How To Write a Cover Letter for a Part-Time Job in a Restaurant

If it's a fine-dining restaurant, your cover letter should emphasize cuisine familiarity and customer service.
If it's a fine-dining restaurant, your cover letter should emphasize cuisine familiarity and customer service. (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

Thanks to the availability of cheap online job boards, restaurant classified ads can quickly net dozens, if not hundreds, of responses from eager applicants. Part-time restaurant jobs are especially tempting for college students or fledgling entrepreneurs looking to supplement income as their business grows. A top-notch cover letter needs to tempt restaurant managers into reading your resume and inviting you for an in-person interview. Learn how to write an effective cover letter to land a part-time restaurant job.

Read the restaurant job posting again. You may have skimmed through it fast enough to understand that the business is hiring, but this time you’re looking for clues about what type of employee the restaurant wants. A high-volume diner may want someone whose cover letter emphasizes multitasking, managing large sections, and quick, efficient customer service. A fine-dining restaurant will note cover letters describing wine knowledge, familiarity with their regional cuisine and a polished touch with customers.

Format the letter as business correspondence. This may be a restaurant job, but basic professional guidelines prevail regardless. Type your contact information, the date and the recipient’s contact information at the top of the letter. Include the recipient's name in your salutation; don’t use “To whom it may concern." Find out the manager’s name by calling the restaurant, and use correct spelling. The manager will appreciate that you’ve taken the additional step of using her name in the cover letter.

Write a brief opening paragraph stating how you heard about the job opening and why you’re the perfect fit, using information you’ve learned by researching the restaurant.

Write a second paragraph that addresses the part-time aspect of the job. Restaurants staff rosters are constantly fluctuating. Employers will be suspicious of workers applying for part-time work without good reason (they don’t want to feel pressured into scheduling you full time) so mention that you’re in school or have another part-time job. Restaurant managers also value flexibility, so write a sentence saying that you’d be available to take on additional shifts as needed.

Conclude your cover letter by stating that you would like to meet in person to further discuss your restaurant experience and qualifications. Include a plan of action; restaurant managers might get tied up in a project and delay getting in touch. State that you will contact the restaurant within two weeks to follow up on your cover letter materials. Don't forget to sign your name in ink.

Tips & Warnings

  • It's fine to send your cover letter and resume via email if the ad posting suggests this option, but restaurants thrive on warm personalities from their front-of-the-house staff. It doesn't hurt to drop off your application materials in person during off-hours; ask to speak with a manager.
  • Restaurants sometimes have informal work environments, but keep your work applications strictly professional. Use quality stationery, fresh ink and standard font size and color. Managers are busy; keep your letter short and to-the-point to avoid having your application passed over.

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