A restaurant server delivers food and drink orders to their guests. Their job duties include giving details about the menu to their customers and communicating with kitchen staff.
They also provide top-notch service for their guests, including information about order statuses and accepting payment for the meal. Read on to learn the basic restaurant server job description.
Restaurant Server Job Description
Restaurant servers are part of the front-of-house staff in a restaurant, which means they interact with guests who dine in a restaurant. They also communicate with the back-of-house in the kitchen to ensure accurate food preparation.
Servers should have good communication skills and ask relevant questions when taking an order. They should also know some basic restaurant lingo to cooperate with each other efficiently.
The precise job description for a server varies depending on the type and size of the venue. However, all servers greet guests and provide customer service throughout the dining experience.
Good servers engage in conversation with their visitors to create a warm and friendly environment for dining. They must be knowledgeable about the food and beverages on the menu to answer any questions. Servers may also have to explain dishes to guests to prevent any worries about food preparation or allergies.
Restaurant servers can work an opening, closing, or swing shift in a restaurant. Their duties vary depending on which shift and time of day they work.
The opening shift might require laying down tablecloths, preparing place settings, and putting up signs. Closing shift servers clean the restaurant and prepare certain items for the next opening shift. Swing shift employees usually focus on serving the customers and accurately and quickly delivering their orders.
Restaurant Server Responsibilities
Here are eight responsibilities that a restaurant server must perform at their job:
1. Prepare restaurant tables with attention to cleanliness and organization.
The server must ensure that the dining area is clean and sanitized before allowing their guests to sit.
They also might set the table with silverware, glasses, and napkins. Any condiment packages and salt, pepper, and sugar containers should be on the table and ready for the customers to use.
2. Greet and assist customers when they enter the restaurant.
In addition to the host/hostess and restaurant manager, servers should also welcome guests and make them feel comfortable when arriving.
A successful server will build a relationship with people who will become repeat customers. It gives the restaurant a boost in business and pleases the manager and owner. A good server can play a vital role in helping restaurant operations run smoothly.
3. Offer restaurant menus and assist guests with selecting food and beverages.
In restaurants without a host/hostess, the server will bring menus to the table. They offer information about the food and drink specials-and wine sales-and relay the order to the kitchen. If guests commonly request an unavailable item, they might suggest adding it to the menu to the restaurant manager or kitchen staff.
4. Take guests' orders and bring food and drinks to the table.
A server should be knowledgeable about every dish and drink on the menu. It prepares them for any questions the diners have when ordering their meal. They need to be in good physical shape and have the coordination for carrying multiple items or trays through a crowded restaurant.
A server should explain any delays with the order and request updates from the kitchen staff to keep their guests informed. They should always keep in mind their diners' best interests.
5. Provide recommendations for any complimentary products, including appetizers and desserts.
Not only will guests want food and drinks, but they might also need something to eat before the main course. Servers should ask whether guests wish to start with something from the appetizer list.
If they still have room after dinner, one of the choices from the dessert menu might cap off the occasion perfectly. Servers should raise awareness of these options to provide better service and increase sales for the establishment. Good restaurant servers come up with restaurant improvement ideas to boost the efficiency of the establishment.
6. Collaborate with other restaurant staff, including the manager, other servers, and the bartender.
A restaurant server is one member of a food and beverage team. They should manage the needs of their guests appropriately but also reach out for help from other team members when necessary. If they have a crowded section, the restaurant manager could provide some assistance by bringing out dishes.
A team of servers might decide the restaurant sections they will each be responsible for on a rotating basis. This opportunity requires effective communication and teamwork. Guests may be unsure about the wine list or beer menu. In this situation, a server might rely on the bartender to provide some additional information. Any bartender worth the skills on their bartender resume will be able to help with drink recommendations.
7. Listen to complaints and deal with issues that arise.
Nobody is perfect, including the best restaurant employees. Sometimes there's a mistake with the order, or the food didn't meet the guests' expectations.
Customers might drop silverware on the floor, or they might need more salsa for their nachos. Whatever the problem, servers should listen to questions and complaints and demonstrate empathy. Visitors will appreciate that a server did their best to enhance their dining experience, even if there was an issue during the meal.
Restaurant servers might participate in swot analysis for restaurant improvement ideas. Management likes to include servers in these because they interact with customers on a daily basis and know what they're discussing.
8. Present the bill to their guests and accept payment.
Once the meal has finished, the server requests payment from the customer. It's necessary to learn all aspects of the point of sale (POS) system during onboarding. It prevents any glitches in the system from catching a server off guard.
It's another example of a situation when the restaurant manager can assist their staff in dealing with an issue. A restaurant server should have some basic math skills that come in handy during a typical day at their restaurant. This also helps in tracking any restaurant KPI.
Restaurant Server Salary
The average national salary for a restaurant server stands at $13.97 per hour. After a server works in the industry for six to nine years, the average salary increases to $15.41. Add tips from the guests to these numbers, and the overall earnings significantly increase.
A candidate for a server position only needs a high school diploma except for some larger restaurants with complex operations. Interestingly, Dallas ($15.32/hourly), Houston ($14.97/hourly), and San Diego ($14.87/hourly) are the three highest-earning cities for restaurant servers on average in the United States.
By working hard, learning the restaurant business, and developing excellent customer service skills, servers can aspire for promotion to restaurant manager. It's also possible to switch to a banquet server position at a hotel or combine the two under one employer.
Achieving Success as a Restaurant Server
Restaurant servers who are successful and gain recognition for their performance do so because they love the restaurant industry. An excellent server never stops improving their skills and keeps up with changes in the restaurant.
They are passionate about the food and beverage industry and take their careers in hospitality seriously. But they also enjoy what they do and contribute to a successful restaurant operation.