Restaurant Server Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

A Restaurant Server, or Food Server, is a person who serves drinks and food to customers in a restaurant, cafe, coffee shop, bar or hotel. These professionals can also work at large functions, such as music festivals or sporting events. Their duties include welcoming and seating guests, taking their orders and providing them with friendly and efficient service.


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Restaurant Server duties and responsibilities

The way in which a Restaurant Server welcomes and serves a guest will, to a large extent, set the tone and be a deciding factor in if a client has an enjoyable dining experience. Here are a few other typical day-to-day duties and responsibilities of a Restaurant Server:

  • Polishing cutlery and glasses and setting tables
  • Providing guests with menus and taking their drink order
  • Informing guests of menu recommendations and specials and taking their food order
  • Serving food and drink orders speedily and clearing tables constantly
  • Checking if guests are satisfied on a regular basis
  • Ensuring that clients’ bills are correct and handling payment
  • Effectively dealing with any client concerns and involving management when necessary
  • Tidying and cleaning the dining area after closing time and cashing up


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What does a Restaurant Server do?

Since Restaurant Servers are front-of-house staff and often the first people to greet guests, their main responsibility is to ensure that clients are happy at all times. In addition, Restaurant Servers need to know their menus and have enough knowledge to answer basic questions on individual dishes. Depending on the establishment, they may also offer advice on food and wine pairing. Apart from working in normal restaurants, bars, and coffee shops, these professionals can train to work as Sommeliers or specialise in silver service.


Restaurant Server skills and qualifications

As Restaurant Servers work with people all day long, whether they’re taking orders from managers, explaining a client’s request to the Chef or making recommendations, they should ideally be outgoing and friendly people who enjoy social interaction. Here are a few other skills and qualifications that Restaurant Servers need to be successful at their job:

  • Excellent customer skills so that clients feel special and have a memorable experience
  • Stamina to withstand the long hours on their feet
  • The ability to maintain a calm composure when things get busy
  • Good communication skills in order to attend to the needs of clients and work effectively in a team 
  • Basic computer literacy to be able to work on a point-of-sale system
  • A good memory for orders
  • Good multi-tasking skills to provide excellent service to multiple clients simultaneously
  • Presentable appearance and good hygiene


Restaurant Server experience requirements

Candidates applying for normal Restaurant Server positions typically don’t need any previous experience. As long as candidates have a friendly attitude and a good work ethic, most employers are happy to hire them and provide in-house training. This includes learning the point-of-sale system, getting to know the menu and working as a Runner for a few shifts to gain on-the-job experience. However, those who want to work as a Head Server or at a fine-dining establishment, for instance, may require experience in working in a similar environment or experience in overseeing a team.


Restaurant Server education and training requirements

Typically, Restaurant Servers need no formal education or training, but some employers may expect decent grades in basic GCSEs. However, there are many different options open to candidates, including a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) in a relevant area. Candidates could, for instance, opt for a Level 1 Award in Introduction to Employment in the Hospitality Industry or a Level 1 Certificate in Food and Beverage Service. In addition, candidates may also gain the necessary knowledge and experience through an intermediate apprenticeship.


Restaurant Server salary expectations

According to Indeed Salaries, the average salary for a Restaurant Server is £9,25 per hour. Salaries vary depending on factors like location, industry and specific position.


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Restaurant Server job description FAQs


What qualities do successful Restaurant Servers have?

Restaurant Servers who excel at their job are typically outgoing and energetic people. They generally have a genuine wish to provide their clients with a pleasant and memorable experience and also have the ability to remain friendly and calm during busy times.


Does a Restaurant Server prepare coffee beverages and drinks?

Typically, a Barista or a Bartender prepares coffee beverages and drinks. However, in smaller establishments, Restaurant Servers may need to prepare their own drink orders.


What hours do Restaurant Servers work per week?

The hours vary greatly for this occupation, as many Restaurant Servers are part-time workers and may not work the same shifts weekly. Those with full-time positions can work up to 48 hours per week on average. The job often requires night shifts and working on weekends and bank holidays.

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