CareerShip Home
About CareerShip
Contact Us
Mapping Your Future
Visit the Featured Career Match My Career Interests
Review Careers by Clusters Career Search

Details for Waiters and Waitresses


Take orders and serve food and beverages to patrons at tables in dining establishment.


  • Check patrons' identification to ensure that they meet minimum age requirements for consumption of alcoholic beverages.
  • Collect payments from customers.
  • Write patrons' food orders on order slips, memorize orders, or enter orders into computers for transmittal to kitchen staff.
  • Take orders from patrons for food or beverages.
  • Check with customers to ensure that they are enjoying their meals and take action to correct any problems.
  • Serve food or beverages to patrons, and prepare or serve specialty dishes at tables as required.
  • Prepare checks that itemize and total meal costs and sales taxes.
  • Remove dishes and glasses from tables or counters, and take them to kitchen for cleaning.
  • Present menus to patrons and answer questions about menu items, making recommendations upon request.
  • Inform customers of daily specials.
  • Clean tables or counters after patrons have finished dining.
  • Prepare hot, cold, and mixed drinks for patrons, and chill bottles of wine.
  • Explain how various menu items are prepared, describing ingredients and cooking methods.
  • Prepare tables for meals, including setting up items such as linens, silverware, and glassware.
  • Perform food preparation duties such as preparing salads, appetizers, and cold dishes, portioning desserts, and brewing coffee.
  • Stock service areas with supplies such as coffee, food, tableware, and linens.
  • Garnish and decorate dishes in preparation for serving.
  • Fill salt, pepper, sugar, cream, condiment, and napkin containers.
  • Escort customers to their tables.
  • Describe and recommend wines to customers.
  • Bring wine selections to tables with appropriate glasses, and pour the wines for customers.


  • Realistic - Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
  • Social - Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.
  • Enterprising - Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.
  • Conventional - Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Education, Training, Experience

  • Education - Some of these occupations may require a high school diploma or GED certificate.
  • Training - Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few days to a few months of training. Usually, an experienced worker could show you how to do the job.
  • Experience - Little or no previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, a person can become a waiter or waitress even if he/she has never worked before.


  • Food Production - Knowledge of techniques and equipment for planting, growing, and harvesting food products (both plant and animal) for consumption, including storage/handling techniques.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.


Related Careers

  • Bartenders
  • Cashiers
  • Combined Food Preparation and Serving Workers, Including Fast Food
  • Counter and Rental Clerks
  • Food Preparation Workers
  • Locker Room, Coatroom, and Dressing Room Attendants
  • Parts Salespersons
  • Stock Clerks, Sales Floor
Wages for this career
America's Career InfoNet