Waiters and waitresses take orders and serve food and beverages to customers in dining establishments.
Waiters and waitresses typically do the following:
Greet customers, present menus, and explain daily specials to customers
Answer questions related to menu
Take food and beverage orders from customers
Relay food and beverage orders to the kitchen staff
Prepare drinks and food garnishes
Carry trays of food or drinks from the kitchen to the dining tables
Remove dirty dishes and glasses, and clean tables after customers finish meals
Prepare itemized checks and take payments from customers
Set up dining areas, refill condiments, and stock service areas
Waiters and waitresses, also called servers, are responsible for ensuring that customers have a satisfying dining experience. The specific duties of servers vary with the establishment in which they work.
In casual-dining restaurants that offer simple menu items, such as salads, soups, and sandwiches, servers provide fast, efficient, and courteous service. In fine-dining restaurants, where more complicated meals are prepared and are often served over several courses, waiters and waitresses emphasize personal, attentive treatment at a more leisurely pace. For example, they may suggest a beverage choice such as a wine recommendation with certain foods.
Waiters and waitresses may meet with managers and chefs before each shift to discuss the menu or specials, review ingredients for potential food allergies, or talk about any food safety concerns. They also discuss coordination between the kitchen and the dining room and review any customer service issues from the previous day or shift.
In establishments where alcohol is served, waiters and waitresses verify the age of customers and ensure that they meet legal requirements for the purchase of alcohol.