How to become a Waiter / Waitress

What is a waiter/waitress?

Waiters/waitresses work in restaurants and other dining establishments, also known as servers in the food and beverage industry, play an important role in guest satisfaction as they are also responsible for checking on customers to ensure that they are enjoying their meals and take action to correct any problems.

How to become a waiter/waitress?

Though there are no formal academic entry requirements, which is why many students do so alongside their studying as a part-time job, some employers may require GCSEs/S grades. 

Training is typically provided on-the-job. NVQs/SVQs in relevant areas are available at Levels 1 and 2.

You could prepare for this job by doing a college course to get some of the skills you’ll need. Courses include:

  • Level 1 Award in Introduction to Employment in the Hospitality Industry
  • Level 1 Certificate in Food and Beverage Service

With experience you may be able to progress to head waiter or waitress, or restaurant supervisor.

You may also be able to go into related areas of work like restaurant and kitchen management or purchasing.

Waiter/Waitress Duties:

Waitering will require you to be active but also provide opportunities to meet many new people. 

If you’re looking for a customer service role and want to work in the restaurant or events industry, waitering may be for you.

Common tasks include:

  • Answering questions about menu items, food sensitivities and food substitutions
  • Giving customers suggestions for food and drinks and telling them about any special menu items
  • Delivering orders to customer tables
  • Maintaining establishments cleanliness and tidiness
  • Takes down orders for food and/or drinks and passes order to kitchen and/or bar
  • Presents bill and accepts payment at end of the meal

Waiter/Waitress Skills:

To be an effective waiter/waitress, you’ll need certain skills and competencies. The following are often cited in job vacancies:

  • Impeccable customer service skills and social perceptiveness
  • Effective communication and active listening skills for conversing with guests
  • Ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • Thorough and pay attention to detail
  • Ability to work well with others
  • Strong time management and organizational skills

How to find a waiter/waitress job:

These jobs are advertised online, in local newspapers and at your local jobcentre. To find all the waiter/waitress jobs near you, you need to:

  • Search for waiter/waitress jobs on popular job websites such as; Indeed, Total Jobs and CV Library
  • Use the DWP’s Find A Job Service
  • Check local newspapers and local Facebook groups, especially groups dedicated to local jobs

Waiter/waitress Job Titles

When you search for a waiter/waitress job online, be aware that the jobs might be advertised using a different job title. Popular job titles for waiter/waitress jobs include;

  • Barista
  • Front of House Assistant
  • Food & Beverage Assistant
  • Server
  • Waiting Staff

What does a waiter/waitress do?

The job of a waiter/waitress varies depending on the job role and the company you’re working for. Check the duties and responsibilities of waiter/waitress job advertisements to find jobs that best suit your skills and experience. 

The day-to-day tasks of a waiter/waitress include;

  • Greeting customers as they arrive and showing them to their table
  • Making sure tables are clean and tidy
  • Giving out menus and taking orders for food and drink
  • Serving food and drinks
  • Dealing with bill payments