Waiters and waitresses have as main tasks to take orders and serve beverages and food to customers in various dining and drinking establishments. They often encounter many other responsibilities which vary from one place of employment to another and which make the job even harder. With an estimated female prevalence of 73%, let’s take a look at the waitress job description.
Job Overview: What Does a Waitress Professional Do?
The waitress job description usually includes the same responsibilities from one workplace to another. A waitress or waiter must take orders from patrons by writing food orders on slips or memorizing them. Afterward, pass on the orders to the kitchen staff, serve the food and drinks, then prepare the checks.
However, some responsibilities might be unique to each place of employment, or, for example, some waiters might also need to assist hosts and hostesses. Or even take on the role entirely and take reservations phone calls, greet customers, seat patrons, and perform some cleaning duties when necessary. Since there are so many job opportunities, it’s only natural that the conditions vary so much.
Waitress Job Duties
- Taking customers’ orders, collecting the food from the kitchen, and delivering customers their orders.
- Keeping tables and counters clean, setting up tables, and filling up napkin, sugar, salt, pepper, condiment, cream, oil, and vinegar containers, this is usually part of the busser job description but a waiter can also fulfill it if necessary.
- Setting up food stations and dining areas, and keeping service areas stocked with linens, tableware, coffee, and food.
- Presenting menus to customers, answering questions about said menus, informing patrons about the day’s specials, and making recommendations upon request.
- Knowing what the meal items contain and how they are made; as well as making sure that the food and drinks have the appropriate temperatures.
- Bringing wine selections to the customers and pouring drinks for customers.
- Preparing some food selections such as salads, cold dishes, appetizers, cold dishes, brewing coffee, portioning desserts, etc.
- Providing general customer service: making sure customers are enjoying their meals, and taking action and correcting any mealtime problems.
- Entering orders into computers, calculating meal costs and sales taxes, itemizing orders, and collecting checks and payments.
- Setting up the establishment for large parties, and assisting with planned and unplanned entertainment.
- Checking customers’ IDs to make sure they meet the minimum age requirements for drinking; as well as keeping an eye out for customers’ intoxication status.
Waitress Job Essential Skills
Especially since waiter and waitress job descriptions and duties are so similar at each place of employment, be it a VIP club, a coffee shop or cafe, a cocktail bar, a hotel, or a catering service, the skills which this employee must have are the following:
Field Knowledge. The waiter or waitress must have a good knowledge of the menu and what the foods contain. Also, a general knowledge of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages is necessary; as well as a basic knowledge of wine and beer especially.
Physical Strength. The person with this job should be able to spend very long periods of time on their feet. To have high strength and stamina levels. High dexterity and quick reflexes are also a must.
Customer Service Skills. This professional must have highly developed communication and interpersonal skills; as well as be able to quickly establish a positive rapport with the customers. He must be friendly and able to maintain amiability regardless of the situation. He must possess a certain measure of tact and courtesy, and a great measure of self-restraint in every situation.
Attention to details. Quick thinking and superior attention to details are also mandatory for performing the job. It is also necessary to have the ability to do basic math. And to pay attention to calculating the checks correctly. This professional must also be careful to take orders correctly and to bring to the table all that customers have requested.
Becoming a Waitress Professional
Being an entry level position, anyone willing and able to work can fill the waitress job. If someone wants to do very well at waitressing, there are a number of waitress job description skills and personal qualities which first they must meet in order for them to be able to do a good job. Otherwise, they will most likely not be successful at this job.
Qualifications and Training
Most of the positions filling the waiter and waitress job description are entry level. New employees usually learn their trade on the job, from their co-workers. Unless dealing with a professional, five-star or more local, official training sessions are pretty much non-existent. Otherwise, the waitress job description is pretty straightforward.
There are no formal educational requirements whatsoever for the position, and absolutely no work experience is required to start working. However, that all depends, once again, on the employer. Some of the fancier locales refuse to even consider hiring someone without enough experience for the position, while most places simply hire anyone whenever they need a new employee.
After about five years of experience, the average salary for people with the waitress job description stops growing entirely, according to payscale.com. This is why most servers choose to move on from their position fairly quickly. So, experience only counts for getting a job at more famous locales.
Experience, however, does make a pretty big impact on one’s chances to be promoted to a higher position than the waitress job. Senior or head waiter positions are often available, as the occupation has a very large quitting rate.
Generally spending time on their feet in bars, hotels, restaurants, and other drinking and food establishments, people with the job description for a waitress often have to work odd hours. Their schedules often include very early mornings, very late nights, as well as working holidays and weekends.
As many as half of all waitresses tended to work part-time in 2015, with most of the others working full-time. Interestingly, a common practice is to allow two people to share the waitress job description and responsibilities. Regardless, the position is highly stressful, perhaps one of the most stressful in the field of hospitality.
Job Outlook & Advancement Opportunities
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment rate for the profession is only estimated to grow 3% by 2024. That is much slower than the 8% average for all professions. Despite this fact, there are more than enough job opportunities to start practicing the waiter and waitress job description. The same source estimated the average salary for waiters and waitresses at $19,990 per year, or $9.61 per hour back in 2016. Despite the salary being well below the minimum wage, the bulk of the income for someone with the waitress job is made up of tips, bonuses, and overtime.
To be more specific, if somebody with the waitress job description wants the biggest salaries for the profession, they should attempt to work on a cruise ship, for an independent artist, performer, or writer, on scenic and sightseeing transportation on water and land, in an amusement park or arcade, or in traveling accommodations. These are the highest paying industries for the profession. Sadly, however, those aren’t the same industries offering the highest levels of employment.
The reason for this is the huge rate of quitting. People are leaving the industry faster than new employees are getting hired, leading to a low rate of employment and a paradoxically positive job outlook. So, while one may find plenty of opportunities to start their career as a waiter, they must settle for the mediocre workplaces where there are actual openings. The biggest attractions of the waitress job description are the tips, overtimes and bonus opportunities, which can as much as triple the average waiter salary.
One of the most frequently abandoned positions in the service and hospitality industry is the position of waitress. While the pay is pretty low, way below the minimum wage, tips and bonuses can lead to a pretty decent pay. While the waitress job description is pretty complex, it requires no educational or work experience whatsoever, so it is still one of the most sought-after entry-level occupations in the world.