Waiter / Waitress
How to Become a Waiter / Waitress
Waiter Job Duties
Skills and Qualities of a Waiter
Waiter Wages and Earnings
Influential Professionals in this Field
Leading Organizations in this Field
Top Cities for Waiting and Server Jobs
Other Careers of Interest
Fine dining facilities, such as those owned by celebrity chefs, at hotels like the Ritz-Carlton, high-end clubs and banquet halls and resort/cruise ship operators, might also provide server training. However, to secure a position with such employers, one often has to show evidence that they have a sustained history of serving in mid-to-upper level dining establishments. Such businesses may also want documented evidence that an applicant has training in sommelier arts or other cuisine skills; this might, for example, include experience gained at culinary arts schools, like Le Cordon Bleu, The Art Institutes or any number of on-line education providers.
At whatever level one aspires to work, most servers acquire the bulk of their training on-the-job, that is, while working as a waiter or waitress. The one exception would be private, domestic serving, where one might be expected to attend a domestic service training program such as those that educate chauffeurs and butlers in their duties. The requirements for serving at the residences of political figures, for example, presidents, governors and ambassadors or at assisted living facilities may be even stricter, requiring background checks, government oversight and even some form of licensing.
Such a diverse set of opportunities means serving is one of the most popular jobs in the world. Frequently, it is also one of the most flexible in terms of scheduling. That, combined with its relative lack of off-the-clock demands, means it's frequently the preferred day-job of aspiring creative professionals, writers, musicians, actors etc. However, many servers, especially those in high-end restaurants, resorts, cruise ships, and in domestic settings, consider themselves career professionals and aspire to work in top restaurants, households and other facilities around the world.
Servers must also be at least somewhat physically capable, as the corporeal realities of serving can be demanding. Carrying large, heavy trays; nimbly moving about crowded rooms; arranging and serving complex orders, these are a few of the physical demands a server faces in the course of their daily work. Since servers are also almost constantly on their feet during a shift, a basic level of physical fitness can help mediate the effects of long hours spent exerting oneself.
Servers must also possess good memories and have the ability to organize large amounts of data, which is often given in a hurry, by customers, managers and employers. In a restaurant setting, a basic knowledge of maths will help a server recognize and deal with inevitable billing errors. Moreover, a good level of computer literacy, including major point of sale software systems, will prevent many of these errors from occurring.
Full-time servers working at casual-dining restaurants can usually expect to make between $20-25,000/year in most markets. Servers at higher-end restaurants and banquet halls can make many times that; up to six figures in markets like New York and Los Angeles. In the same cities, domestic servers and those working in assisted living facilities can make between $60-80,000 per year. As they often operate under different international laws and employ diverse sets of nationals, the salaries of servers at vacation resorts and on cruise ships can vary greatly.
Dmitri Dmitrov is a top maître d'hôtel at the famous Diaghilev restaurant, which is based at the Wyndham Bel Age Hotel in West Hollywood. Dmitrov started out waiting on tables at a London restaurant at the age of 18.
Another prominent maître d'hôtel is Jean-Philippe from Brussels, Belgium. Jean-Philippe has become well known from his appearances on Hell's Kitchen USA and manages to meet the exacting high standards of notorious chef Gordon Ramsay!
Nevertheless, chain and independent restaurants, of varying types, exist in virtually every city in the United States. Therefore, anyone wanting to serve at restaurants like Chili's, Outback, Olive Garden and local, independent eateries should have no trouble doing so. Because of the cost associated with, and relative rarity of, domestic servers, those interested in working in that capacity would do well to focus on major centers of capital, traditionally Los Angles and New York, but also Atlanta, Houston, Dallas and Las Vegas. Major retirement centers like Phoenix and Miami provide opportunities to serve in assisted living facilities, while vacation centers like Hawaii, California and Florida offer the best chance for servers looking to work in that industry.
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