Waiter and Waitress Career

waitress-500A waiter or waitress is a person that works for a restaurant and provides service to customers. The waiter or waitress will likely be involved in greeting guests, answering questions about the menu, taking orders, and serving food.

Depending on the restaurant that the waiter or waitress works in, the work environment can be very stressful and fast-paced. This is particularly true during the busier hours of lunch and dinner. In most cases, they will work in a restaurant along with other waiters, hosts, and kitchen staff.

Waiter and Waitress Career Snapshot

Further details on a career as a waiter or waitress are listed below (statistics from the May 2016 Bureau of Labor Statistics and Onet Online):


is the average annual salary for waiters and waitresses.


increase in employment between 2014 and 2024.


have a High school diploma or equivalent while 37% have less than a High school diploma.

Waiter & Waitress Education

The educational requirements for waiter or waitress is often limited. In order to qualify for a job as a waiter or waitress, you will likely need to have no more than a high school degree. However, many in the industries do not have a high school degree, including current students. Overall, 35% of those in the field reporting have less than a high school degree.

Waiter & Waitress Job Duties

Most waiters and waitresses will have very similar job duties. The core job duty that they will have is to attend to the needs of customers of the restaurant. This can include greeting them at the door, answering any menu questions that come up, and serving food. Beyond food service, a waiter or waitress may also be required to clean, prepare the restaurant for their shift, and close the restaurant after a shift.

Waiter & Waitress Salaries

The salary for a waiter or waitress is fairly low compared to other professions. The median income for a waiter or waitress is below $20,000 per year as reported by BLS.gov statistics. However, a waiter or waitress could end up earning far more money in tips than their base wages, which can greatly increase their total level of income.

Waiter & Waitress Job Outlook

Overall, a waiter or waitress should expect to have a below average level of job growth over the next 10 years. The industry is widely considered a mature industry, which has been around for a long period of time. However, more and more restaurants are taking advantage of an enhanced culinary trend that provides more expensive foods to consumers. This can then correlate to higher tips for a waiter or waitress.

Waiter and Waitress Skills & Traits

Waiter & Waitress Skill Set:Required Abilities:Tools Used by Waiter & Waitress:Typical Work Activities:
• Active Listening
• Service Orientation
• Social Perceptiveness
• Speaking
• Oral Comprehension
• Oral Expression
• Speech Recognition
• Speech Clarity
• Bar code reader equipment
• Commercial use cutlery
• Magnetic stripe readers and encoders
• Alphanumeric paging equipment
• Performing for or Working Directly with the Public
• Performing General Physical Activities
• Getting Information
• Selling or Influencing Others

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