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Waiter Job Description: Top Duties and Requirements

A Waiter, or a Server, works at a coffee shop, cafe, restaurant, bar, tavern, club, or special event to serve visitors and make sure they have a fun and relaxing experience. Their duties include taking orders from customers, serving drinks and food, and answering questions about menu options.

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Waiter duties and responsibilities

Waiters encourage guests to spend more time at restaurants or other establishments and make additional purchases. They resolve conflicts with customers or escalate to management as appropriate, and they communicate new orders to Cooks and other kitchen staff. Waiters sometimes prepare to-go orders as well. Some other duties and responsibilities in a Waiter job description may include:

  • Checking on customers and suggesting additional items
  • Watching for new visitors and taking their orders quickly
  • Generating bills for customers and collecting payments
  • Disposing of expired condiments and ingredients
  • Troubleshooting problems with equipment and letting management know when repairs are needed
  • Mopping floors, taking out the trash, and taking care of similar tasks when needed
  • Ensuring orders are accurate before delivering them to customers
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Waiter Job Description Examples:

What does a Waiter do?

Waiters make drinks, clean tables, prepare seating for new customers, keep track of inventory, let management know when to order supplies, and have conversations with customers. They get to know regular visitors and their orders, and they offer suggestions when people aren’t sure about what they will choose. Waiters also restock supplies, serve customers quickly, and help the businesses run smoothly. They often operate coffeemakers, ice cream dispensers, blenders, cash registers, and other equipment. Waiters can work full-time or part-time, and more experienced employees sometimes train new hires.

Waiter skills and qualifications

Successful Waiters usually have friendly personalities, and can get along well with many different types of people. They are polite and professional while serving customers and encouraging them to try out the newest selections in the establishment’s food or drinks menu. Waiters are often standing for long periods of time and doing physical work like cleaning floors and moving boxes. They also often carry hot or cold plates, or large trays with food and drinks to customers. Many establishments require uniforms, specific dress codes, or name tags for Waiters. Some top skills and qualifications for Waiters include:

  • Outstanding customer service skills
  • Good written and verbal communication skills
  • An understanding of basic math
  • Knowledge of food safety and its proper handling to avoid the spread of viruses and bacteria
  • Familiarity with local food safety regulations
  • Excellent time management and organizational skills

Waiter experience requirements

Most Waiter jobs do not require experience, but candidates must be familiar with basic tasks such as washing dishes and cleaning tables. Though it is not uncommon for positions to state a preference for people with experience as a Waiter or Waitress, Server, Host or Hostess, Cashier, or Crew Member.

Waiter education and training requirements

Most Waiter jobs require at least some secondary school along with on-the-job training and food safety certification. Waiters must be familiar with the ingredients in menu items and how they’re prepared. Positions at gourmet restaurants sometimes require completion of a one- or two-year apprenticeship program and a certification. A candidate having a provincial certification (e.g. Smart Serve, ProServe, ServeIt Right Saskatchewan) to serve alcoholic beverages to customers may have an advantage applying for this position, though most Waiters can attain this certification after being hired.

Waiter salary expectations

According to Indeed Salaries, the average salary for a Waiter in Canada is $13.95 per hour. Individual pay levels vary depending on experience, education and skill levels, the company, and the location.

Job description samples for similar positions

If a Waiter isn’t exactly what your business is looking for, here are some similar job description samples that could satisfy your needs:

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Waiter job description FAQs

What is a typical day like for a Waiter?

Waiters can serve people during breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Some work at coffee shops that open early in the morning, while others work at clubs or bars that are busiest late at night. Most Waiters work part-time, but full-time positions are not uncommon. Some Waiters help open and close restaurants and cafes. They make sure that tables have silverware and condiments, and they help store ingredients and shut down equipment before closing. They may also set up and remove outdoor awnings, tables, and chairs.

How is a Waiter different from a Busboy?

Busboys, or Bussers, assist Waiters by bringing dirty dishes back to the kitchen and cleaning tables after customers leave. They allow busy restaurants to get tables ready for new guests as fast as possible, allowing them to serve more people per hour. In establishments without Busboys, Waiters take care of these tasks. Busboys and Waiters work together, and they both report to a General Manager, Assistant Manager, owner, or Shift Supervisor.

What makes a good Waiter job description?

To write an outstanding Waiter job description, include an overview of your company and its culture, history, and values. Mention the location where new employees will work and the experience and skills required. Keep the description easy-to-read and concise, and let people know any benefits that come with it, such as discounts on food or drinks.

Job Description Examples

Need help writing a job description for a specific role? Use these job description examples to create your next great job posting. Or if you’re ready to hire, post your job on Indeed.

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