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What Does a Server Do? | Restaurant Server Responsibilities

As a restaurant owner, you want to ensure your staff is well-trained and equipped to handle any situation they may encounter while working. And one of the most important positions on your team is the restaurant server. 

Not only do these employees interact directly with customers by taking orders and providing them with food and beverages, but they can also be invaluable assets for other tasks. Therefore, it’s essential to have a comprehensive understanding of what does a server do at a restaurant.

In this post, we’ll cover common restaurant server responsibilities, so you can better understand how to best utilize their talents in the service of your restaurant business.

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Restaurant Server

A restaurant server is a person who works in the food service industry, providing customers with food and beverages. Servers are often referred to as waiters or waitresses depending on gender, but many restaurants now use gender-neutral terms.

What Does a Server Do At a Restaurant?

A server at a restaurant is responsible for ensuring guests have an enjoyable experience throughout their meal. They greet customers when they arrive and help them with any questions they may have about the menu or specials. They then take orders, serve food and drinks, answer any additional questions diners may have, check on customers to ensure they enjoy their meals, and process payments.

Servers also help keep the restaurant clean by clearing dishes, wiping off tables, and helping with other tasks as needed. Ultimately, they serve as the liaison between customers and the kitchen staff to ensure all guests are satisfied with their meals.

Restaurant Server Job Description: What Is Included?

Whether you’re posting a job online for a server or writing a job description to hire one in-house, you should include certain elements. Generally, a server job description should include the following information:

  1. Job Title and Summary: Include a concise title for the position (e.g., restaurant server) and an informative summary of the job duties.
  2. Essential Duties and Responsibilities: These should be a detailed list of the primary job functions of the position, such as greeting customers, taking orders, and delivering food to tables.
  3. Qualifications: This can include educational requirements, preferred experience, and any certifications necessary for performing the job (e.g., food safety or bartending certifications).
  4. Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities: Include any specific skills required to be a successful server (e.g., the ability to memorize menu items) and any other important qualities an applicant should possess (e.g., customer service experience).
  5. Supervisory Responsibility: If the position involves supervising other employees or has other management duties, they should be listed here.
  6. Working Conditions: Be sure to include any necessary safety precautions (e.g., food-handling protocols) and hazards that may be present on the job (e.g., slippery floors).
  7. Pay Rate: Include an estimated salary range or hourly wage rate.

Including the necessary information in a server job description will ensure that applicants understand what is expected of them and create a clear picture of the position for potential candidates. This will help you find the best person for the job and understand its requirements better.

Server Responsibilities

  • Attend pre-shift meetings to discuss daily specials, menu changes, or other relevant information.
  • Assist in training new staff on food preparation, service procedures, and safety standards.
  • Maintain up-to-date knowledge of menu items and restaurant specials.
  • Monitor the dining room for unoccupied or dirty tables.
  • Greet and seat customers when they arrive.
  • Present menus to customers when requested and make recommendations about food and drink, including popular cocktails, courses, and wine pairings.
  • Upsell additional items to customers, such as desserts or drinks. 
  • Take orders accurately and enter them into the restaurant's point of sale system
  • Conveying customers’ food allergies or special nutritional needs to kitchen personnel.
  • Follow all food safety guidelines when storing and handling TCS food items.
  • Ensure guests are served on time.
  • Check meals for accuracy before serving them. 
  • Replenish food, beverages, and condiments throughout meal service 
  • Respond to customer complaints professionally and take appropriate action  
  • Prepare checks or process payment transactions at the end of meal service
  • Adhere to proper cash handling procedures in accordance with company policies and regulations
  • Clear and clean tables after guests leave 
  • Assist other servers and hostesses when needed
  • Clean up spills or broken dishes when necessary 
  • Reconcile sales at the end of each shift. 
  • Communicate any shifts or schedule changes to management.  Thank customers as they leave and invite them to return.  Invite feedback from guests and always act on it if appropriate. 
  • Assist in other restaurant areas, such as bussing tables, taking restaurant reservations, phone orders, and stocking supplies
  • Provide excellent restaurant customer service by ensuring that all guests are treated in a courteous, friendly manner. 

Servers at restaurants play an essential role in the success of their establishments. They take orders from diners and provide excellent customer service. They keep everyone fed by bringing food to the correct tables on time. They help manage cash registers, close out tabs, and clear dishes from the table. As these employees interact with customers multiple times throughout their shifts, it is clear that these hardworking employees are essential to the success of any restaurant.


Frequently Asked Questions About What Does A Server Do At a Restaurant

To help you better understand the job of a restaurant server, we’ve compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions about this role.

What Is the Main Job of a Server?

The main job of a restaurant server is to provide excellent customer service. This includes taking orders, serving food and drinks, clearing the tables, and offering additional services such as refilling drinks and helping with dessert selections. Restaurant servers must also be able to answer questions about menu items and specials.

Are Waiters Stressful?

Being a waiter is undeniably one of the most stressful jobs out there. Waiters are constantly on their feet, interacting with dozens of customers in a single shift and often dealing with difficult personalities. In fact, according to scientists, waiters can experience higher levels of stress than even neurosurgeons – putting them at risk for physical and mental health issues. 

Is a Server a Female Job?

Even though servers are often considered a traditionally female-dominated job, it is not always true. While most wait staff may be female in some countries, there is no hard and fast rule about which gender should serve restaurant customers. In actuality, both men and women can be servers.

What Skills Are Required to Be a Server?

Being a server requires more than just taking orders and serving food. It involves being a customer service representative, problem solver, multitasker, and salesperson all at the same time. To be an effective server, you need strong interpersonal skills such as communication, listening, and empathy. You need to be organized and able to remember details, like menu items and custom orders. You should also be able to stay calm in a busy, stressful environment.

Who Does a Server Work With?

A restaurant server typically works with both the front and back-of-house teams. The front of house staff, who interact directly with customers, includes hosts, bussers, food runners, and bartenders. Meanwhile, back of house team members are focused on food preparation, dishwashing, and other kitchen tasks. Servers coordinate with these teams to ensure that orders are taken properly from customers, prepared correctly, and delivered quickly with a high level of service.