Waitress Job Description

Contributor: Sally Painter
serving food

While not every restaurant uses the same job description for waitress positions, the basic duties for this type of work are similar from one employer to another. Review the examples of typical duties below, then use the attached printable job description to customize a document specific to your staff.

Essential Job Duties for Waitresses

When you're ready to get started, simply click the image and the template will open. Use the diskette icon on the tool bar to save the document to your computer, adding details specific to your restaurant for each category. Use the information below as applicable, along with additional details that apply to your servers. Note that the finished job description should include only actual requirements for the position you are hiring for.

Waitress Job description
Click here to download the waitress job description template

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Virtually all waitress jobs include customer service, sales, operations and compliance duties. Examples of responsibilities that fall within these categories include:

Customer Service Duties

Waitresses are responsible for a variety of customer service tasks, including:

  • Providing excellent customer service
  • Greeting patrons once they are seated
  • Presenting menus to customers
  • Explaining menu items to customers
  • Answering questions from patrons about food and beverages
  • Sharing information with customers about the status of their orders
  • Refilling customer drink orders throughout the meal
  • Finding out if customers need additional items
  • Verifying that customers are satisfied with their orders

Sales Duties

Waitresses handle a variety of sales-specific tasks, including:

  • Taking food and drink orders
  • Up-selling additional food and beverage products to patrons
  • Entering each item ordered into restaurant register system
  • Delivering checks to customers
  • Accepting payment for the meal

Operations Duties

  • Communicating customer orders to kitchen staff
  • Ensuring that customer orders are assembled properly in the kitchen
  • Delivering orders to customers
  • Removing empty plates, used silverware, and soiled napkins from tables
  • Determining when customers have completed the meal
  • Attending scheduled team or shift meetings
  • Training new food servers

Compliance Duties

Waitresses play a role in regulatory compliance, including:

  • Verifying age of customers who order alcoholic beverages
  • Following all relevant health department rules and regulations
  • Observing the principles of safe food handling and service

Duties Included in Some Waitress Jobs

Since each restaurant location or chain has its own guidelines for customer service and staffing, wait staff may be asked to perform a variety of different functions. In some facilities, working as a waitress requires additional duties.

waitress duties

Hostess Functions

Not all restaurants have a dedicated hostess staff. In these facilities, waitresses will likely be required to perform the following tasks:

  • Taking reservation phone calls
  • Greeting customers at the door
  • Seating patrons
  • Cash register operation

Set-up and Service Duties

In some restaurants, waitresses are required to be heavily involved with all aspects of operations, including food service and set-up. Additional duties may include:

  • Assisting with preparation of some food items
  • Preparing table for the next guests once a party has departed
  • Preparing cocktails
  • Keeping the restaurant location clean and tidy
  • Restocking salad bars or buffet lines
  • Folding napkins
  • Arranging table settings

Amenity Duties

Some restaurants offer more amenities than others. Depending on the "extras" provided at a particular restaurant, waitresses may be required to perform the following tasks:

  • Coordinating with other wait staff members to provide team oriented service
  • Presenting a dessert tray once the main course is finished
  • Singing Happy Birthday to patrons upon request
  • Encouraging customers to complete customer service surveys
  • Providing private event and banquet service

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

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

  • Ability to operate the point-of-sale register system, including processing credit card and cash transactions
  • Ability to communicate in an appropriate professional manner with customers and other employees
  • Ability to read, comprehend and follow menus and instructions
  • Knowledge of culinary terminology
  • Previous retail or food service experience, or formal training via a hospitality or culinary program

Physical Requirements

Working as a waitress 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 serving tray on one hand while distributing orders to customers with the other
  • Ability to carry and set up 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

Specific Job Descriptions

All duties, special qualifications (referred to as knowledge, skills and abilities) and physical requirements should be stated in your job description. Click the image to open a customizable template that you can use to create a job description that matches your hiring needs, being sure to limit items to job-specific requirements.

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Waitress Job Description