Career summary

Details for Waiters and Waitresses


Description

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

Tasks

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Prepare checks that itemize and total meal costs and sales taxes.
  • Present menus to patrons and answer questions about menu items, making recommendations upon request.
  • Remove dishes and glasses from tables or counters and take them to kitchen for cleaning.
  • Serve food or beverages to patrons, and prepare or serve specialty dishes at tables as required.
  • Clean tables or counters after patrons have finished dining.
  • Prepare tables for meals, including setting up items such as linens, silverware, and glassware.
  • Explain how various menu items are prepared, describing ingredients and cooking methods.
  • Assist host or hostess by answering phones to take reservations or to-go orders, and by greeting, seating, and thanking guests.
  • Escort customers to their tables.
  • Perform cleaning duties, such as sweeping and mopping floors, vacuuming carpet, tidying up server station, taking out trash, or checking and cleaning bathroom.
  • Inform customers of daily specials.
  • Prepare hot, cold, and mixed drinks for patrons, and chill bottles of wine.
  • Roll silverware, set up food stations, or set up dining areas to prepare for the next shift or for large parties.
  • Stock service areas with supplies such as coffee, food, tableware, and linens.
  • Bring wine selections to tables with appropriate glasses, and pour the wines for customers.
  • Fill salt, pepper, sugar, cream, condiment, and napkin containers.
  • Describe and recommend wines to customers.
  • Perform food preparation duties such as preparing salads, appetizers, and cold dishes, portioning desserts, and brewing coffee.
  • Provide guests with information about local areas, including giving directions.
  • Garnish and decorate dishes in preparation for serving.

Interests

  • 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 - These occupations usually require a high school diploma.
  • Training - Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.
  • Experience - Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is usually needed. For example, a teller would benefit from experience working directly with the public.

Knowledge

  • 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.

Skills

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