How to Be a Waiter Without Experience

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Working as a waiter in a restaurant typically provides a chance to meet new people in a fast-paced atmosphere, and provides some cash in your pocket at the end of the day. However, if you have no experience waiting tables, landing a job as a waiter can sometimes be tricky. There are a few simple tips you can use to land a job as a waiter, even with no experience.

Things You'll Need

  • Resume
  • Professional outfit
  • Closed-toed shoes
  • Pens
  • Go to the restaurants to which you'd like to apply. You should consider at least five restaurants as the restaurant industry is very competitive. Taste the food and talk to your waiter about their experiences at the restaurant. Pay attention to how they're waiting your table. Make sure not to bug them too much, since they have other customers, but ask a few key questions about their experience working at the establishment. You could even exchange phone numbers or e-mail addresses if they seem open to this. You can then ask them more questions, but again, only if they seem open to talking to you.

  • Fine tune your resume to showcase your best skills. If you've had past jobs in customer service, list them, emphasizing your ability to work well with customers. Managers look for polite, consistent waiters for their staff. List your education background. Even restaurants sometimes won't hire someone without a college degree.

  • Apply to the restaurant just before the busy seasons hits, like summer and Christmas. Restaurants often find themselves understaffed during these times, and are more likely to hire you. Timing is everything. Plan on going to the restaurant after their lunch shift, and before their pre-dinner set up so the restaurant isn't too busy and you are more likely to get fac- to-face time with the general manager.

  • Go to the restaurant looking your best. Make sure your clothes are ironed, your shoes are shined, and you have washed your hair and shaved (if applicable). Walk in with a smile and ask a host or hostess to speak to the general manager. If the manager isn't available, ask if there's another time you can speak with him in person. Restaurants keep gigantic files of applications which people drop off, but they hardly ever read them. It's vital to get face-to-face time with the general manager.

  • Look the general manager in the eye, firmly shake his hand, and state your intentions. You can even mention that you had spoken to a waiter who works there already about the restaurant. If the waiter said good things about the restaurant, mention this. It make that waiter and you look good, because you're both complimenting the restaurant. Ask to fill out an application. Do so carefully, and take your time. When you're done, hand it directly to the general manager, along with your resume. If he has time to interview you, smile and answer his questions truthfully. If he doesn't have time, ask when you could come back. Always follow up, but never pester him.

  • Be nice to everyone! If even one person doesn't like you when they first meet you, this feeling will eventually get back to the general manager. Make sure to be humble, to smile, and be polite. This applies especially for the general manager, but also to everyone in the restaurant. Make everyone want you to work there, and eventually you'll land a job as a waiter.

  • Practice balancing dishes and glasses at home. Use a tray and balance several glasses and plates and walk across your room. It's vital to be able to carry large amounts of food and drinks through a crowded restaurant, so make sure you feel comfortable doing this. Practice opening wine bottles with a waiter's wine key as well, so you don't look like a rookie when you get to the restaurant.

  • Brush up on your basic math skills. This comes handy, even today with most restaurants using computers. You should be able to do simple addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division in your head. This can save you time when you have several table to look after.

Tips & Warnings

  • Never call a restaurant to see if they're hiring. Go there in person.
  • Bring pens to write down information they give you.

References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images
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