Writing a job description is a difficult, yet critical part of a restaurant manager’s responsibilities. The success of your business depends on your eventual hires, so you want to get it right the first time. After concentrating on hiring the best cooks and servers, the position of food runner may be an afterthought. But, as you’ll see in this article, this position is integral to keeping the front-of-house and back-of-house working together seamlessly. That, in turn, keeps the quality of service at a high level, ensures that guests will be happy, and leads to the profitability of your restaurant. So how do you write the perfect food runner job description? It’s really quite a bit simpler than you might think.
The best way is to first write down the traits that would make up the ideal food runner in your restaurant. After you’ve listed your ideal traits, use a template to build your job description around those traits. We’ve compiled the nine must-have traits for any food runner in our list below. We’ll then show you how to write the perfect food runner job description and give you a template to follow to produce your own.
The core traits of a great food runner are similar to the traits of a great server. In fact, starting your servers out as food runners is a great way to provide training and to see if they have what it takes to be the face of your restaurant. Look for the following key traits when you’re interviewing.
An effective food runner is an organized food runner. She’s going to be juggling a lot of responsibilities. And she’ll need to execute those responsibilities in a timely manner. A keen sense of organization will make those responsibilities run smoother and keep your restaurant humming along even at the busiest of times.
2. An Eye For Detail
The food runner is often the last employee to handle the food before it’s served to your customers. Because of that, the food runner needs to be able to tell at a glance if everything is right with the food or if something is wrong. That eye for detail extends to his surroundings as well. Could a customer use a drink refill? Is a table about to need bussing? Those little details can quickly add up over time and mean the difference between awesome service and just mediocre service.
Food runners will interact extensively with customers, so they need to be friendly and personable. The dining experience is influenced, perhaps more than anything else, by the food runner’s tone of voice, attitude, and behavior. Friendliness will manifest as a relaxed air, even under stress.
Nothing distracts your customers from a pleasant experience like employees rushing back and forth between the kitchen, the bar, and the tables. A good food runner will be efficient in everything he does and execute those responsibilities in a calm, yet prompt manner.
5. Knowledgeable About The Food
Chances are, when a food runner delivers the dishes to the table, there are going to be questions. “Ooh, this side looks delicious! What is it?” Or, “What cut of meat is this again?” A great food runner needs to be able to answer those questions without returning to the kitchen.
6. Good Communication Skills
The food runner is like a communication line between the dining room and the kitchen. She can help the chefs and other servers know what’s going on with customers so that they can keep things running smoothly. The food runner should be able to communicate clearly and efficiently.
Food runners need to understand the basics of good manners. Chief amongst those basics are listening, making eye contact, being polite, and smiling. Customers will notice the manners of all your staff, so it’s important for servers, food runners, bartenders, and the hosts to be well-mannered at all times.
Part of a food runners job is to clean and clear the dining room when necessary. This cleanliness extends to the appearance of the plates, glasses, and silverware that the guests are using. The food runner should be able to recognize instances when cleaning is necessary and take steps to make it happen.
9. Team Player
You’ve heard it before, but we’ll say it again, “There is no ‘I’ in team.” We might extend that more specifically to the restaurant industry and say, “There is no ‘I’ in restaurant.” Food runners should understand this mentality and realize that they are the link between servers and chefs, customers and management. The food runner understands that she is not working on her own, but, rather, as part of a larger group of people who are all dependent on each other for a successful guest experience.
Writing The Perfect Food Runner Job Description
Keep in mind that the nine traits listed above could be just the beginning. You may have another trait that is essential for your restaurant. In fact, you may have many others. Your list may be ten, eleven, or twelve traits. It all depends on what you need from your food runner. Regardless of how many traits you’ve listed, it’s now time to put those traits to use by creating the perfect food runner job description. Here’s how to do it.
First, break the job description into its four basic pieces: the job title, the job summary, responsibilities and duties, and qualifications and skills. Then, using the traits you identified earlier, tailor each section to fit your needs.
1. Job Title
Keep the job title as simple as possible. Usually one or two words will do. In this instance, write Food Runner, or possibly Expeditor. You don’t really need any of your traits here, but you could choose to amplify your job title with an adjective—For example, “Friendly Food Runner” or “Organized Expeditor.”
2. Job Summary
The job summary is where you start writing the traits for your perfect food runner. First, describe your restaurant and the role the food runner will play. Then, use words like “well-mannered”, “efficient”, and “friendly” to outline the duties the food runner will perform. Incorporating words that describe your ideal traits will help the job seeker determine if your job is really right for them. You can see an example of this in the sample food runner job description below.
3. Responsibilities And Duties
The responsibilities and duties section of your perfect food runner job description is the place to list the details of the job rather than the traits you’re looking for in a food runner. That being said, you can still work in words that apply to your ideal traits so potential employees will continue to get the message you’re trying to convey. Think about incorporating terms like “team player”, “polite”, “eye for detail”, and others that reinforce the food runner traits you’re looking for. See the sample food runner job description below for an example.
4. Qualifications And Skills
This final section is where you list things like experience, education, and personality traits you want the candidate to have. Be sure to work in any of your traits that weren’t included in other sections.
Now let’s see how this all fits together in a sample food runner description.
Sample Food Runner Job Description
Wanted: Food Runner
A family-friendly restaurant committed to the best in casual dining seeks to hire a friendly, well-mannered food runner with great communication skills. If you are enthusiastic about food, have an eye for detail, and love making customers happy, we need you to join our team of servers and chefs. The successful candidate will be responsible for dazzling our customers with friendly service, delicious food, and a clean eating environment.
- Knowledge of preparation and ingredients in all dishes being prepared.
- Ability to communicate that information upon request.
- Communicate with all staff members regarding what is going on in the restaurant.
- Deliver food to customers in a timely and efficient manner.
- Clear and bus tables.
- Maintain the appearance and cleanliness of all areas of the restaurant.
- High school diploma/GED preferred
- Ability to lift up to 30 pounds repeatedly
- Flexibility and willingness to work weekends, evenings, and holidays as needed
- Ability to stay calm, organized, and efficient under pressure
- Must have an eye for detail to ensure that dishes are presented correctly
- Willingness to work as part of a team
- Observant and attendant to all customer needs
Creating The Perfect Food Runner Job Description Is Not A Difficult Task
To write the perfect food runner job description, first break the process into small steps. Then, identify the traits you need from your ideal food runner and use the template and suggestions above to build your description around those traits. For further restaurant management tools and help scheduling your employees, check out GetSling.com today. Sling is the easiest way to schedule and communicate with your employees. Our software streamlines the scheduling process and frees a manager’s time so she can focus on running the business.