How To Become A Waiter: A Guide With Duties And Skills

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 13 April 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A waiter or server often works in the food services and hospitality industry. They meet customer requirements and ensure they have a good experience at the restaurant. Learning about their skills and work environment may help you decide if this job role suits you. In this article, we discuss the skills, daily duties and responsibilities of a waiter along with the steps of how to become a waiter.

How to become a waiter

Here are the steps you can follow to learn how to become a waiter:

1. Develop the relevant skills

Many waiters develop the necessary skills on-the-job. Restaurants may provide a short training period or train new employees under experienced waiters. Fine dining restaurants or hotels may conduct classroom training to improve employee communication skills, serving techniques and customer service. On-the-job training helps waiters learn how to deal with unpleasant situations or customers.

2. Learn the local language

To become a waiter, you may migrate to different cities and towns. Learning the local language helps communicate with customers and colleagues. Learning the local language helps professionally and in your day-to-day life in a new place.

3. Look out for jobs

Restaurants and hotels often publish a requirement for waiters in newspapers, pamphlets or even as a poster outside their restaurant. It is essential to let your friends and network know you are looking for a job. Word-of-mouth may help you secure a job as a waiter. In some cases, you may directly approach a restaurant for a walk-in-interview.

4. Upskill to grow

There are various roles that a waiter can choose to advance their career, like a bartender, cashier, manager or even a purchase manager. It is essential to improve reading, writing, mathematical calculations and language skills to advance your career. Upskilling may also help improve the opportunities you receive as a waiter.

Related: Types Of Restaurant Jobs (With Salaries And Duties)

Skills required in a waiter

Here are some of the fundamental skills required in a waiter:

POS system knowledge

Sometimes, a waiter may also process customer bills and require familiarity with how POS systems work. While it is not a necessary skill, the knowledge of using a POS system may improve job opportunities. Additionally, when waiters learn to use it, they may help improve the speed of processing bills and helps during peak hours at a restaurant.

Communication

A waiter coordinates between multiple teams and individuals such as customers, kitchen, housekeeping and the cashier. A customer may provide specifications on their dish, and it is essential that a waiter effectively communicates it to the kitchen staff. Communication skill also helps a waiter coordinate with their team to address issues or raise concerns concerning the work or even a customer.

Related: How To Overcome Communication Barriers: Benefits And Tips

Customer service

Waiters are the front-line employees who interact with customers. Waiters are calm and strive to provide a good customer experience. They dress well, are polite and assist the customer with their requirements. A waiter with good customer service influences the chances of a customer coming back to the restaurant.

Related: Customer Satisfaction: How To Measure And Tips For Improvement

Detail-oriented

Waiters get trained to manage multiple tables and orders at any given time. They have a strong memory and remember details relating to the orders and customers. These details help improve customer relationships with those who visit the restaurant regularly.

Patience

A waiter interacts with various types of customers in a day. They may face customers who take time to place orders or some who may raise issues against their orders. Whatever be the situation, a waiter is polite and patient to handle the crisis. It helps ensure a good customer experience and help waiters build credibility.

Being presentable

A waiter appears with combed hair and ironed uniform. It projects the waiter's attitude towards their work and influences the customer experience. Apart from being presentable, a waiter maintains good posture, body language and uses the correct techniques to address any customer.

Active listening skills

When a customer places an order, a waiter notes it without an error. A waiter listens to customer queries, requirements and provides their suggestions. They may confirm the order with the customer before leaving the table. The order they take serves as a guide for the kitchen staff to make any adjustments while preparing the food.

Related: Active Listening Skills: Definition And Examples

What does a waiter do?

A waiter may work part-time or full-time. The job role of a waiter is highly demanding and fast-paced. They are always standing and moving around with heavy trays of dishes and drinks. A waiter is the front line of customer service in any hotel or restaurant. Therefore, it is essential to maintain hygiene and appear clean. Many restaurants may provide all waiters with a uniform.

A waiter may begin work early in the morning and work until late at night. In many restaurants, they may work on holidays and weekends too. During peak hours, a waiter ensures to serve the correct meal to every customer by coordinating with the kitchen staff and providing prompt service. The role of a waiter requires physical endurance to perform well at their job.

Daily duties and responsibilities of a waiter

A waiter is often the first person to enter a restaurant and the last person to leave it. Throughout their day, they perform several tasks to ensure the restaurant runs smoothly and customers get efficient service. Some of the daily duties and responsibilities of a waiter are:

  • greet customers and guide them to the designated tables

  • present menus and share details of daily specials or offers

  • answer questions relating to the menu and provide suggestions

  • have a thorough understanding of the menu and customer needs

  • take customer orders and inform the kitchen staff

  • help the kitchen staff in food preparation and garnish before the restaurant opens

  • pay close attention while taking customer orders

  • check-in with customers after every course to ensure they are enjoying the food

  • relay orders from the kitchen to the customer

  • remove dirty dishes, glasses and clean tables after customers leave

  • actively maintain a clean dining area by replacing plates and refilling glasses whenever required

  • arrange tables, chairs, cutlery and dishes before the restaurant opens

  • coordinate between the cashier and the customer for order payments

Where does a waiter work?

A waiter may seek full-time employment in a restaurant, hotel, bar or club. Waiters of the permitted legal age may only work at a bar or club. They may also work in small restaurants, inns or even fine-dining places. Some waiters may work part-time with caterers, providing services at corporate events or during weddings and birthday parties. Some may choose to work as a waiter while completing their education to earn pocket money.

The average salary of a waiter

The average base salary of a waiter or server is ₹14,840 per month. It varies depending on the geographical location of the restaurant or hotel and their work experience. The place of work also influences their pay, as a waiter working at a fine-dining restaurant may earn more than one serving at a cafe. A waiter may enhance their salary by gradually upskilling and getting promoted to a managerial position.

Similar job roles

There are a few similar jobs to a waiter. These require equivalent skills with a few additional skills that are a niche to the profession. Some of these jobs are:

1. Cashier

National average salary: ₹13,305 per month

Primary duties: A cashier is polite to customers and handles the cash registers at a restaurant, hotel or even a supermarket. They bill the correct items and quantities, collect payment from the customer and provide them with the necessary change. Cashiers also address customer queries, redeem coupons and resolve any billing-related issues.

2. Barista

National average salary: ₹13,688 per month

Primary duties: A barista prepares and serves hot or cold beverages in a cafe. They prepare drinks such as coffee, tea or speciality beverages as per the customer's requirement. They are also clean utensils, sanitising their workstations and providing a good customer experience.

3. Bartender

National average salary: ₹14,060 per month

Primary duties: Bartenders or mixologists work in bars and clubs to provide alcoholic beverages to customers. Before serving any customer, they verify their identification card to ensure the consumer is above the legal age for drinking. Bartenders carefully measure the beverages and mixers while preparing the drink, clean glasses and serve them to customers.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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