What Skills Do You Need To Learn How To Be A Good Waiter Or Waitress?

waiter skills - taking an order

Many people think that waiters and waitresses have the easiest job in the world.

“How hard can it be? All you have to do is bring people their drinks and write down what they want for dinner.”

Those that say this have obviously never worked as a waiter before.

On the surface our job does seem easy, but we all know there is so much more to our line of work than just “taking orders”.

Learning how to be a good waiter is very important and this article will outline three necessary skills a waiter or waitress must possess in order to be effective, make bigger tips, and have overall success in their waiter career.


Waiter and Waitress Skills #1

  Time Management Skills

waiter reading order tickets

Time is of the essence…

…and being a waiter is always a race against time.

From the second your guest sits down to the second you drop the check the clock is ticking.

Your average guest has a hard time understanding that you also have other tables and can’t imagine why they would have to wait for anything, let alone their food to cook.

Make sure to know your cook times and what stage of the meal your guest is at (appetizer, soups/salads, entrees, or dessert) at all times.

Hold off sending in entrée orders until your guest have finished their salads and appetizers, guests do not like their main course coming to the table after they have only had two bites of their salad.

If somebody orders a well-done steak make sure to explain (even though common sense is begging them to know already) that it will take longer to cook and thus their meal will take longer to come to the table.

Never keep a guest waiting more than 5 minutes (it feels like 20 minutes to guests) for anything, especially the check.

You do want a big tip, don’t you?

Waiter and Waitress Skills #2

  Multi-Tasking Skills

Waitress carrying dirty plates in restaurant,

One of the most common sayings in the restaurant industry is…

“full hands in, full hands out”.

This means that whenever you go out on the floor to bring something to your guest, make sure to grab empty plates and cups on your way back out.

This helps keep your tables clean (and guests happy) and maximizes your efficiency.

A good waiter or waitress knows that the more productive they can make each trip to their tables, the easier the whole shift is going to go.

If you have one table that needs bread, one that needs a new coke, and another that just needs a side of sauce, you will be putting yourself behind if you take three separate trips.

Grab a tray. Fill it up.


Always think, “How much can I get done on this trip out to the floor”.

Waiter and Waitress Skills #3

  People Skills (Most Important)

waiters need people skills

Waiting tables is all about people.

To be a good waiter or waitress you will need excellent people skills – this is the most important skill if you want to start making bigger tips.

A waiter’s primary job is to forge relationships with the guests, and it is not easy to walk up to a table of complete strangers and make them like you. It is very important to establish rapport with your guests and find something that you have in common.

You must become a master of small talk.

The most obvious thing you will have in common with your guests is food. If they order something that you like, tell them!

“That is my favorite entrée, great choice.”

If they ask you how an item on the menu is, be honest. If they order a dish that you know sucks, tell them!

By being honest and recommending something better you will score major points. If the guest sees that you are really trying to take care of them, then they will take care of you.

Be professional, but let your personality come out.


By developing your Time Management, Multi-Tasking, and People Skills, you’ll greatly increase your effectiveness day in and day out.

These waiter and waitress skills will enable you to give amazing service, become faster, more efficient, and more likable. Before you know it you will have tables requesting your section and leaving you great tips all the time.

Put these skills to use and let us know how you are doing in the comments. Also, feel free to ask us any questions about things you want to learn about serving, we will do our best to answer them all!

Did you find this info helpful?

If so, check out the banner below and discover the most common mistakes most servers make that not only piss off their guests, but kill their tips as well.

It’s some damn good info if I do say so myself and I truly hope it helps you.

You can get instant access below.

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Blair Beauchemin

Co-Founder, StuckServing.com



  • Alex Scott

    October 17, 2011

    Its true, people don’t understand what it takes to be a great wait. If I add one to this list it would be, #4 – a great attitude. When waiting tables this skill will get you a long way, both with the guest and management.

  • kathryn robson

    October 31, 2011

    it’s fun being a waitress and you can learn new things

  • lito

    December 6, 2011

    Being a waiter or a waitress they are the provider of excellent service to their customers , and i believed that being an excellent waiter / waitress they should follow their rule and procedures of food services.

  • Brian

    July 29, 2012


  • Reefa Afra

    August 1, 2012

    Yeah!!!! It really soooperb…

  • Eric Osei

    November 21, 2012

    Hi my name is Eric from Ghana West Africa and am a supervisor at a restaurant and am asking if i can get a Waiter and waitress training tape to improve my waiters and waitresses serving skills

  • saint

    December 22, 2012

    i wish i could get more information to improve my skills for giving an effective training to my down lines in a hotel where i work.i am a training coordinator thank u very much

  • megan rachel bowling

    January 24, 2013

    well this is not hnelpful at all, i think i should bann this website forever because it does not tell you how to be nice and the skills of a waitress. so in other words im going to delete it form the world , it isnt nessary :) goodbye my never to be friend , i would never want to meet you at all. you stupid person ahahahaha. go die in a hole YOU UGLAYYY ……

  • megan rachel bowling

    January 24, 2013

    im sorry about the previous comment ^^^^ i have no manners at all:) <3 my heart is broken because of it, im so sorry babies :* </3

  • cherry

    March 31, 2013

    @megan rachel bowling, you are a complete dumb ass…Are you 10 years old by chance?