Restaurant waiters serve food and beverages to customers patronizing a restaurant. Waiters interact with bartenders, hostesses, managers and kitchen staff to deliver customer service for restaurant patrons. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that job opportunities for restaurant waiters will increase by 6 percent from 2008 through 2018.
Restaurant waiters may seat restaurant patrons when a hostess is not available and educate patrons on daily food and drink specials or menu offerings. Waiters take food and drink orders and normally enter them into a computerized system or manually deliver orders to the bar and kitchen. Once a restaurant patron's food or drink order is ready, the waiter delivers the order to the patron's table. Waiters ensure that a patron's order is cooked correctly and deliver the final bill to the table. Restaurant waiters process cash and credit bill payment transactions and collect tips before a patron leaves the restaurant.
Restaurant waiters may need to contact a manager if a restaurant patron complains about his dining experience. During shifts when a co-worker has called in sick, a restaurant waiter may need to manage additional tables, assist with delivering dirty dishes to the kitchen and clean off tables and chairs. During slow shifts, food service workers may roll silverware in napkins or refill condiment bottles.
Waiters need to know the ingredients of each menu item to assist patrons with food allergies. Food service workers must provide polite and timely service to maximize tip earnings. A restaurant waiter needs to wear a clean uniform and ensure that he maintains a neat appearance during his shift.
A restaurant waiter spends most of his shift on his feet while attending to customers in the front of the restaurant and picking up orders from the kitchen. Carrying trays with multiple dishes can cause repetitive stress on a waiter's hands, wrists and hands. The volume of customers can vary over the course of a shift, meaning that a food service worker may need to wait on several tables at once when patrons fill up his assigned table section.
A restaurant waiter often works part-time, covering breakfast, lunch or dinner shifts and depends on tips to provide the bulk of his income. Restaurant waiter and waitresses earned an average annual salary of $19,580 and average hourly wage of $9.41 as of May 2008, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
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