Top 16 Serving Skills to Include in Your Resume

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated November 26, 2022

Published July 26, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

If you are looking for a job in the hospitality industry, crafting a great resume to catch the recruiter's attention is essential. One way of doing this is by highlighting your best serving skills. These skills are soft and hard skills that signal to the employer of your ability to perform the job well and meet customers' expectations. In this article, we discuss the most important serving skills you need to include on a resume, and provide tips to develop these abilities.

Top 16 serving skills for your resume

Here are the top skills servers need to include in a resume:

1. Multitasking

Multitasking is a valuable serving skill, as the role requires you to work on several tasks efficiently. For example, servers need to listen and write customer orders correctly, serve food and drinks to several tables, answer the phones, clear tables, and take payments. Employers hiring a server look for candidates with proven multitasking skills. Multitasking is a learnable skill that you can improve with time and practice. You can do this by juggling simpler tasks and taking on more complex tasks later.

Related: Essential Multitasking Skills and How to Improve Them

2. Teamwork

Serving is best accomplished through a team, and therefore showing your ability to work in a team improves your appeal to the recruiter. For instance, servers rely on each other to provide support during busy periods. You may sometimes bring drinks or serve food to your colleagues' tables. You also need to collaborate with other employees such as chefs in order to meet customer orders.

3. Time management and prioritization

Knowing how to manage time and prioritize tasks is a crucial skill for a server. Time management and prioritization skills enable you to determine what tasks are urgent and which ones can wait. Task management allows you to provide efficient service to customers and reduce stress because of overwhelming workloads. Time management also allows you to achieve a balance between work and home life. To improve your time management skill, learn to craft a to-do list, starting with the most important and most urgent tasks. You may also allocate time to tasks.

Read more: 8 Time Management Interview Questions and Example Answers

4. Communication

Communication in the service industry is important as it enables you to pass and receive messages from customers and colleagues. You need to listen actively to customer orders and communicate the same to your colleagues. You also need to communicate frequently with colleagues to solve customer problems professionally. Improving communication skills involves practising active listening skills and understanding both colleagues and guests.

Read more: 11 Examples of Effective Probing Questions to Improve Your Communication Skills

5. Adaptive thinking

The service industry is dynamic, with customers expecting consistently high levels of service every time they visit a restaurant or a bar. You can improve your adaptive thinking by brainstorming with colleagues and developing creative solutions for customer needs. Adaptive thinking is essential when providing food and drink suggestions to guests, and adapting to changing customer demands.

6. Interpersonal skills

Servers need strong interpersonal skills to relate well with clients, customers, and their colleagues. To improve your interpersonal skills, practice active listening, ask for feedback, and develop an awareness of how you relate with other people. Serving is an excellent career for outgoing, social people, and those skills closely relate to interpersonal abilities.

Read more: Active Listening Skills: A Key To Effective Communication in the Workplace

7. Numeracy

Numeracy skill is the ability to work with numbers. This is an important serving skill that enables you to understand and do basic math, such as calculating customer bills and returning the correct change . To improve numeracy skills, practise arithmetic and learn how to use a calculator to determine percentages and divide bills. Aim to develop these skills to such a degree that you can do basic math calculations in your head to work more efficiently.

8. Integrity

Servers need integrity as they deal with clients and manage money. For instance, integrity is crucial when calculating a shift's or the day's total revenues. Servers typically receive tips from clients, and they need to account for the business earnings separately and honestly. Hone your integrity by doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.

9. Persuasion

Persuasion is an important serving skill, as you and the company benefit from upselling menu items. You can also use these skills when you need to persuade a guest to accept an alternative meal or beverage if the restaurant has run out of the guest's first choice. Employers value persuasion skills, as it may lead to happier and satisfied customers.

10. Resilience

Resilience is the ability to get unpleasant experiences behind you and not letting it affect your work. The service industry is fast-paced, and you may experience unplanned challenges and difficult situations. For instance, you may receive criticism from your supervisor or a customer may give you a poor rating. Resilience is a valuable serving skill since you meet with many people, and you may occasionally encounter challenging customers.

11. Food safety

Food handling technique is an important skill for servers, as customers' experience may be affected by the food. Customers also deserve proper hygiene, and servers must strive to maintain the highest standards of cleanliness and sanitation. To improve your food handling techniques, you may take a relevant in-person or online course in catering and food safety. Most restaurants don't require these courses for front-of-house serving staff, but can be an asset.

12. Alcoholic beverage regulation

If you are looking for a job in an establishment serving alcoholic drinks, you need to show your knowledge of relevant alcohol regulations. Some jurisdictions have rules regarding customers' suitability for purchase of alcohol, such as age. You may learn the different regulations on the regulatory body website and publications. You also need to stay up to date as the regulations may change from time to time.

13. Attention to detail

Paying attention to details such as customer orders is an important skill as it may affect overall customer satisfaction. Some customer orders are complex and may include particular details such as food allergies. If you mistake an order, you may disappoint or even harm a customer, which could be costly to the employer. Improve your attention to detail through active listening, writing details, and asking for clarity when in doubt.

14. Physical stamina

Working in the service industry often requires you to be on your feet and moving most of the time. Shifts may be long and busy, requiring you to draw on your energy reserves and give your best the entire time. It may require you to lift and carry heavy food trays, crates, and supplies. Regular exercise is essential to developing or maintaining your physical endurance.

15. Dependability

Employees in the service industry mostly work in shifts. Some shifts may see high customer numbers overwhelming the servers on duty. To be dependable means willingness to help when shift become busier than expected. It may also require you to work during holidays and weekends, since restaurants attract higher customer numbers during these periods. Dependability is an essential skill as it enables your employer to count on you to save a situation when called upon.

16. Point-of-sale system

Different establishments use different point-of-sale systems. Having knowledge of operating point of sale system is a skill that may increase your appeal to the prospective employer. Operating a point of sale system may involve assigning tables to customers, taking and submitting orders, processing customer payments, and giving change. Knowledge of any point of sale system may prepare you to operate a different system, as this skill is transferrable.

Related: Bartending Skills to Include on Your Resume

Tips to improve your serving skills

Here are some more tips to help you improve your serving skills:

Learn about the menu

Some customers may have detailed questions about menu items or strict dietary requirements. Such situations demand that you improve your knowledge of the menu, as customers may rely on you to make their decision. Knowledge of the menu enables you to give recommendations, how much they cost, signature dish, and the ingredients in different foods. You can also attend to customers deserving special attention, such as vegetarians or children.

Know your guests

Customers are more likely to come back if they receive personalized attention and service. Typically, customers like to order the same food every time they visit the establishment. Knowing customers by name and anticipating their orders is a great way of achieving customer satisfaction and impressing your employer.

Pursue certification

You can pursue relevant certifications in the food and beverage industry. Becoming certified increases your employability, as employers are likely to be impressed by your commitment to professionalism. You also increase your chances of earning a higher income. If you work in an establishment that serves alcohol, you need the relevant provincial or territorial service certification. For example, Ontario's SmartServe or Alberta's ProServe. You can also consider optional courses like food safety certificates, cocktail crafting classes, or fine dining lessons.

Master the steps of service

Study and internalize the steps of service, detailing the establishments' interactions with guests. Steps of service define the sequence of steps servers need to take the moment a guest comes in, makes an order, and the time you need to deliver the order. Understanding the steps allows you to provide efficient service to clients and maintain a positive image of the establishment.

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