Server Job Description: A Friendly & Customer-Focused Role

colleagues working in cafeteria

Working as a food server involves many duties beyond simply taking and delivering food orders. Not every restaurant has identical requirements, but the basic duties and responsibilities for this type of work tend to be similar from one employer to another. Whether you're a server who needs to describe your experience on your resume, or you're an employer who is putting together a job description for hiring purposes, the information provided here can help you accomplish your goal.

Primary Server Job Duties and Responsibilities

Server jobs involve a wide variety of duties and responsibilities, all focused on ensuring that customers have a positive dining experience at the restaurant. Examples of tasks typically performed by servers include:

  • Providing excellent customer service
  • Greeting patrons once they are seated
  • Presenting menus to customers
  • Providing information about daily specials to customers
  • Answering questions from patrons about food and beverages
  • Taking food and drink orders
  • Verifying age of customers who order alcoholic beverages
  • Upselling additional food and beverage products to patrons
  • Entering each item ordered into the restaurant's register system
  • Communicating customer orders to kitchen staff
  • Updating customers about the status of their orders
  • Verifying accuracy of orders before delivering
  • Following all relevant health department rules and regulations
  • Observing the principles of safe food handling and service
  • Delivering orders to customers
  • Refilling customer beverages throughout the meal
  • Finding out if customers need additional items
  • Verifying that customers are satisfied with their orders
  • Removing empty plates, used silverware, and soiled napkins from tables
  • Determining when customers have completed the meal
  • Delivering checks to customers
  • Accepting and processing customer payments
  • Attending scheduled team or shift meetings

Other Duties Servers Sometimes Perform

In some restaurants, servers have responsibilities beyond the primary duties listed above. Some servers may regularly be required or expected to perform a variety of other tasks, such as:

  • Assembling salads or other food items
  • Preparing cocktails
  • Performing hostess duties as needed
  • Coordinating with other waitstaff members to provide team-oriented service
  • Presenting a dessert tray once the main course is finished
  • Singing birthday songs to patrons upon request
  • Encouraging customers to complete customer service surveys
  • Providing private event and banquet service
  • Preparing a table for the next guests once a party has departed
  • Keeping the restaurant location clean and tidy
  • Restocking salad bars or buffet lines
  • Folding napkins
  • Arranging table settings
  • Ensuring proper packaging and preparation of takeout orders
  • Coordinating with drivers from food delivery services
  • Training new food servers

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

In addition to specific job duties, it's also important to include additional areas of knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to perform the job of a server. A few possibilities include:

  • Communicates appropriately and professionally with customers and other employees
  • Builds rapport with customers to facilitate a positive dining experience and to boost restaurant sales
  • Knows and is able to use culinary terminology relevant to the role
  • Comfortable multitasking consistently throughout each shift
  • Has previous retail or food service experience, or formal training in the field
  • Operates a payment transaction system accurately and efficiently
  • Works effectively with others in a team environment
  • Able to read, comprehend and follow instructions and menus
  • Able to write (or type if using a tablet-based ordering system) customer orders accurately

Physical Requirements

Working as a server can be physically taxing. Job descriptions should include a list of essential physical requirements necessary to perform the work, with information specific to the particular restaurant. Examples include:

  • Ability to lift, carry, deliver and serve from trays weighing up to 50 pounds throughout an eight-hour shift
  • Ability to balance a serving tray on one hand while distributing orders to customers with the other
  • Ability to carry and set up a folding table to support particularly heavy orders
  • Ability to stand and walk continually throughout an eight-hour shift
  • Ability to bend, stoop and reach while carrying serving trays weighing up to 50 pounds
  • Visual acuity to see restaurant menus, take customer orders, review customer bills and smoothly navigate dining room, kitchen, and other facility areas
  • Ability to attend work as scheduled, working various schedules and shifts throughout normal business hours

Printable Job Description

If you're writing a job description, you may find it helpful to have a printable job description that you can edit. If so, just click the image below. A fully customizable template featuring an abbreviated version of the above job description will open. Save it to your hard drive, then click anywhere in the document to make changes. Your finished job description should include only actual requirements for servers at your company, so remove or add as needed.

Printable Server Job Description

If you need help downloading the printable, check out these helpful tips.

Accurately Describing the Work of a Server

It can be challenging to describe the work that a server does, simply because servers handle so many important tasks. If you're hiring a server or if you're trying to convey the experience you gained working as a server, be sure to emphasize customer service skills and multitasking. Those aren't the only keys to succeeding in a server job, but they are certainly required.

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Server Job Description: A Friendly & Customer-Focused Role