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Waitress Job Description

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The main duties of waiters and waitresses include taking orders from customers and serving food and beverages in different restaurants and other dining establishments.

Depending on a place where they work, they may have other responsibilities, which can make their job even harder.

Since about 73% of people who take such a job are females, we will cover the job details of a waitress in this article.

What Does the Job of a Waitress Include?

Usually, the primary responsibilities of a waitress are the same in different workplaces.

Waiters or waitresses should take orders from customers by writing them down or memorizing them.

Then, they pass the orders to the kitchen staff, serve food and beverages to the customers, and prepare checks.

In different places of employment, some responsibilities of a waitress can be unique.

For example, they may assist hosts and hostesses.

They can even be responsible for the entire process, from taking reservations, greeting and seating customers, to cleaning the tables.

There are a lot of job offers in this area, so the duties vary greatly.

Job of a waitress

Responsibilities of a Waitress

  • Taking orders from customers, delivering food and beverages to the customers from the kitchen or bar.
  • Cleaning tables and counters, setting up tables and refilling the necessities such as napkins, salt, pepper, cream, etc.
  • Fixing dining areas and food stations, and keeping the stock of tableware, linens, coffee, food in the service areas.
  • Showing the menu to the customers, informing them about the specials, answering questions about the menu, and recommend items upon request.
  • Being aware of the ingredients and methods of preparation of the dishes, as well as ensuring the right temperature of food and beverages.
  • Bringing and pouring drinks to customers.
  • Preparing some dishes such as appetizers, salads, cold dishes, coffee, etc.
  • Providing good customer service ensuring that customers enjoy their meals and solve any mealtime issues that may arise.
  • Keeping the list of orders entering data into computers, calculate costs for meals and taxes, prepare checks, and collect payments.
  • Preparing the place for large parties, and assisting with entertainment program.
  • Checking the IDs of the customers to ensure they are of age for drinking, and look after the customers for intoxication level.

Fundamental Skills

Since the work of the waiters and waitresses are very similar in various workplaces, they have to possess the following essential skills:

Field knowledge:

The waitresses must be well aware of the items on the menu, what they are made of and how.

Besides, they should have knowledge of non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks, including beer and wine selections and details about them.

Physical fitness:

Waiters and waitresses should be able to work most part of their day on their feet.

So physical fitness and strong stamina are essential as well as quick reflexes and high dexterity.

Customer service skills:

Individuals who wish to work as a waiter or waitress should have strong communication and interpersonal skills.

They should be able to quickly establish a positive connection with customers.

They should be friendly and be able to keep it in this manner no matter what the situation is.

They should be tactful and respectful, as well as have good self-restraint.

Attention to details:

Essential skills for this job include quick thinking and strong attention to details.

Basic mathematical skills are also necessary since the employees should calculate checks correctly.

They should also be attentive when taking orders and ensure that they deliver everything the customers requested to the table.

How to Become a Waitress

The position of a waitress is entry-level, so anyone able and willing to take this job can become one.

To succeed at this job, the candidates should acquire certain skills and personal qualities.

Education and Qualifications

Most of the waiter or waitress jobs are entry-level.

Mostly, newcomers learn on the job from their fellow employees.

Unless a certain level of professionalism is needed, there’s pretty much no specialized training.

The job of a waitress is pretty straightforward.

Officially, there are no educational requirements for this job, and the candidates can be hired with zero experience.

However, different employers can set different requirements.

Regular places usually hire employees without any experience when they need a new employee.

More fancy places prefer hiring applicants with some background.

Working Experience

Experience is essential for a waiter or a waitress mostly to get a job at a fancier or more famous place.

Other than that, with five years of experience, the salary of these employees stops raising, as PayScale reports.

For this reason, the majority of servers move to other positions pretty quickly.

However, if you’re counting on a promotion to a higher position, the experience is a big deal.

Due to a high quitting rate, there are usually senior or head waiter positions available.

Work Hours

Generally, depending on the work hour of establishment where they work, waiters and waitresses work odd hours.

Their shifts can be scheduled for late nights or early mornings as well as holidays and weekends.

As of 2015, it’s been reported that about half of all waitresses were working part-time, while others worked full-time hours.

It is also a common practice when two people share a position of a waitress.

Regardless of the schedule, this job can be stressful, probably one of the most stressful jobs in the hospitality industry.

Career Outlook and Opportunities

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the employment rate of the waiters and waitresses is expected to rise by 3% by 2024.

That is slower than other professions, which are on average 8%.

Even though, there are plenty of job openings for waiters and waitresses.

The average salary in 2016 was reported to be $19,990 annually, or $9.61 an hour.

Though the salary is below the minimum wage, waiters and waitresses make decent income with bonuses, tips, and overtime.

If the waitress is looking for a higher income, it’s smart to consider working on a cruise ship, for performers, writers, or independent artists, in traveling accommodations, etc.

These and other industries pay the most for this job.

Unfortunately, the rate of employment in these industries is lower.

This is due to the high quitting level.

People move on from the industry faster than new employees come over.

And this leads to the low employment level but with a positive job outlook.

So if you’re looking into the job of a waitress or waiter, there are plenty of opportunities to start.

However, you should look in the mediocre places with actual job openings.

The biggest advantages of the job are bonuses, tips, and overtime, which can amount to three times as much as the average salary of a waiter.


Waitress’s job is one of the most frequently abandoned positions in the hospitality industry.

Even though the payment is below the minimum wage and is pretty low, with tips, overtime, and bonuses, you can make decent money.

The job can be complex, but it doesn’t require special education and experience to start.

That makes it one of the most demanded entry-level jobs in the world.

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