Job description

Servers are responsible for ensuring that restaurant customers have a satisfying and enjoyable dining experience. They take orders and serve food and beverages to customers, answer questions regarding the menu and make meal or drink suggestions.

Servers give customer orders to kitchen staff and deliver the drinks and food to the designated tables. These professionals are also responsible for taking payments from customers and clearing up a table when they leave.


    • Greet customers entering a restaurant
    • Take food and beverage orders from customers
    • Explain the menu and answer any questions
    • Make drink or meal suggestions
    • Give food and drink orders to kitchen staff
    • Inform kitchen staff of any customer allergies
    • Carry and serve drinks and food to customers
    • Deal with customer complaints and concerns
    • Prepare checks and take payments from customers
    • Clean tables

Skills, qualities and knowledge

Attention to detail
Customer service
Physical stamina
Physical strength

Working hours and environment

Average working hours


Typical schedule

Part Time

Nights, weekends, holidays occasionally

Servers work in cafés or restaurants in both indoor and outdoor environments.

The job can be physically demanding as they spend a lot of their time on their feet carrying trays, dishes and drinks. Serving can be stressful, especially during peak dining times, when servers must act quickly, politely and efficiently.

Servers often work within a team, whether it is with other waiters or kitchen staff.

Those who work in fine dining might be required to wear a uniform.


Bottom 10%




Top 10%


Annual salary estimates are based on percentile wage data collected through the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey of US workers.

Qualifications and training

Education level

High school

DVM / VMD degree

Study time


There are no formal entry requirements for becoming a server. Most companies will hire individuals with just a high school diploma.

Training for this position is usually provided on the job, usually over the course of a few weeks. This might involve classroom training or on-the-job work experience.

Servers that are required to serve alcohol may undergo training that involves learning state and local laws about the sale of alcoholic beverages. These individuals must also be at least 18 years old.

Job outlook

Projected growth
The projected growth rate of employment in the US from 2018 to 2028, based on data collected through the BLS Employment Projections (EP) programme. The national average growth rate for all professions is 5%.


No of new jobs
The number of jobs projected to become available in the US between 2018 and 2028, based on data collected through the BLS Employment Projections (EP) programme.


Automation risk


Career progression

Servers may move on to work for fine dining or upscale restaurants throughout their careers. With enough skill and experience, and by undergoing a formal manager training programme, they might also progress to a managerial role such as restaurant manager.