How to Hire a Waiter

Does your growing business need a waiter? Waiters ensure a positive dining experience for all guests who visit your restaurant. 

Here are some tips to help you find great waiter/waitress/server candidates and make the right hire for your business.

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Waiters looking for jobs on Indeed* 

1,086,736

Job seekers that clicked on waiter jobs

883,459

Resumes for job seekers with waiter experience on Indeed

102,201

Waiter jobs that received clicks

What is the cost of hiring waiter?

  • Common salary in US: $12.69 hourly
  • Typical salaries range from $7.25$30.05 hourly
  • Find more information on Indeed Salary

*Indeed data (US) – April 2021

As of April 2021, waiter jobs in the US are very competitive compared to other job markets, with an average of 11 job seekers per waiter job.

Why hire a waiter?

The need for new staff can affect both your existing team and your bottom line. A great waiter hire can help your business by:

• Taking customer orders and relaying them to the kitchen staff
• Suggesting menu items based on customer desires
• Offering suggestions to customers on food and wine choices

Deciding between a full-time vs freelance waiter

For restaurants that are having a large event or coming up on a frequently busy season, freelance waiters are available to take on the extra workload. Because restaurants don’t have to offer benefits to freelance workers, it may be cheaper than hiring seasonal employees. Freelance waiters also already have experience in the industry and may need less training than a new hire. 

Full-time waiters are almost always recommended for restaurants. Freelance employees typically come with a higher hourly cost than full-time employees, and full-time waiters have a higher degree of accountability for their work. 

What are the ranks of waiters?

In luxury dining establishments, there is often a hierarchy for the waitstaff. Members of the serving team include:

  • Head waiter: The head waiter or waitress is often responsible for coordinating the customer service. Their responsibilities include welcoming diners, giving orders to the chefs, delivering food and drinks and taking care of financial transactions.
  • Expeditor: Also known as the expo, an expeditor is responsible for checking each order to ensure it’s complete and accurate. They also set up trays for servers to bring to the table efficiently. 
  • Waiter: Waiters have similar responsibilities to head waiters. While the head waiter is responsible for overseeing the entire dining area, waiters are often only responsible for a small section.
  • Runner: Runners are specifically responsible for bringing cooked and completed dishes to the diners.
  • BusserA busser clears tables after diners have left, cleans the surfaces and sets the tables up for the next customers. 

Where to find waiters

To find the right waiter for your business, consider trying out a few different recruiting strategies: 

  • Posting help wanted flyers: Posting help wanted signs both inside your establishment and around the community can attract the attention of potential candidates. Frequent visitors to the restaurant may also have some prior knowledge of the menu. 
  • Promote or hire from within: Many employees underneath the waiter position already have some experience with the job. Conduct interviews with quality internal candidates to see if they’re a good fit. Hiring from within may also be cheaper than an outside hire. 
  • Network: Experienced servers and waitstaff from other high-end establishments may be looking for positions in different restaurants. Building and maintaining relationships with waitstaff can generate leads for open positions. 
  • Post your job online: Try posting your waiter job on Indeed to find and attract quality waiter candidates.

What are the ranks of waiters?

In luxury dining establishments, there is often a hierarchy for the waitstaff. Members of the serving team include:

  • Head waiter: The head waiter or waitress is often responsible for coordinating the customer service. Their responsibilities include welcoming diners, giving orders to the chefs, delivering food and drinks and taking care of financial transactions.
  • Expeditor: Also known as the expo, an expeditor is responsible for checking each order to ensure it’s complete and accurate. They also set up trays for servers to bring to the table efficiently. 
  • Waiter: Waiters have similar responsibilities to head waiters. While the head waiter is responsible for overseeing the entire dining area, waiters are often only responsible for a small section.
  • Runner: Runners are specifically responsible for bringing cooked and completed dishes to the diners.
  • BusserA busser clears tables after diners have left, cleans the surfaces and sets the tables up for the next customers. 

Writing a waiter job description

A thoughtful description can help find qualified waiter candidates. A waiter job description includes a compelling summary of the role, a detailed list of duties and responsibilities and the required and preferred skills for the position.

When writing your waiter job description, consider including some or all of the following keywords to improve the visibility of your job posting. These are the most popular search terms leading to clicks on waiter jobs, according to Indeed data:

  • Server
  • Restaurant
  • Server restaurant
  • Waitress
  • Hiring immediately
  • Restaurant server
  • Teen
  • Waiter
  • Food service
  • Country club

Interviewing waiter candidates

Strong candidates for waiter positions will be confident answering questions regarding:

• Managing multiple orders and requests at the same time
• Knowledge of the menu and dining style
• Ability to provide outstanding service to all patrons

Need help coming up with interview questions? See our list of waiter interview questions for examples (with sample answers).

FAQs about how to hire a waiter

What is the difference between FOH and BOH?

FOH stands for front of house and BOH stands for back of house. Waiters and hosts are typically considered FOH, while chefs and dishwashers would be BOH. 

What does a waiter wear?

Depending on the type of establishment, waiters can have a variety of uniforms. In chain restaurants, waiters and waitresses can wear casual clothing underneath an apron. In luxury restaurants, waiters are typically seen wearing formal business attire with an apron. 

Do I really need a waiter?

Being a waiter is a full-time job. Waiters are required to pay full attention to their tables, refill drinks and communicate with the diners. It isn’t recommended to do it yourself if you have other responsibilities. 

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