Although different restaurants use different job descriptions for waitresses, the duties of a waitress are almost similar from employer to employer. As a waitress, you should check with customers to make sure that they are comfortable and enjoying their meals and correct any problems that customers may have. You should also collect all the payments from customers , write their food orders on slips, enter the orders into the computer system so that they are transmitted to the kitchen staff and memorize the orders if they is no computer system set up in the kitchen for transmitting orders. You should also check the identification of customers to be sure that they are of the minimum age that is allowed to consume alcohol, prepare checks and list down all meals taken and their total cost.
You should also serve both food and beverages to customers, prepare and serve special dishes on tables or as requested by the patrons. Immediately customers get into the restaurant, you should welcome them and present them with the menus, answer all questions related to the items on the menu and make recommendations where possible. After customers are done with their meals, you should clean up the tables or clear counters. If the customer’s request for drinks, you should prepare them according to their specifications, for example, chill wine bottles, mix drinks and serve them hot or cold.
Is being a waitress the job for you?
As a waitress, you should also roll silverware, set up dining stations and get ready for the next shift or for any large parties. If the restaurant is running daily specials, let the patrons be aware so that they can make their orders based on that. You should also stock service areas with supplies such as food, lines, coffee and tableware, set up tables for meals including setting up items such as silverware, glassware or linens. You should also help the host or hostess by answering telephone calls to make reservations or take away orders and thanking the patrons when they are leaving the establishment.
Carry out cleaning duties such as mopping floors, sweeping, taking out trash, cleaning the bathroom and keeping the server station clean. You should also bring wine selections to tables with the right glassware and pour out the wine to patrons. Carry out food preparation duties such as preparing light salads, cold dishes, appetizers and brewing coffee. Direct customers to their tables and offer help if they are carrying a young baby by escorting them to the table. It is your duty to garnish and decorate dishes in preparation for serving, describe and give recommendations of wines for customers, fill salt, sugar and pepper containers and furnish guests with information about the local area and giving directions where necessary.
Most waitresses earn less than the minimum hourly wage and they rely heavily on tips from patrons. Since the hourly rate for waitress is always fluctuating, the statistics by the Bureau of Labor are mainly averages. In May 2011, the average pay for all waitresses was $10.05 and the median wage was $8.93. The least paid waitresses earned about $7.73 per hour or less, while the highest paid waitresses earned an hourly salary of $14.34 or more. There are some factors that led to the difference in waitress salaries such as the employment sector or the area a waitress is working in. Those that are employed in full service restaurants earned about $9.93 per hour. Those who work in limited service restaurants earned about $9.03 while those who worked in bars earned about $9.43 per hour. Waitresses who work in amusement and recreation centers earn about $10.81 per hour, and those who work in restaurants that have hotels earned about $11.87 per hour.
The area where a waitress works also influences how much they earn. The District of Columbia is one of the highest paying areas to work in for waitresses with an hourly rate of $14.06. Other areas that waitress earn a higher hourly rate are Washing ton, Massachusetts, Oregon and Vermont .
Since most waitresses rely heavily on tips from their customers, the pay may fluctuate a lot between shifts. You may earn very little on some days and other days earn a lot more. Generally, waitresses who are able to treat their customers politely and offer great services will definitely earn more hourly wages. Since customers will tip you according to the percentage of their total meal cost, waitresses working at high end establishments often earn the highest hourly wages.
May restaurants do not have any education requirement for waitresses although there are those that prefer a high school diploma or its equivalent. There are those restaurants that also require previous experience when hiring a waitress. There are some public and private vocational schools that provide relevant classes such as table services, hospitality and taking orders.
Most of the work of a waitress is learned on the job through observation of the other employees. Many restaurants provide basic training in customer service, kitchen safety and handling procedures for food that are safe. There are some other restaurants that will train new employees using online programs or an instruction booklet, especially those in the fast food sector.
Full service restaurants may sometimes offer new employees formal training that may help them create a rapport with other members of staff, encourage teamwork and teach formal serving basic requirements.
The growth opportunities of a waitress are very limited especially in a restaurant. However, if you are a waitress who is consistent in performance and looks out for the needs of the customers, you may get promoted to an assistant manager, restaurant manager or a headwaiter. To move up as a waitress, food management training is vital.