Restaurant Server Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

Last updated: July 28, 2022


A Restaurant Server, or Server, is responsible for bringing food and beverages to dine-in customers seated in their section at a restaurant. Their duties include writing down each customer’s order, submitting it to the kitchen and bringing out the correct dishes and beverages to each diner.

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Restaurant Server duties and responsibilities 

This section of your Restaurant Server job description highlights the functions the candidate will perform in your organization when hired. Here are some examples of a Restaurant Server’s typical responsibilities:

  • Welcoming and sitting diners comfortably in the dining section
  • Taking customers’ food and drink orders
  • Collaborating with the kitchen and bar staff for prompt and correct delivery of orders
  • Memorizing the menu and recommend appetizers, meals and drinks from restaurant wine stock
  • Delivering a memorable dining experience by resolving all customer issues promptly
  • Assisting with the tidying of tables, clearing leftovers and keeping the dining area neat and pleasant
  • Setting tables and rearranging the dining area to accommodate larger groups and prepare the restaurant for special events
  • Ensuring cooking utensils and kitchen area are cleaned after closing to comply with state regulations 

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Restaurant Server Job Description Examples

What does a Restaurant Server do?

Restaurant Servers attend to diners in a restaurant during a meal, helping them place their order and making sure they get their food and beverages in a timely manner. They greet diners and engage in friendly conversation with them to cultivate a hospitable, welcoming environment. Restaurant Servers are knowledgeable about the food and beverages on the menu so they can explain dishes to guests and clarify any concerns about allergies or styles of food preparation.

Restaurant Servers submit orders to the kitchen and bring food out to guests when it is ready, filling their drinks and checking on other tables in the meantime. They help their tables pay their bill and make correct change, keeping track of receipts and tips. In addition to caring for guests, Restaurant Servers help maintain a clean and sanitary environment by bussing dishes, sweeping floors, wiping menus and completing other closing tasks.

Restaurant Server skills and qualifications 

A Restaurant Server’s qualifications should include their academic achievements, work experience, customer service skills and conflict resolution skills. Here are examples of Restaurant Server skills and qualifications:

  • High school diploma or associate degree in culinary studies or food and hospitality management
  • Prior experience in a food-serving establishment 
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • In-depth knowledge of winery and different types of cuisines
  • Highly developed interpersonal skills
  • Basic bookkeeping knowledge 
  • Working knowledge of point-of-sale systems
  • High level of stamina to work to work on feet for extended periods

Restaurant Server salary expectations

A Restaurant Server makes an average of $11.70 per hour. Pay rate may depend on level of experience, education and the geographical location. 

Restaurant Server education and training requirements

A restaurant server does not need a college degree unless your operation is large and you need someone with special knowledge. Most candidates will learn on the job if they are inexperienced. Some states require servers to have a permit and be of a certain age to serve alcohol. Restaurant servers can obtain certifications from vocational education centers and industry bodies such as the National Restaurant Association. 

Restaurant Server experience requirements

A qualified restaurant server should be friendly, courteous and fast. They will know how to prepare different dishes, appetizers, desserts and drinks, as well as being able to quickly diffuse tense situations and satisfy customers. The candidate will have a good memory to take and complete large orders without errors. Other requirements include teamwork, cleanliness and stamina. 

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Frequently asked questions about Restaurant Servers


What is the difference between a Restaurant Server and a Banquet Server?

Restaurant Servers and Banquet Servers are both service industry professionals who are responsible for making sure guests have a pleasant experience and enjoy their meal. Restaurant Servers work at restaurants where they attend to a section of tables, while Banquet Servers serve guests in a buffet or cafeteria-style environment. They can work at counter-serve restaurants or at catering companies.

Banquet Servers usually work at a particular station, staying in one place as diners come up to them and ask for servings of different dishes. Restaurant Servers visit guests at their tables to check up on them and act as a liaison between the customer and the kitchen. Both Restaurant Servers and Banquet Servers need to have excellent customer service and hospitality skills when interacting with diners.


What are the daily duties of a Restaurant Server?

Restaurant Servers can work an opening, closing or swing shift at a restaurant. They’ll have different responsibilities depending on the shift they work. Those working the opening shift will have duties like putting away dishes from the night before, laying down tablecloths and preparing place settings. Swing shift employees usually focus exclusively on serving tables. Closing Restaurant Servers clean up after customers in the dining room at the end of the day. 

All Restaurant Servers interact with customers and serve tables. They take orders, enter them into a POS system, run food to tables and process card and cash payments. Restaurant Servers pay attention to customers in the dining room so they can predict when a customer might want to speak to them about ordering more food or drinks.


What are the characteristics of a good Restaurant Server?

Good Restaurant Servers are friendly and outgoing with both customers and coworkers. They are great at communicating with others, whether they are helping a customer decide which dish to order, explaining a delay in the kitchen or asking a Cook about the status of an order. They use their personality and attentiveness to make customers want to return to the restaurant again. Excellent Restaurant Servers work quickly and have excellent stamina, allowing them to work under pressure and manage multiple tables at once. They manage their time well and are comfortable both asking for help and supporting others.


Who does a Restaurant Server report to?

Restaurant Servers can report to a Head Server or to a Restaurant Manager to resolve any issues with customers such as requests for a refund, complaints or problems with a payment method. At restaurants where the Servers pool their tips, the Restaurant Manager distributes pay at the end of a shift.

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