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What Waiters and Waitresses Do

Waiters and waitresses take orders and serve food and beverages to customers in dining establishments.


Waiters and waitresses typically do the following:

Waiters and waitresses, also called servers, are responsible for ensuring that customers have a satisfying dining experience. The specific duties of servers vary considerably with the establishment in which they work.

In casual-dining restaurants that offer routine, straightforward fare, such as salads, soups, and sandwiches, servers are expected to provide fast, efficient, and courteous service. In fine-dining restaurants, where more complicated meals are prepared and are often served over several courses, waiters and waitresses provide more formal service. They emphasize personal, attentive treatment at a more leisurely pace.

Waiters and waitresses may meet with managers and chefs before each shift to discuss the menu and any new items or specials, review ingredients for potential food allergies, or talk about any food safety concerns. They also discuss coordination between the kitchen and the dining room and review any customer service issues from the previous day or shift.

In addition, waiters and waitresses usually check the identification of patrons to ensure that they meet the minimum age requirement for the purchase of alcohol.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition