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Food Server Job Description: Top Duties and Requirements

A Food Server, or Waitstaff, serves food and drinks to customers in restaurants. Their duties include recoding meal and beverage orders, describing special menu items to patrons, and processing customers’ payments.

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Food Server duties and responsibilities

Duties and responsibilities of a Food Server vary from place to place. To excel as a Food Server, they must provide a positive customer service experience by greeting guests and creating a welcoming atmosphere. Some of a Food Server’s day-to-day duties include:

  • Offering a warm welcome to customers and directing them to their respective seating areas
  • Accurately relaying customers’ orders and specific requests to the kitchen staff
  • Accommodating families by providing booster seats, children’s menus, and high chairs
  • Informing customers of daily special menu items
  • Ensuring customers are receiving the correct orders before delivering meals to the tables
  • Taking food and beverage orders and relaying them to the Cooks
  • Presenting guests with their bills and processing payments
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What does a Food Server do?

Food servers work in dining establishments, acting as the main contact between Cooks and customers. They’re responsible for providing a satisfying customer service experience by bringing patrons their drinks, meals, condiments, and other requested items. If the customer receives food or beverages they didn’t order or has comments about their meal, the Food Server communicates the message to the Cook and apologizes for any inconvenience. Food Servers clear dishes, silverware, and glassware out of guests’ way as they finish meals. When they’re done eating, the Food Server provides customers with the bill and processes cash or credit card purchases.

Food Server skills and qualifications

There are a few key strengths a Food Server should have to meet guests’ needs and provide a one-of-a-kind dining experience. Skills and qualifications a successful Food Server should possess include:

  • Strong memory to accurately recall menu items and their ingredients
  • Polite and professional attitude towards customers and team members
  • Excellent verbal communication abilities to engage in conversation and friendly rapport with customers
  • Ability to quickly and logically solve problems that might arise
  • Physical stamina for extended periods in a fast-paced environment
  • Flexibility to work varying shift schedules, including weekends, nights, and holidays
  • Effective attention to detail to ensure customer orders are correct

Food Server experience requirements

Most positions typically don’t require candidates with extensive experience, but some may prefer those with one to two years in a host or food server role. Candidates with experience working with people in a customer service or hospitality setting may also stand out. Impressive candidates usually have experience communicating with customers on a daily basis and collaborating with team members.

Food Server education and training requirements

Typically, most Food Server positions don’t require pre-existing training or a formal educational background, though some may prefer or require a high school diploma. Some upscale dining facilities may prefer candidates with an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in a related field, like hospitality or communications. Food Servers can hold certifications in various food handling safety techniques, which can also be earned through on-the-job training.

Food Server Salary Expectations

According to Indeed Salaries, the average pay for a Food Server in Canada is $17.55 per hour. This figure typically varies depending on the geographical location, company pay rates, the employee’s experience level.

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Food Server job description FAQs

Who does a Food Server report to?

Food Servers generally report to the Restaurant Manager, who assigns them tables, schedules their shifts, and gives them any other tasks to complete. If a Food Server needs assistance with a disgruntled guest, the Restaurant Manager will address and resolve the situation. Restaurant Managers will monitor Food Servers’ performance and provide feedback and guidance on ways to improve.

What's the difference between a Food Server and a Host?

Though they both interact with customers and work together on a team, there are a few key differences between Food Servers and Hosts. A Restaurant Host is usually the first employee customers see, as they are stationed near the door and welcome guests. After learning how many are in their party, the Host will lead customers to an open table and distribute menus. The Food Server then greets the customers and assists them throughout the rest of their dining experience.

Hosts rarely take customers’ orders but may sometimes help serve food or process payments during busier shifts. Smaller establishments may not have Hosts on staff, so the Food Server may also greet guests and lead them to their tables before taking their order.

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