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Waiter and Waitress: Reviews & Advice

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How to Get a Job as a Waiter and Waitress

Although it’s not necessary, having previous experience waiting tables will make you a more desirable hire at a restaurant. It takes stamina to field customers’ requests and serve food with a smile on your face, so some restaurant managers prefer to employ waiters who know what they’re doing. Newbies must prove that they have excellent communication skills, a pleasant and patient personality and that they’re physically able to handle the demands of the job. Most states also require staff who serve alcoholic drinks to be at least 18 years old, although in some cases you have to be older. 

Job Satisfaction

Upward Mobility poor Low
Stress Level poor High
Flexibility fair Average

What is the Job Like?

Serving food is a fast-paced, highly stressful occupation. Waiters and waitresses deal with hungry customers, offer food and wine recommendations, relay orders to kitchen staff and handle food. The best juggle these tasks while also charming their patrons, to ensure better tips and loyal clientele. Out of the nearly 2.4 million waiters and waitresses in 2012, about 77 percent worked in full-service restaurants where customers are seated and pay after dining, so they also had an additional responsibility: handling money. Many establishments have dining rushes that correspond with mealtimes, and during those times, all the above-mentioned tasks will have to be completed at twice the speed as off-peak hours.

This is a decent job for young people just entering the workforce or for anyone looking to supplement their income. The BLS notes that half of all waiters and waitresses worked part time in 2012. With a part-time schedule, students should be able to juggle school commitments, and older adults have time to work a second or third job. The hours offered are also often irregular. Many waiters and waitresses work early mornings and/or late at night, and weekend and holiday hours are especially common.

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Last updated by Jada A. Graves.

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