Food and beverage servers are employed in restaurants, coffee shops, bars, clubs, hotels and other retail eating and drinking establishments. There are more part-time positions in this occupation than there are in most occupations, and most food and beverage servers are young. Experienced food and beverage servers can move to better paying jobs in larger and more formal food establishments.
Food and beverage servers’ duties vary considerably from one type of establishment to another. In fast food outlets, they often work behind counters and use computerized systems to take orders and tabulate bills. In coffee shops and cocktail lounges, they provide quick and efficient service for customers seated at tables. In formal dining establishments, they carefully observe established rules of service and etiquette, and pace the meal according to customer preference.
In general, however, food and beverage servers:
- prepare tables or counters for meals
- stock the service area with supplies (for example, coffee, glassware)
- greet customers, present menus and help customers select menu items
- inform customers about daily specials
- record orders and place them with the kitchen and bar
- pick up and serve orders
- check that customers are enjoying their meals and correct any problems
- suggest and serve desserts and beverages
- clean and reset tables
- tabulate and present bills for payment.
Attributes of a professional Food and Beverage server:
Food and beverage servers need the following characteristics:
- the ability to serve customers cheerfully, courteously and efficiently
- good organization and multi-tasking skills
- good health
- good grooming
- the ability to work as part of a team
- the ability to work with little supervision
- good verbal communication skills and sensitivity to customer needs
- the ability to work calmly under pressure.