Restaurant employment covers a wide array of duties, responsibilities, and positions. Servers and food service employees are expected to provide prompt and courteous service to guests.
What to Expect
Restaurant employment covers a broad range of duties. The primary goal of any restaurant employee is to provide quality service to guests. They serve food, take orders, seat guests, make drinks, and anything else as needed or requested.
Servers account for the majority of these employees. They have the most interaction with the guests. Their duties include;
- Taking orders
- Explaining menu items
- Serve food
- Answer any questions
- Set tables
Servers will also be responsible for ‘side work’ which means that they will do common chores like fill sugar, salt, or even set up the server stations for the next shift. Servers must be courteous, friendly, and outgoing. As the ‘face’ of the restaurant it is the servers that the customers will remember after they leave the establishment.
Servers will also be asked to perform other tasks such as wash dishes when needed.
Bartenders are another form of restaurant employment. Bartenders typically stay behind the bar mixing and serving drinks. In some establishments bartenders will also take orders and serve food but only to those patrons that are either seated at the bar or in the section closet to the bar. Bartenders may also be responsible for making drinks requested by servers for their tables.
Bartenders must be knowledgeable about mixed drinks, beers, liquor, and wine.
The hosts or hostesses are often the first to greet customers and guests. They will lead customers to their tables and sometimes take drink orders. Hosts will also take reservations and even solve seating issues figuring out where to place large parties and how to make more room as needed.
Cafeteria attendants and other restaurant aids such as bussers and dishwashers clean tables, wash dishes, and stock supplies. Many individuals who are seeking restaurant employment often start off as a cafeteria attendant before moving on to serving or tending bar.
Education, Training, and Certification
Many seeking restaurant employment only require a high school diploma. Many restaurants provide on the job training. Servers, for example, simply shadow other experienced servers learning how to take orders, interact with guests, and enter in orders.
There are positions that do not require a high school diploma like cafeteria attendants, the bus staff, and even fast food establishments. There are training classes usually given at vocational institutions to improve serving and bartending skills. This additional training will come in handy for those seeking employment at the more exclusive and high end restaurants.
For the most part, restaurant employment is not based on education so much as it is on personality and ability. Employees should possess these traits if they wish to advance in the industry;
- Neat appearance
- The ability to multi-task
Restaurant employment can be found in a number of areas. High end restaurants, diners, and fast food establishments are the most common sources of employment. Other areas of employment can be found in amusement parks, universities, and anywhere else where food is served.
Due to the high turnover rate restaurant employment will continue to grow. Competition will be stiff for positions in higher end establishments where wages and tips are higher.
The salary of restaurant employment often depends on the nature of the restaurant and position. Servers and bartenders typically make tips which account for the majority of their pay. Dishwashers, bussers, hosts, and hostesses can make anything from minimum wage upwards to $15 depending on the establishment. Fast food employees typically make much less than their restaurant counterparts.
The editors of McGraw-Hill and the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, The Big Book of Jobs, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2012-2013 ©2009 by the McGraw-Hill Companies, Material "Adapted"