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What is a server?

Learn all about what a server does, how much they're paid, and much more!

What is a server

What is a server?

A server is a master of customer service and has fine-tuned interpersonal skills. Catering to the needs of guests in a fast-paced, full-service restaurant environment requires lots of patience and the ability to multitask.

Servers also have to be knowledgeable about the menu of the restaurant where they work to answer guests’ questions. They must be aware of any allergens in dishes and know how to handle food safely.

What are a server’s duties and responsibilities?

A restaurant server’s duties and responsibilities include:

  • Communicating between guests and kitchen staff

  • Knowledge about the restaurant’s menu

  • Knowing and adhering to food safety standards

  • Multitasking and anticipating guests’ needs

  • Accommodating special requests from guests

  • Taking orders for meals and beverages

  • Adhering to standards of service set by management

How much are servers paid?

Servers are paid both hourly wages and tips, and they earn an average of $20,000 to $30,000 annually. Their average hourly wage is $13.95. Server’s wages can vary greatly because of tips and the volume of sales in a restaurant.

What are the qualities that make a good server?

A good server is attentive, patient, and works well as part of a team. Servers have to be good multitaskers to accommodate the needs of several parties of guests at the same time. They also need to have a good memory and be knowledgeable about the restaurant’s menu.

Good servers have excellent interpersonal communication skills. Being able to communicate clearly with guests and the rest of a restaurant’s staff is critical to the role. Servers should be comfortable talking to guests able to read a table and anticipate their needs.

How to become a server?

Serving tables requires customer service experience and knowledge of the food and beverage industry. Becoming a server often requires starting as a host, busser, food runner, or another role within a restaurant. That way, you can learn the ropes of the restaurant industry before becoming responsible for table service.

Restaurant managers want to be sure that they are hiring servers that have the experience for the job. Customer service experience of any kind is a good starting point. Many restaurants are willing to train servers on the specific qualifications for the role.

Most states require restaurant employees to have a food handling certification. If you plan to become a server, it can be good to take the initiative and enroll in state-sanctioned a food safety course.

It’s always a good idea to browse online job ads to find which restaurants in your area are hiring servers. Restaurant management staff is often impressed by candidates that take the initiative to visit the restaurant, introduce themselves, and express genuine interest in the job.

How to hire a server?

Start the hiring process for servers by making a list of the experience, qualifications, and skills that you want potential candidates to have. If you’re willing to train servers, you might find a larger pool of candidates from which to hire. There are lots of service professionals on the market, so it’s good to have an idea of the kind of people that are the best fit for your restaurant.

When interviewing applicants, ask about how they work on a team and assess their interpersonal skills. Verify their qualifications and build a training program to prepare new hires with the skills they need to acquire for the job.

Posting job ads online can help to bring in lots of applications, but they might not all have the right skills and experience to be a server. When setting interviews, call the candidates that have a history of customer service experience–it’s even better if they’ve worked in the food service industry.

Restaurant servers are skilled workers, often performing several customer service roles at once. They get to meet a lot of different people and they enjoy providing guests with a memorable, high-quality dining experience.

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