In a full-service restaurant, a food server, also known as a waiter or waitress, typically takes customer orders for food and beverages and then delivers the requested items. A food server’s responsibilities may include both preparing and serving food in a variety of settings. Fast food restaurants, cafes, and hotels are just a few examples. A food server’s pay is made up of an hourly wage and tips from customers, with tips typically accounting for the majority of his or her earnings.
The job responsibilities of a food server can vary depending on the location. His or her basic responsibilities in a restaurant, for example, usually begin with greeting customers as they arrive or as they are seated at tables. Servers may hand out menus and describe the restaurant’s signature dishes, as well as answer any specific questions that customers may have. They take orders for food and beverages and pass them on to the kitchen staff. They may follow up with customers after serving the prepared foods to ensure a pleasant dining experience. Dishes are frequently cleared from the table servers. Customers are usually presented with bills, and payments are frequently processed.
Many restaurant waiters and waitresses work in demanding and sometimes stressful situations. They are almost always on their feet, and they frequently have to carry food trays and other heavy items, which necessitates some physical strength and coordination. Servers in busy restaurants may be responsible for several tables of customers, and they must either write everything down or remember specific requests.
In other settings, the job requirements for a food server may differ. Unlike servers at full-service restaurants, employees at most fast food restaurants and cafes are frequently required to prepare and serve food to customers. Many of them work behind a counter, where they may be responsible for assembling sandwiches or meals, as well as preparing any requested beverages. Hotels, hospitals, cafeterias, and concession stands are some other places where food may be served.
The food service industry employs a large number of young people, particularly teenagers. In most cases, only a high school diploma is required to work as a waiter or waitress. Many employers demand that employees be of a certain age and have completed at least some high school. New servers are usually given on-the-job training, during which they learn customer service tips as well as food handling and safety procedures. A pleasant personality, attention to detail, and the ability to follow instructions are usually other traits or skills required of servers.
Food service is typically part-time work, which makes it ideal for students or as a supplement to another job. In full-service restaurants, potential earnings typically include an hourly wage plus tips for servers. Unless the person works as a server full-time, the tips may not be sufficient to support him or her. Another factor to consider is that most employee benefits are not available to part-time employees. As a result, many food servers work multiple jobs.