Restaurant Servers process customers’ orders to ensure all items are prepared properly and in a timely manner. They are in charge of serving these orders to their assigned tables and must also observe diners to ensure they are satisfied with food and service, respond to additional requests, and determine when the meal has been completed in order to clear the table.
Servers are employed in restaurants, hotels, bars, taverns, private clubs, banquet halls, and similar establishments.
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of common tasks Servers are required to complete.
- Greeting and serving customers once they’re seated:
- Presenting and describing menus and daily specials, making recommendations, and answering any questions regarding food and beverages;
- recommending wines that complement customers’ meals, as well as presenting, opening, and pouring the wine;
- checking the identification of customers to ensure that they meet the minimum age requirement for the purchase of alcohol;
- taking customers’ food and beverage orders and relay them to the kitchen and/or bar staff;
- serving food and beverages, making sure customers have everything they need to enjoy their meals;
- preparing and serving specialty foods at customers’ tables, when required (e.g. carving meats, boning fish and fowl, preparing flaming dishes and desserts);
- presenting the bill to customers and accepting their payment, or referring them to the cashier; and
- thanking and greeting guests with genuine appreciation before they leave.
- Being the liaison between the kitchen and the dining room in order to ensure that a common vision is shared.
- Coordinating an entire restaurant station and communicating with both front and back-of-house personnel to provide a dining experience that meets or even exceeds customer expectations.
- Meeting with Managers and Chefs before each shift to discuss the menu or the specials, reviewing ingredients forpotential food allergies, or talking about any food safety concerns:
- Discussing coordination between the kitchen and the dining room, as well as reviewing any customer service issues, if any, from the previous day or shift.
- Assisting the bus person in stocking, removing, and resetting dishes and silverware between courses, as well as cleaning and resetting vacated tables.
- Communicating with customers:
- Getting feedback from customers in order to ensure satisfaction with both food and service;
- handling customers’ concerns with the support of the management team;
- anticipating and addressing customers’ service needs; and
- ensuring all information provided to the customer is current and accurate.
- Maintaining a warm and inviting environment for the customers’ enjoyment at all times, ensuring the best experience, so that they always come back for the first class service.
- Managing administrative operations:
- Accepting and processing payment from guests and/or patrons for food and beverage; and
- using MICROS or any other point of sale software to record orders.
- Following all company safety and security policies and procedures at all times:
- Completing safety training and certifications;
- reporting accidents, injuries, and unsafe work conditions to the Manager; and
- following all safety and sanitation policies when handling food and beverages.
- Cleaning and setting up dining areas, refilling condiments, rolling silverware into napkins, and stocking service areas.
- Greeting customers, presenting menus, and explaining daily specials.
- Answering questions or doubts related to menu items.
- Taking food and beverage orders from customers.
- Relaying food and beverage orders to the kitchen staff and/or bartenders.
- Carrying trays of food or drinks from the kitchen to the dining tables.
- Removing dirty dishes and glasses, and cleaning tables after customers finish their meals.
- Presenting the bill and taking payments from customers.
The average Server salary is $25,856 per year or $13 per hour. This is around 0.8 times less than the Median wage of the country. Entry level positions start at $18,000 while most experienced workers make up to $36,000. These results are based on 1,128 salaries extracted from job descriptions.
- Sincere desire to please others and provide the best service possible:
- Being enthusiastic, outgoing, positive, and upbeat.
- Interpersonal and communication skills:
- Communicating clearly, especially verbally, in order to create a clear and communicative environment with customers;
- displaying strong customer service skills;
- being able to build professional relationships with customers in order to create a familiar atmosphere;
- speaking with customers or staff using clear, professional, and respectful language at all times; and
- being able to deal with a diverse group of people in potentially adversarial situations using a calm, polite, tactful, discreet and effective approach.
- Organizational and time management skills:
- Having strong multitasking skills; being able to work under pressure in a dynamic, fast-paced environment;
- being highly responsible and reliable; and
- being organized, detail oriented, and structured.
- Analytical, problem-solving, and decision-making skills:
- Identifying issues and resolving problems in a timely manner; and
- being able to analyze customers in order to make the proper recommendations.
- Self-motivated, decisive, responsible, and always driven to provide the best service.
- Motor coordination and physical strength:
- Being able to spend an entire work shift on their feet carrying heavy trays, dishes, and drinks; and
- moving, lifting, carrying, pushing, pulling, and placing objects weighing less than or equal to 25 pounds without assistance.
Aside from the skills listed above, Servers also need to focus all of their attention on the customer in order to provide the best service possible. Since most Server jobs are at entry level, neither formal education nor previous experience are required for this position, but general knowledge about food and beverages, especially wine, is always preferred. However, workers usually learn through short-term, on-the-job training.
Since Servers are the front line of customer service in food and drinking establishments, a neat appearance is always important. Those who work in fine-dining and upscale restaurants may be required to wear uniforms, including ties or aprons, which are typically provided by their employer.
Servers are responsible for ensuring that customers have a satisfying dining experience and their specific duties vary considerably with the establishment in which they work. In casual-dining restaurants that offer simple dishes, such as salads, soups, and sandwiches, Servers are expected to provide fast, efficient, and courteous service. On the other hand, in fine-dining restaurants, where more complicated meals are prepared and are often served over several courses, Servers need to provide more formal service. They emphasize on a more personal and attentive treatment at a more leisurely pace. Servers must be able to work flexible schedules, including weekends, nights, and holidays, as well as to stand and walk for an 8 to 12-hour long shift.