Requirements to Work at a Restaurant


Some of the requirements to work in a restaurant have to do with previous work experience or education, while other requirements have more to do with your personality. Whether you aspire to work as a line cook, server or bartender, the basic requirements for working in a restaurant are all the same.


  • You must have a good memory to become a valued part of a restaurant team. If you are a server, then you will need to remember the daily specials, the orders placed by your tables and important information about the rest of the menu. If you are working in the kitchen, then you will need to remember not only the ingredients and techniques used to make a dish, but also how to plate the entree. And, of course, a good bartender can never forget who ordered what drink (and, more importantly, what is used to make that drink). Even busboys and dishwashers will have many aspects of their daily duties that they must commit to memory.

Good health

  • Whether you are greeting guests at the hostess booth, waiting tables, slinging drinks or cooking meals, chances are that you will be on your feet for at least 8 hours a day. If you are unable to stand for hours on end or lift at least 30 pounds due to medical issues, then working in a restaurant might not be the best choice for you. However, certain restaurants make a point of hiring people who ordinarily would not be considered good waitstaff. For example, there are restaurants around the world where patrons eat in total darkness and are served by blind waiters.

Willingness to work

  • One of the hard parts about working in a restaurant is that you are generally working while the rest of the world is relaxing or going out on the town. You likely will have to work nights, and that can be hard if you have a family or even just a busy social calendar. Depending on where you work, you might not get out of work until 2 in the morning. If you want to succeed in this industry, then you will need to toil long hours while your friends are going out to the movies or partying.


  • Although most restaurant jobs do not require educational experience, aspiring cooks and chefs often find it helpful to have either extensive work experience or culinary school classes under their belt before seeking a job. If you aspire to own or manage a restaurant, you likely will need to take some business courses.

Federal guidelines

  • In the United States, workers must present ID, as well as proof of citizenship. Naturalized citizens also will need to prove their eligibility to work in the U.S.

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  • Photo Credit Restaurant image by René Schulz from
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