Writing the perfect waiter job description is an important part of every manager’s job. Whether you use the newspaper or post an ad online, you need to get it right because your business depends on the person you eventually hire. Finding a good waiter can improve your entire staff and dramatically increase your reputation as a high-class restaurant. But a bad waiter can do just the opposite. That’s why writing the waiter job description is so important.
The best way to write the job description you’re looking for is to first figure out what makes a great waiter. Is it just experience? Is it personality? Is it charisma? Is it something else that can’t be quantified? This article will discuss 10 traits that are common to all great servers and give you a template to follow to produce your own perfect waiter job description.
What Makes A Great Waiter
Your definition of a great waiter may vary slightly depending on the type of restaurant you run. But whether it’s a fast-food chain or a 5-star bistro, you’re going to want your waiters to exhibit these traits.
Your waiters should always strive to be efficient. At the same time, they shouldn’t be rushing around like they’re late for the bus. This causes an unnecessary distraction for your guests. Efficiency manifests itself in the following ways:
- Getting food and drink to the table promptly
- Checking on customer needs periodically
- Not making customers wait overly long for any one thing
Good manners are an important trait for every good waiter. Such manners include making eye contact, smiling, being polite, pulling out chairs when appropriate, listening, and always putting the customers’ interests before their own.
Friendliness is shown through a genuine happiness that the customer is there. The waiter understands that she is responsible for the customers’ dining experience and that her demeanor has a lot to do with making that experience a good one. Friendliness comes through in the tone of her voice, the words she uses, and the way she carries herself.
A great waiter is an organized waiter. Whether he’s behind a counter or out amongst the tables, the waiter needs to be able to manage tasks in a timely manner and deliver food, drinks, and service at the proper time. This is especially important during busy times when activity is at its peak.
A good waiter will keep her eyes on her customers at all times. Could they use more water or a drink refill? Is their wine bottle getting low? Are they trying to get your attention?
Observation can also help the waiter discern whether a party is in a hurry or is happy to linger. This can assist other aspects of the waiter’s job like prioritizing back-of-house activity and which table gets served when.
6. Attention To Detail
This is an important quality for any waiter, whether they’re working the drive-thru or pouring from $200 bottles of wine. Is the order complete? Do the edges of the plates need to be wiped?
This attention to detail also extends to the customers’ surroundings. Does a spill need to be cleaned? Does the tablecloth need changed? These small things can have a large impact on the customer experience and need to be attended to at all times.
Cleanliness is one of the most important traits in the restaurant industry. From the plates and silverware to the public areas to the waiter himself, cleanliness can not be overemphasized. A great waiter, and a great dining experience, can be ruined by a lack of cleanliness. This trait costs nothing more than a bit of extra effort to fix so it should always be a priority.
8. Knowledge Of The Menu
In a restaurant where the menu changes, it’s important for the waiter to be able to keep track of what’s being made and when. Knowledge of the menu requires preparation, care, and communication. A great waiter should be able to commit this information to memory, or at least be willing to learn how to do so.
The restaurant business is no place for someone who wants to work alone. A great waiter understands that it is not a front-of-the-house/back-of-the-house situation. A great waiter sees everyone as part of a larger team. She understands that she needs other waiters to be as efficient as she can be and that she must cultivate good relationships with the chefs to make the customer experience complete.
10. Love For Food
This one is last on the list but should, by no means, be thought of as less important. A great waiter will actually be excited about the food they are serving. This excitement goes a long way to ‘selling’ that food to the customer. Your chefs work hard to create amazing dishes. Your waiters should work equally as hard to be enthusiastic about this fare.
Writing The Perfect Waiter Job Description
Now that we’ve discussed what makes for a great waiter, let’s see how we can use the traits to create the perfect waiter job description for your restaurant.
A job description is usually broken into 4 pieces:
- Job title
- Job summary
- Responsibilities and duties
- Qualifications and skills
- Let’s take those one at a time and tailor them to our needs.
1. Job Title
This one is fairly straightforward and should be kept as simple as possible. Job board Indeed.com reports that job titles of 80 characters or less draw the most attention.
To stay in line with that thinking, our waiter job description could start with the simple job title: Waiter. If we wanted to be more descriptive, we could write Waiter/Waitress, Server, Head Waiter, or Senior Waiter/Waitress as the situation demands.
2. Job Summary
The job summary provides a description of your restaurant, the role the waiter will play, and any expectations for the job. This is where you would begin to use the characteristics of a great waiter that you defined earlier. Take some of those characteristics and outline the activities you require. Use descriptive words that apply to your preferred traits like “friendly”, “organized”, “efficient”, “flexible”, “enthusiastic”, and others. You can see an example of this in the sample waiter job description below.
3. Responsibilities And Duties
In this section, you will outline all the functions the employee will perform regularly. This section is more about the details of the job than the traits of a great waiter, but you can still incorporate words that describe these traits like “smile”, “memorize”, “work together”, and more. Check out the sample waiter job description for more detail.
4. Qualifications And Skills
The qualifications and skills section is the place to list education requirements, experience, certifications, technical skills, and even personality traits that a successful candidate might display. Again, you would want to include the traits and characteristics of a great waiter that you established before you started.
Sample Waiter Job Description
Wanted: Head Waiter
A 5-star, formal-dining restaurant needs a friendly, organized, and efficient waiter to join our team. If you have a love for food and providing a stellar dining experience, we want you to work in tandem with our top-notch servers and chefs to dazzle our customers. The successful candidate will be responsible for cultivating a dignified yet friendly relationship with our patrons while ensuring that they receive prompt, pleasant service while dining at our restaurant.
- Greet customers warmly.
- Establish professional relationship with guest.
- Inform patrons of specials and provide enthusiastic advice about ordering.
- Record customer orders and relay them to the kitchen staff.
- Take care of all customer needs making sure they never want for anything.
- Suggest additional items like desserts and beverages when appropriate.
- Work together with other servers and kitchen staff to ensure prompt delivery of all food and drinks.
- Maintain cleanliness of all public areas.
- Maintain cleanliness of personal appearance at all times.
- 5+ years experience preferred
- Familiarity with point-of-sale software
- Ability to lift up to 30 pounds
- Ability to stay calm, organized, and efficient under pressure
- High school diploma/GED preferred
- Flexibility and willingness to work weekends, evenings, and holidays as needed
- Enthusiasm for good food that is easily expressed to customers
- Able to memorize 3-5 specials and their descriptions for easy recitation to guests
- Observant and attendant to all customer needs
- Impeccable manners or the willingness to learn
Writing a perfect waiter job description doesn’t have to be a complicated task. Just identify the qualities you need in a good waiter then use the template above to build your description around those qualities. For further restaurant-management resources and help scheduling your employees, check out GetSling.com today.