WHAT DO SERVERS DO?
Do you like working with people, making them happy, and being surrounded by delicious food? Then you might be ready for a server job. Servers are the front lines of food and beverage customer service, taking orders, delivering food and cleaning up and resetting the table afterwards. Whether it's a full service restaurant or a casual dining place, you are the smiling, aproned harbinger of deliciousness.
You make sure the order is right, the food comes out fast, everyone has enough wet-naps, and you can roll a mean fork, knife and spoon in a napkin.
HOW MUCH DO SERVERS MAKE?
It depends on the type of job you get. Some server jobs are paid a flat rate and earn tips from customers, which are either pooled and divided equally by all of the servers working or kept by the individual.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says that in 2010, the median pay for waiters and waitresses was $8.81 an hour, including tips, or $18,330 a year. For combined food prep and serving workers, like you would find in a fast food restaurant, the median income was $8.63 an hour.
WHAT ARE THE EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS?
No education is needed to start as an entry level server, and much of what you will learn will be done on-the-job. You may have to be 18 or older to serve alcohol, depending on state.
Higher end restaurants may give you more training, and you can seek other vocational training at trade schools and restaurant associations to advance your career.
JOB SKILLS AND REQUIREMENTS
- Communication Skills: Communication is key to server jobs. You will need to listen to the customer's order, relay it to the cooks, tell customers about specials, and more. You will need great listening and speaking skills to create a great dining experience for customers.
- Customer Service: A dissatisfied customer is not going to tip. A friendly, relaxing demeanor, courteousness and quick service will help you get repeat customers.
- Good Memory: Big, complicated orders happen. You will have to remember food and drink specials, what food the kitchen is out of this week, who ordered what, and that kid at table 16 keeps needing root beer refills. A great memory will help.
- Stamina: Long, busy days on your feet are the trademark of a server job.
- Teamwork: Servers are part of a team. You will be working with other servers, busboys, bartenders and cooks to make a great dining experience. Being a team player is essential.
- Cleanliness: Nobody wants their food delivered by a slob. Being clean and neat when serving food and drinks will help create a great first impression to your customers.
THE FUTURE OF SERVERS
With more people eating takeout, self-service and carryout options, server jobs will grow slower than average over the next 10 years, according to the BLS.