The waitstaff at a restaurant is responsible for providing food and beverages to customers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the need for waitstaff at restaurants will increase by 11 percent through 2016, resulting in the creation of 255,000 new jobs for waiters and waitresses.
Also called servers, waiters and waitresses greet customers, explain specials and menu items, take orders and deliver the orders to the kitchen. The waitstaff delivers food to customers when it is ready, gets them condiments or other items to improve the meal, itemizes the bill, delivers it and sometimes accepts the payment for the meal.
To be successful, the waitstaff needs to be familiar with the menu and be aware of all health code regulations regarding the serving and preparation of food. In some restaurants, servers make salads or ladle out portions of soup on their own or make the beverages for their customers.
Waiters and waitresses often work long shifts that may involve early mornings, evenings, weekends, holidays and even overnight work if the restaurant that employs them operates 24 hours per day. Some members of the waitstaff work part-time, while others work 40 hours per week.
There is usually no education requirement for employment as a member of the waitstaff, but employers often favor applicants with a high school diploma or GED. Some restaurants are willing to hire teens who are still in high school to work as servers.
In August 2009, the average annual salary of waiters and waitresses was between $9,034 and $47,932, according to Payscale.com. Part of the salary for waitstaff comes from an hourly rate of pay, but the majority comes from tips or gratuities left by customers.
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