Waiters and waitresses held about 2.5 million jobs in 2014. About 78 percent worked in full-service restaurants—establishments that provide food service to customers who are served while seated and pay after eating.
Waiters and waitresses are on their feet most of the time and often carry heavy trays of food, dishes, and drinks. The work can be hectic and fast-paced. During busy dining periods, they are under pressure to serve customers quickly and efficiently. They must be able to work well as a team with kitchen staff to ensure that customers receive prompt service.
Because waiters and waitresses are the front line of customer service in food service and drinking establishments, appearance is important. Those who work in fine-dining and upscale restaurants may be required to wear uniforms, including ties or aprons, which are typically provided by their employer.
About 1 in 2 waiters and waitresses worked part time in 2014. Many work early mornings, late evenings, weekends, and holidays. This is especially true for those who work in full-service restaurants, which employed about 78 percent of all waiters and waitresses in 2014.
In resorts that offer seasonal employment, waiters and waitresses might work for only a few months each year.