Summary Report for:
35-3031.00 - Waiters and Waitresses
Take orders and serve food and beverages to patrons at tables in dining establishment.
Sample of reported job titles: Banquet Server, Cocktail Server, Food Runner, Food Server, Restaurant Server, Room Service Server, Server, Waiter, Waitress, Waitstaff
Tasks | Tools & Technology | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Related Occupations | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- Check with customers to ensure that they are enjoying their meals and take action to correct any problems.
- Collect payments from customers.
- Write patrons' food orders on order slips, memorize orders, or enter orders into computers for transmittal to kitchen staff.
- Prepare checks that itemize and total meal costs and sales taxes.
- Take orders from patrons for food or beverages.
- Check patrons' identification to ensure that they meet minimum age requirements for consumption of alcoholic beverages.
- Serve food or beverages to patrons, and prepare or serve specialty dishes at tables as required.
- Present menus to patrons and answer questions about menu items, making recommendations upon request.
- Clean tables or counters after patrons have finished dining.
- Prepare hot, cold, and mixed drinks for patrons, and chill bottles of wine.
- Roll silverware, set up food stations or set up dining areas to prepare for the next shift or for large parties.
- Inform customers of daily specials.
- Stock service areas with supplies such as coffee, food, tableware, and linens.
- Explain how various menu items are prepared, describing ingredients and cooking methods.
- Prepare tables for meals, including setting up items such as linens, silverware, and glassware.
- Remove dishes and glasses from tables or counters, take them to kitchen for cleaning.
- Assist host or hostess by answering phones to take reservations or to-go orders, and by greeting, seating, and thanking guests.
- Perform cleaning duties, such as sweeping and mopping floors, vacuuming carpet, tidying up server station, taking out trash, or checking and cleaning bathroom.
- Bring wine selections to tables with appropriate glasses, and pour the wines for customers.
- Perform food preparation duties such as preparing salads, appetizers, and cold dishes, portioning desserts, and brewing coffee.
- Escort customers to their tables.
- Garnish and decorate dishes in preparation for serving.
- Fill salt, pepper, sugar, cream, condiment, and napkin containers.
- Describe and recommend wines to customers.
Tools & Technology
Tools used in this occupation:
- Bar code reader equipment — Portable bar code scanners
- Cash registers
- Commercial use cutlery — Carving knives
- Magnetic stripe readers and encoders — Credit card processing machines
- Paging controllers — Alphanumeric paging equipment
- Personal digital assistant PDAs or organizers — Personal digital assistants PDA
- Point of sale POS receipt printers — Point of sale POS printers
- Point of sale POS terminal — Point of sale POS terminals; Point of service workstations
- Touch screen monitors
Technology used in this occupation:
- Point of sale POS software — Compris Advanced Manager's Workstation; Hospitality Control Solutions Aloha Point-of-Sale software; ICVERIFY software; Intuit QuickBooks Point of Sale (see all 9 examples)
- Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
- Food Production — Knowledge of techniques and equipment for planting, growing, and harvesting food products (both plant and animal) for consumption, including storage/handling techniques.
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Service Orientation — Actively looking for ways to help people.
- Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Arm-Hand Steadiness — The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
- Stamina — The ability to exert yourself physically over long periods of time without getting winded or out of breath.
- Trunk Strength — The ability to use your abdominal and lower back muscles to support part of the body repeatedly or continuously over time without 'giving out' or fatiguing.
- Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- Manual Dexterity — The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Memorization — The ability to remember information such as words, numbers, pictures, and procedures.
- Multilimb Coordination — The ability to coordinate two or more limbs (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while sitting, standing, or lying down. It does not involve performing the activities while the whole body is in motion.
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- Performing for or Working Directly with the Public — Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
- Performing General Physical Activities — Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Selling or Influencing Others — Convincing others to buy merchandise/goods or to otherwise change their minds or actions.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others — Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
- Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
- Interacting With Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Assisting and Caring for Others — Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
Detailed Work Activities
- Process customer bills or payments.
- Enforce rules or regulations.
- Assist customers with seating arrangements.
- Cook foods.
- Present food or beverage information or menus to customers.
- Clean food preparation areas, facilities, or equipment.
- Prepare foods for cooking or serving.
- Take customer orders.
- Communicate with customers to resolve complaints or ensure satisfaction.
- Stock serving stations or dining areas with food or supplies.
- Serve food or beverages.
- Prepare hot or cold beverages.
- Clean food service areas.
- Communicate dining or order details to kitchen personnel.
- Arrange tables or dining areas.
- Provide customers with general information or assistance.
- Collect dirty dishes or other tableware.
- Add garnishes to food.
- Schedule dining reservations.
- Contact With Others — 95% responded “Constant contact with others.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 88% responded “Every day.”
- Spend Time Walking and Running — 78% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Spend Time Standing — 71% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 69% responded “Extremely important.”
- Physical Proximity — 45% responded “Moderately close (at arm's length).”
- Telephone — 62% responded “Every day.”
- Deal With External Customers — 48% responded “Extremely important.”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 74% responded “Every day.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 54% responded “Every day.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 34% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 55% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 34% responded “Very important results.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 29% responded “Extremely important.”
- Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People — 31% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 32% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 36% responded “Limited freedom.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 30% responded “Very important.”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 33% responded “Limited responsibility.”
|Title||Job Zone One: Little or No Preparation Needed|
|Education||Some of these occupations may require a high school diploma or GED certificate.|
|Related Experience||Little or no previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, a person can become a waiter or waitress even if he/she has never worked before.|
|Job Training||Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few days to a few months of training. Usually, an experienced worker could show you how to do the job.|
|Job Zone Examples||These occupations involve following instructions and helping others. Examples include taxi drivers, amusement and recreation attendants, counter and rental clerks, nonfarm animal caretakers, continuous mining machine operators, and waiters/waitresses.|
|SVP Range||(Below 4.0)|
Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
|50||High school diploma or equivalent|
|37||Less than high school diploma|
|7||Some college, no degree|
Interest code: SEC
- Social — Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.
- Enterprising — Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.
- Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
- Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
- Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Relationships — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
- Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
- Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
Wages & Employment Trends
|Median wages (2015)||$9.25 hourly, $19,250 annual|
|Employment (2014)||2,465,000 employees|
|Projected growth (2014-2024)||Slower than average (2% to 4%)|
|Projected job openings (2014-2024)||1,255,000|
|Top industries (2014)|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2015 wage data and 2014-2024 employment projections . "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2014-2024). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.
Job Openings on the Web
Sources of Additional Information
Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.
- Waiters and waitresses . Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition.
- International Council on Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Education (ICHRIE) , 2613 N. Parham Rd., 2nd Floor, Richmond, VA 23294-4442. Phone: (804) 346-4800. Fax: (804) 346-5009.
- National Restaurant Association (NRA) , 1200 17th St. NW, Washington, DC 20036. Phone: (202) 331-5900.