: Waiters/waitresses must welcome guests, help them find suitable seating, and provide menus.

  2. Taking orders: They should accurately record customer orders and promptly transmit them to the kitchen or bar.

  3. Serving food and beverages: Waiters/waitresses are responsible for delivering dishes and beverages to customers' tables in a timely and efficient manner.

  4. Providing recommendations and answering questions: They should be knowledgeable about the menu and able to offer suggestions, answer inquiries, and address any customer concerns.

  5. Upselling and promoting specials: Waiters/waitresses may have to encourage customers to try additional menu items or inform them about ongoing specials.

  6. Processing payments: They should handle customer payments accurately, which may include accepting cash, credit cards, or mobile payments.

  7. Maintaining cleanliness: Waiters/waitresses must ensure that tables, dining areas, and service stations are clean and presentable at all times.

Qualifications required to be Waiter/Waitress

The qualifications required for a waiter/waitress can vary depending on the specific establishment and location. However, some common qualifications for this position include:

  1. Previous experience: While not always a requirement, having previous experience as a waiter/waitress is often preferred. It demonstrates familiarity with the tasks and responsibilities of the role.

  2. Good communication skills: Waiters/waitresses need to communicate effectively with customers and coworkers. Strong interpersonal skills, active listening, and clear verbal communication are essential.

  3. Customer service skills: Providing excellent customer service is a vital aspect of being a successful waiter/waitress. This includes being friendly, attentive, and responsive to customers' needs.

  4. Teamwork: Working as part of a team is crucial in the foodservice industry. Being able to work well with others, take direction, and assist coworkers is important for the smooth operation of the establishment.

  5. Multitasking: Waiters/waitresses often have to handle multiple tasks simultaneously, such as taking orders, serving food, and processing payments. The ability to prioritize tasks and work efficiently is necessary.

  6. Knowledge of food and beverages: Having a basic understanding of the menu, including ingredients, preparations, and dietary restrictions, is crucial for providing accurate information to customers.

  7. Physical stamina: This job can be physically demanding, requiring standing for long periods, carrying trays of food or beverages, and navigating through crowded spaces.

  8. Flexibility: Waiters/waitresses often work in shifts that include evenings, weekends, and holidays. Being flexible with scheduling is important.

It's worth noting that specific qualifications and requirements will vary from one establishment to another, so it's always a good idea to check with the employer directly for their specific criteria.

Waiter/Waitress Job Description Template


Job Brief

We are looking for a skilled Waiter or Waitress to take orders and deliver food and beverages to our customers.

The right Waiter/Waitress uplifts the dining experience for customers. We are looking for someone who will have the patience, personality and perseverance to thrive in this role.

Waiter/Waitress responsibilities include greeting and serving customers, providing detailed information on menus, multi-tasking various front-of-the-house duties and collecting the bill. If you are able to perform well in fast-paced environments, we’d like to meet you. To be a successful Waiter or Waitress, you should be polite with our customers and make sure they enjoy their meals. You should also be a team player and be able to effectively communicate with our Kitchen Staff to make sure orders are accurate and delivered promptly.

Keep in mind that Waiter/Waitress duties may require working in shifts and/or occasionally during weekends and holidays.

Ultimately, it is the duty of our Waiters/Waitresses to provide an excellent overall dining experience for our guests.


  • Greet and escort customers to their tables
  • Present menu and provide detailed information when asked (e.g. about portions, ingredients or potential food allergies)
  • Prepare tables by setting up linens, silverware and glasses
  • Inform customers about the day’s specials
  • Offer menu recommendations upon request
  • Up-sell additional products when appropriate
  • Take accurate food and drinks orders, using a POS ordering software,order  slips or by memorization
  • Check customers’ IDs to ensure they meet minimum age requirements for consumption of alcoholic beverages
  • Communicate order details to the Kitchen Staff
  • Serve food and drink orders
  • Check dishes and kitchenware for cleanliness and presentation and report any problems
  • Arrange table settings and maintain a tidy dining area
  • Deliver checks and collect bill payments
  • Carry dirty plates, glasses and silverware to kitchen for cleaning
  • Meet with restaurant staff to review daily specials, changes on the menu and service specifications for reservations (e.g. parties)
  • Follow all relevant health department regulations
  • Provide excellent customer service to guests


  • Proven work experience as a Waiter or Waitress
  • Hands-on experience with cash register and ordering information system (e.g. Revel POS or Toast POS)
  • Basic math skills
  • Attentiveness and patience for customers
  • Excellent presentation skills
  • Strong organizational and multitasking skills, with the ability to perform well in a fast-paced environment
  • Active listening and effective communication skills
  • Team spirit
  • Flexibility to work in shifts
  • High school diploma; food safety training is a plus

What are some qualities of a good Waiter/Waitress?

A good waiter/waitress possesses a combination of several key qualities that contribute to their success in the role. Firstly, excellent communication skills are essential, as they need to effectively interact with customers, taking orders accurately, answering questions, and addressing any concerns or special requests. They should maintain a friendly and approachable demeanor, making customers feel welcome and comfortable. Having a good memory is also important, as they must remember specific orders and preferences without needing to write them down. Additionally, a good waiter/waitress is highly organized and can manage multiple tasks simultaneously, such as attending to tables, refilling drinks, and delivering orders promptly. They should be observant and attentive, anticipating customers' needs and ensuring a seamless dining experience. Finally, a strong work ethic and the ability to work well under pressure are crucial, as the role can be demanding and fast-paced. Overall, a good waiter/waitress exhibits exceptional communication, organizational, and interpersonal skills while maintaining a positive and professional attitude.

What are the salary expectations of Waiter/Waitress?

The salary expectations of a waiter/waitress can vary based on factors such as location, establishment type, level of experience, and the employer's policies. In general, the base salary for a waiter/waitress can range from minimum wage to $15 per hour, but the majority of their income comes from tips. The amount of tips can vary significantly depending on the establishment, customer satisfaction, and overall service quality. It's important to note that the income from tips can be unpredictable.

Who does Waiter/Waitress report to?

Typically, waiters/waitresses report to a restaurant manager or a head server/supervisor. They work closely with the kitchen staff, such as chefs and cooks, to ensure orders are prepared correctly and in a timely manner. They also interact with host/hostesses to coordinate seating arrangements and occasionally collaborate with bartenders to serve drinks to customers. Ultimately, their main focus is to provide excellent customer service and ensure a positive dining experience for guests.

Last Updated 27 Sep, 2023

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