What Does A Waiter Do Anyway?

Becoming a waiter can be a great way to earn a lot of cash, without having to work a 9 to 5. This article will break down what the essential waiter or waitress duties entail, and why they are important. The three main waiter duties are as follows: 1) Provide Hospitality to Guests 2) Ongoing Table Maintenance 3) Side Work.

Waiter Duty #1: Provide Hospitality To Guests

So what is the difference between hospitality and service? Hospitality is going above and beyond, anticipating guest needs, making the guests feel welcome, being friendly and attentive, basically treating the guest as if they were in your own home. Service is just the bare minimum, taking orders, bringing drinks, and clearing plates. Service is part of your job, but that is only one part of what brings a guest into your restaurant. Other waiter (or waitress) duties that fall under hospitality include:
 

  • Welcoming guests
  • Demonstrating menu knowledge
  • Answering questions
  • Up selling specialty items
  • Describing dishes
  • Taking orders (beverage and food)
  • Handling complaints
  • Ensuring guest satisfaction

Every table is different and this is by no means the most comprehensive list of providing hospitality to guests. Some tables will be more needy than others, and some will just want you to take their order and leave them alone. This is where you will have to use your people skills to determine what level of hospitality your guest is expecting.

So what is the difference between hospitality and service? Hospitality is going above and beyond, anticipating guest needs, making the guests feel welcome, being friendly and attentive, basically treating the guest as if they were in your own home. Service is just the bare minimum, taking orders, bringing drinks, and clearing plates. Service is part of your job, but that is only one part of what brings a guest into your restaurant. Other waiter (or waitress) duties that fall under hospitality include:

  • Welcoming guests-Demonstrating menu knowledge-Answering questions-Up selling specialty items-Describing dishes-Taking orders (beverage and food)
  • Handling complaints
  • Ensuring guest satisfaction

Every table is different and this is by no means the most comprehensive list of providing hospitality to guests. Some tables will be more needy than others, and some will just want you to take their order and leave them alone. This is where you will have to use your people skills to determine what level of hospitality your guest is expecting.

 

Waiter Duty #2: Ongoing Table Maintenance

Now the waiter or waitress has greeted the table, brought the drinks, and taken the order, what next? Now we move onto the second of our waiter duties, which is to conduct Ongoing Table Maintenance. Duties that a waiter or waitress should expect to perform at this stage are:

  • Bring out food
  • Clearing empty plates
  • Refilling drinks
  • Bringing extra items requested by guests (ranch, bbq sauce etc)
  • Ensuring the food came out as desired
  • Clearing all plates at end of meal
  • Crumbing the table
  • Offering after dinner drinks and dessert
  • Cash handling (when processing the check)
  • Thanking the guest for coming in and assisting in any other ways

It is important to note that as a waiter or waitress, you will be performing these duties for every table in your station. It is important to keep track of what stage all of your tables are at with their experience so that you can continue to provide excellent service. This can get hard when you are really busy, so try and maximize your effectiveness by doing as much as you can with every visit to your tables.

 

Waiter Duty #3: Sidework

Side work is every waiter’s least favorite part of the job, but at least it means your shift is almost over. Side work is all of the cleaning duties performed after your guests have left. These waiter duties will vary from place to place, but are always very similar. They include but are not limited to:

  • Wiping down your tables
  • Refilling salt, pepper, sugar, olive oil etc
  • Emptying and cleaning coffee station
  • Emptying and cleaning up ice tea and soda station
  • Stocking plates, silverware, to-go boxes, bottled water etc
  • Placing items in back fridge
  • Wiping down shelves and server station
  • Wiping down menus
  • Processing waiter credit card slips and cash (this is when you figure out your tips)

 

Almost Done

After finishing up you side work and organizing your credit card slips and money you should be left with some nice cash to make it all worth your while. Normally you will give a percentage of your tips to the bussers and bartender, but this percentage will be different everywhere you work. After reading this article you should have a very clear idea of what the normal duties of a waiter entail. A waiter will provide Hospitality to guests; conduct Ongoing Table Maintenance, and perform closing Side Work duties. Now go out there and make some tips!

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45 Comments

  • keane

    May 31, 2011

    pl, can u send me copies of this acticles and more? pls, am a waiter and i want to improve; so pls do.

  • alex

    June 15, 2011

    thanks 4 that information

  • jericho

    October 27, 2011

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    October 4, 2012

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    December 10, 2012

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  • Prince

    March 23, 2013

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    March 23, 2013

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  • Suman

    June 5, 2013

    Thank you for providing such tips

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    June 24, 2013

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    July 31, 2013

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    April 26, 2014

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