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5 Things You Can Do to Become a Waiter

This waiter is my spirit animal.
This waiter is my spirit animal.

A lot of restaurant jobs require you to start from the bottom and work your way up, here’s our advice on how to become a waiter.

I remember when I got my first job in a full-service restaurant. I was nervous, excited and most importantly — motivated to make my way up to becoming a waiter so I could start making more money. Typically, when you’re just starting out in the restaurant industry you have to take a job as a busser or host before being promoted as a server. It can take some time to prove you have what it takes to move up the ladder in a restaurant, but here are a few actions you can take to make that jump quicker.

Be ready to work your way up
As mentioned, one of the first steps of becoming a waiter is to just get your foot in the door. For a lot of people, this means becoming a busser or a host. These positions will teach you the foundations of what you need to know to become a waiter at the specific restaurant you are working. For instance, familiarity with the menu and familiarity with the culture and pace of the restaurant. You will also learn a lot about customer service and how it works specifically in the restaurant industry. This includes being attentive and learning the ability to anticipate the needs of others.

Communicate your Goals
Relaying your goals when accepting a job is important no matter where you work, but especially at a restaurant. Restaurant managers have a lot on their plate at any one moment and it’s appreciated to have someone who’s straight forward about their aim to be a waiter and asks what they need to do to get there. Even at an interview, you can make it known that you hope to become a server someday through the job you’re interviewing for. They will take it as motivation and determination which can make you more valuable to an employer.

Demonstrate a strong Work Ethic
To prove that you are ready to become a server, you not only want to show that you are capable of handling the job of a busser or host, but that you are reliable and have a strong work ethic as well. This is shown through your ability to show up on time, to communicate clearly and to take every task seriously. Demonstrating a strong work ethic can be shown through little things like effective listening and in bigger things like stepping up to cover a shift when someone else calls in sick.

If a waiter position opens up at the place you work — do not hesitate to ask to take the position

Learn from your Peers
Another step after demonstrating that you take your job seriously and are committed is to listen to your peers and slowly begin taking on more responsibilities. For instance, you will need to learn how to place orders, carry multiple plates on one arm and even open a bottle of wine. On slow nights, if there is a waiter you are close with, feel free to ask them to teach you. Once you gain some comfortability with small tasks you can help other waiters out by taking a bottle of wine to a table for them or conveying a customers order. This is how I began to learn and it was extremely helpful when I finally jumped up to being a waiter. I already knew how to do things like carrying a tray full of drinks or clearing a table, which allowed me to focus and learn other aspects of waiting like multitasking multiple seatings at once.

Ask for the Job
As a busser or host, you have the inside scoop on when open positions become available. If a waiter position opens up at the place you work — do not hesitate to ask to take the position. Sometimes you have to remind your employer of your goals and put yourself out there. Because they are already familiar with you, it’s more likely they will move you up than hire someone new.

Being a waiter is a big responsibility, you’re a liaison between the customers and the rest of the restaurant. There is a lot to learn before becoming server which is why you typically have to work your way up, but it’s not impossible. Giving a little extra motivation to learn, listen and hustle can go a long way in your career in the restaurant industry.

Ashley McNally

Ashley McNally likes to cook, loves to bake, and is always dreaming of her next meal. With over 13 years of experience working in various roles within a restaurant — McNally has made a home in hospitality.

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