Waiters and Waitresses: Salary, career path, job outlook, education and more
- Education Required
- No formal education is required to become a waiter or waitress.
- Training Required
- Most waiters and waitresses learn through short-term on-the-job-training, usually lasting a few weeks. Trainees typically work with an experienced waiter or waitress, who teaches them basic serving techniques.
- Job Outlook
The projected percent change in employment from 2016 to 2026: 7% (As fast as average)
(The average growth rate for all occupations is 7 percent.)
- Median pay: How much do Waiters and Waitresses make?
- $19,990 Annual Salary
- $9.61 per hour
Waiters and waitresses take orders and serve food and beverages to customers in dining establishments.
What do Waiters and Waitresses do?
Waiters and waitresses typically do the following:
- Greet customers, present menus, and explain daily specials to customers
- Answer questions related to the menu and offer item suggestions
- Take food and beverage orders from customers
- Relay food and beverage orders to the kitchen staff
- Prepare drinks and food garnishes
- Carry trays of food or drinks from the kitchen to the dining tables
- Remove dirty dishes and glasses, and clean tables after customers finish meals
- Prepare itemized checks and take payments from customers
- Set up dining areas, refill condiments, and stock service areas
Waiters and waitresses, also called servers, are responsible for ensuring that customers have a satisfying dining experience. The specific duties of servers vary with the establishment in which they work.
In casual-dining restaurants that offer simple menu items, such as salads, soups, and sandwiches, servers provide fast, efficient, and courteous service. In fine-dining restaurants, where more complicated meals are typically prepared and served over several courses, waiters and waitresses emphasize personal, attentive treatment at a more leisurely pace. For example, they may offer a wine recommendation with certain foods.
Servers may meet with managers and chefs before each shift to discuss the menu or specials, review ingredients for potential food allergies, or talk about any food safety concerns. They also discuss coordination between the kitchen and the dining room and review any customer service issues from the previous day or shift.
In establishments where alcohol is served, waiters and waitresses verify the age of customers and ensure that they meet legal requirements for the purchase of alcohol.
Careers for Waiters and Waitresses
- Cocktail servers
- Cocktail waiters
- Cocktail waitresses
- Dining car servers
- Restaurant servers
- Wait staff
- Wine stewards