What do Waiters and Waitresses do?
Waiters and waitresses perform an important service for diners and patrons of restaurants, bars, and other food service locations. Waiters and waitresses take orders, serve food and drinks to customers, and they often help clean up after patrons, take money, and help manage other food workers and service at dining establishments.
Waiters and Waitresses Skills and Abilities
As a waiter or waitress, you must have outstanding interpersonal and customer service skills, as you will be dealing with dining patrons on a daily basis. Waiters and waitresses also need excellent communication skills so that they can understand customer needs, demands, and requests. Waiters and waitresses carry food, drinks, and chairs and deliver them to tables, you need to be steady on your feet and have superb balance and body strength in this position. Waiters and waitresses also need the ability to work hard and be on their feet for long hours without feeling worn out or physically exhausted.
Waiters and Waitresses Duties
Waiters and waitresses have to be champions of multi-tasking, as food service requires many duties to be completed at once. While working as a waiter or waitress, you will be expected to:
- Take customer’s food orders and deliver them to the kitchen staff
- Check on customers frequently and fill up drinks or take away empty plates
- Deliver orders to the correct customer tables and check that everything is right, and take steps to fix incorrect orders if needed
- Take payments from customers and deliver appropriate change
- Have a comprehensive knowledge of the restaurant menu and be able to give recommendations and descriptions of meals as well as daily specials
- Prepare and serve drinks for customers
- Help bus and clean tables and perform simple cleaning tasks, such as vacuuming, sweeping, mopping, taking out trash, tidying up food stations, and checking on the cleanliness of the restrooms
- Fill condiment, salt and pepper shakers, and cream and sugar containers
- Answer phones and help seat patrons
Waiters and Waitresses Tools and Technology
Waiters and waitresses use tools such as cash registers, bar code scanners, credit card machines, and Point of Sale (POS) terminals to help them take money, keep track of kitchen inventory and supplies, and enter and record customer orders. POS machines also use special technology to help waiters and waitresses write down and keep track of orders, finalize customer bills, and maintain financial records.
Education and Training for Waiters and Waitresses
When working as a waiter or waitress, you will likely receive on-the-job training from managers, special trainers, or other waiters or waitresses, so no special degree or education is required. There is typically also no experience needed to find a position in this career, but you will likely need to start in a lower position and work your way up as you gain experience and skills.
Waiters and Waitresses Salary
The salary you can earn as a waiter or waitress can vary greatly depending on your experience, the state where you work, and the type of dining establishment in which you find a position. On average, waiters and waitresses across the nation earn around $18,000 per year, but you can earn up to $40,000 or more in different locations or in different restaurant settings. Waiters and waitresses earn the most in Hawaii, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Washington, where the average annual salary starts at over $20,000.
Waiters and Waitresses Jobs by Geography
There are over 2 million waiters and waitresses employed across the nation, however more than 120,000 new jobs are expected in the next ten years. Arizona, Texas, Idaho, and New York are all projected to see the greatest employment increase for waiters and waitresses, with an over 20% increase in available jobs projected in those states within the next decade.