Food Server Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

A Food Server, also known as a Waiter or Waitress, is responsible for taking orders from restaurant patrons and delivering their food to them. Their duties include explaining the menu to their customers, communicating with kitchen staff and balancing dishes as they bring them to the appropriate table.

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Food Server duties and responsibilities

Food Servers collaborate with Cooks, Chefs, Restaurant Managers and other foodservice staff to provide excellent customer service and maintain a positive reputation for the organization. Food Server responsibilities include:

  • Greeting and seating customers 
  • Taking food and beverage orders and accurately entering them into the ordering system
  • Making menu item recommendations
  • Communicating any food allergy or special nutrition needs to kitchen staff
  • Ensuring all orders are filled quickly and accurately and that food is high quality
  • Providing attentive service to diners, like refilling drinks as needed and checking their needs during meals
  • Promptly addressing any customer service issues and referring  to management if and when necessary
  • Performing some cleaning duties, such as at the service station, around the kitchen and in the dining area

Food Server Job Description Examples


Example 1

$500 sign on bonus for experienced servers. We are seeking hospitality-minded people. Forest Creek Golf Club is a private golf club with multiple dining venues offering regular lunch and dinner service. We also host private events such as weddings, luncheons and meetings. This is an outstanding opportunity to become part of a welcoming team working for the best club in Pines. Job Types: Full-time, Part-time Pay: From $8.00 per hour Benefits: * Dental insurance * Employee discount * Flexible schedule * Health insurance * Paid time off * Vision insurance Physical Setting: * Upscale casual restaurant Schedule: * 10 hour shift * 8 hour shift * Day shift * Evening shift * Holidays * Monday to Friday * Weekend availability Supplemental Pay: * Signing bonus * Tips Experience: * Restaurant experience: 1 year (Preferred) Work Location: One location

Example 2

Our hotel boasts 21 gorgeous oceanfront rooms to choose from and features a lively tiki bar and restaurant where guests can spend an afternoon lounging while enjoying a selection of delicious food, cocktails, beers and wines. The Riptide Hotel is conveniently located a few steps away from the ocean and directly on Hollywood Beach’s Broadwalk, a one-of-a-kind oceanfront promenade that stretches nearly 2.5 miles along the ocean. Our two buildings provide a stunning oceanfront setting overlooking the beautiful shores of the Atlantic Ocean. We are also ideally located within walking distance of numerous fine dining restaurants and stylish nightspots while just a short drive from the heart of Miami and Fort Lauderdale’s premier attractions. With an irresistible blend of barefoot elegance and exclusivity of a boutique hotel, the Riptide Hotel is a unique destination ideal for romantic beach getaways, family vacations and intimate ocean-side celebrations. After just one visit you will understand why the Riptide has distinguished itself as one of the finest Hollywood, Florida hotels over the years. We are currently looking for a charismatic server for a fast paced oceanfront bar and restaurant in Hollywood Beach. This position requires you to have 3 years experience minimum, a clean record, a work authorization and references. If you fit the below requirements please send over a recent resume, a cover letter stating why you are interested and right for this position. Position Summary: - Tips are not shared! -3 years minimum bar tending experience. -Great sales attitude required. -Organization and attention to detail is a must. -Willing to work outside of your job description. -We have a very eclectic crowd in Hollywood so we need someone with a sense of humor and a great attitude. - Proficiency in English is a must (verbal), multilingual is a plus (Spanish, French, ...) -Be able to work on weekends, until late hours depending on how busy our bar is that night. -Self transportation is a must. -This job will require you lift items up to 40lbs. - Clean Record. - Proven positive references. Please note that this position may become full time within the next month or two. We look forward to meeting you! Job Type: Full-time Pay: $7.00 per hour Benefits: * Employee discount Physical Setting: * Bar * Casual dining restaurant Schedule: * Every weekend * Holidays * Monday to Friday * Weekend availability Supplemental Pay: * Tips Experience: * Restaurant experience: 1 year (Preferred) Work Location: One location

Example 3

We are looking for a competent Restaurant Server to take and deliver orders. You’ll be the face of our restaurant and responsible for our customers’ experiences. Food server include ensuring our tables are clean and tidy when guests arrive, presenting menus and serving food and beverages. You need to be quick on your feet (literally and metaphorically) and have a polite and friendly attitude. If you enjoy talking to people and thrive in a fast-paced workplace, we’d like to meet you. Your ultimate goal will be to provide high-quality service that will help us maintain and attract customers. Job Type: Part-time Pay: From $5.00 per hour Physical Setting: * Casual dining restaurant Schedule: * Evening shift Supplemental Pay: * Tips Work Location: One location

Example 4

*New Restaurant Opening - Essie Restaurant & Lounge in Clementon, NJ is looking for candidates that are energetic, personable and hard-working to join our winning team! * *Job Description* *Job Title: Server, Bartender, Hostes, Line Cooks and Utility* *Reports To* Assistant Manager *Job Summary* Provide friendly, responsive service to create an exceptional dining experience for all of our guests. Each server’s primary objective is to show our guests such a marvelous time, they will want to return. *Activities & Responsibilities* *Primary* o Promote, work, and act in a manner consistent with the mission of Cake & Joe. o Monitor and observe guests dining experience to ensure guests are satisfied with the food and service, and respond promptly and courteously to correct any problems. o Collect payments from guests. o Write guests’ food orders on order slips, memorize orders, or enter orders into computers for transmittal to kitchen staff. o Prepare checks that itemize and total meal costs and sales taxes. o Take food or beverages orders from guests. o Check guests’ identification to ensure that they meet minimum age requirements for consumption of alcoholic beverages. o Serve food or beverages to guests, and prepare or serve specialty dishes at tables as required. o Present menus to guests and answer questions about menu items, beverages, and other restaurant functions and services o Inform guests of menu changes and daily specials, and make recommendations you genuinely feel your guests will enjoy. o Clean tables or counters after guests have finished dining. o Prepare hot, cold, and mixed drinks for guests, and chill bottles of wine. o Roll silverware, set up food stations or set up dining areas to prepare for the next shift or for large parties. o Stock service areas with supplies such as coffee, food, tableware, and linens. o Explain to guests how various menu items are prepared, describing ingredients and cooking methods. o Prepare tables for meals, including setting up items such as linens, silverware, and glassware. o Remove dishes and glasses from tables or counters, and take them to kitchen for cleaning. o Assist host or host by answering phones to take reservations or to-go orders, and by greeting, seating, and thanking guests. o Perform cleaning duties, such as sweeping and mopping floors, vacuuming carpet, tidying up server station, taking out trash, or checking and cleaning bathroom. o Bring wine selections to tables with appropriate glasses, and pour the wines for guests. o Perform food preparation duties such as preparing salads, appetizers, and cold dishes, portioning desserts, and brewing coffee. o Escort guests to their tables. o Garnish and decorate dishes in preparation for serving. o Fill salt, pepper, sugar, cream, condiment, and napkin containers. o Describe and recommend wines to guests. o Thank guests for their visit and invite them to return. o Attend all scheduled employee meetings and offers suggestions for improvement. o Coordinate with and assist fellow employees to meet guests’ needs and support the operation of the restaurant. o Fill-in for fellow employees where needed to ensure guest service standards and efficient operations. *Supplemental* o Provide guests with information about local areas, including giving directions. *Tools & Technology (examples in parentheses)* o Bar code reader equipment o Cash registers o Commercial use cutlery o Credit card processing machines o Paging controllers o Point-of-sale receipt printers o Point-of-sale terminals and workstations o Touch screen monitors o Point-of-sale software (Compris Advanced Manager's Workstation; Compris; Hospitality Control Solutions Aloha Point-of-Sale; Icverify; Intuit QuickBooks Point of Sale; Micros Systems HSI Profits Series; NCR Advanced Checkout Solution; NCR The General Store; ClubSoft Food & Beverage Point of Sale; DataTeam Lunch Express; Dinerware Intuitive Restaurant; Food Service Solutions POSitive ID System; Restaurant Manager) Job Types: Full-time, Part-time Pay: $15.00 - $30.00 per hour Experience: * Restaurant experience: 1 year (Preferred) Work Location: * One location Work Remotely: * No Work Location: One location

What does a Food Server do?

Food Servers work at restaurants and catering companies to welcome guests and provide them with an enjoyable dining experience. Their role is to be the guest’s main point of communication with the kitchen and bar. Food Servers work as a team with front-of-house staff to welcome customers, direct them to their seats and take their orders. They engage in friendly conversation with their tables to make them feel comfortable and provide a hospitable environment, delivering food on time and at the correct temperature. Food Servers also maintain cleanliness in the dining room and correct any issues with meals.

Food Server skills and qualifications

Food Servers use a combination of soft skills to help customers and support other restaurant staff, including:

  • Excellent customer service, including patience and a friendly demeanor
  • Exceptional organization and time management
  • Effective written and verbal communication skills
  • Great active listening skills
  • Ability and willingness to collaborate
  • Knowledge of foodservice regulations and proper food handling procedures
  • Capability to learn quickly and memorize menu details
  • Comfortable working in a fast-paced environment
  • Willing to work flexible work schedules that include nights and weekends
  • Physically able to be on their feet for extended periods and lift up to 25 pounds unassisted

Food Server salary expectations

A Food Server makes an average of $11.82 per hour. Pay rate may depend on their level of experience, education and geographical location.

Food Server education and training requirements

Many Food Servers are qualified with some high school education on track to complete their diploma, though some candidates have completed their high school education or have earned a GED and may even be in the process of completing higher education. Food Servers typically complete training through previous relevant experience or on-the-job training once hired. Food Server candidates with previous experience may already have a ServSafe certification that demonstrates their knowledge of food handling regulations and best practices. Other candidates may be in the process of or be willing to complete one.

Food Server experience requirements

Entry-level Food Server candidates may not have previous relevant experience but be suitable fr on-the-job training. Entry-level candidates or those with limited to no experience may also provide training and leadership opportunities to more senior employees. Candidates with years of relevant experience, especially in the same industry or setting, are more likely to quickly adjust to their new role and save time on on-the-job training. 

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Frequently asked questions about Food Servers


What is the difference between a Food Server and a Busser?

Food Servers are responsible for bringing food to customers and guiding their dining experience, while Bussers clear the table and bring dishes back to the kitchen. Bussers provide support for Servers during busy shifts and focus on keeping tables clean and organized. Bussers may help deliver food under the direction of Food Servers during peak dining hours.


What are the qualities of a successful Food Server?

A good Food Server is friendly, personable and positive so they can provide excellent hospitality to each guest. Because Food Servers usually have a section with multiple tables, they are great multi-taskers who can manage a range of priorities at once. Good Food Servers are graceful under pressure and act with humility and respect, even when working with frustrated or angry customers. Food Servers also need to have endurance and physical strength to carry large trays of heavy food and move from the dining room to the kitchen throughout long shifts.


Who does a Food Server report to?

Food Servers can report to a Head Server that manages the waitstaff or to the restaurant’s General Manager. If a Food Server enters an order incorrectly or needs help with the table, the Head Server or General Manager can edit their entries in the point of sale (POS) system and speak to a table on their behalf. Many restaurants give out Food Server schedules on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, requiring them to check in with their direct manager to trade shifts and confirm when they should arrive for their shifts.


What are the daily duties of a Food Server?

On a typical day, Food Servers start by rolling silverware and setting up their tables with tablecloths, menus and condiments. When customers arrive, they either communicate with a Hostess or seat guests themselves. They recommend dishes and enter customer orders into the POS system, then check up on the status of various tickets with the kitchen staff. Throughout the meal, Food Servers refill drinks, deliver cocktails and provide complimentary snacks like bread or chips. Food Servers work as a team to bring orders to large parties at the same time and deliver the check at the end of the meal.

Job Description Examples

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