Food and Beverage Server Job Description
Food and Beverage Servers are customer service professionals that work for restaurants, cocktail bars and other establishments. In addition to serving food and drinks, Food and beverage Servers perform tasks, such as setting up tables, removing used dishes and preparing simple dishes. They serve as the main point of contact for customers.
A Food and Beverage Server may work for a single establishment, or they may work for third-party catering companies. A good portion of their income in the United States usually comes from tips. The career is expected to grow at 3 percent over the next ten years, which is less than average.
Food and Beverage Server Duties and Responsibilities
In order to ensure satisfactory service for all patrons, a Food and Beverage Server performs many different tasks. We analyzed job listings for Food and Beverage Servers in order to identify these core duties and responsibilities.
Provide Customer Service
The Food and Beverage Server is the face of the restaurant and has considerable influence on its patrons’ experience. They must maintain a professional and friendly demeanor and offer timely assistance to customers in order to ensure that their needs are met. If any issues arise with throughout the customer’s dining experience, the Food and Beverage Server is responsible for resolving it.
Presenting menus, answering questions and offering suggestions, the Food and Beverage Server will guide patrons through the restaurant offerings and eventually take down their chosen orders. It is often the duty of the Food and Beverage Server to explain menu items, assist patrons with special dietary needs and recommend menu items that the restaurant would like to sell more of.
Serve Food and Beverages
Responsible for bringing orders from the kitchen to customers, Food and Beverage Servers must remember where to bring each order or maintain an organized record of order to which he or she can refer. They are also responsible for keeping beverages filled, following up with tables to see if their needs are still met and clearing plates as they’re finished. Should an order be filled incorrectly, it is the Food and Beverage Server’s duty to fix the order and bring out a new one.
Clean and Prepare Tables
In order to ensure that tables are prepared for each party, the Food and Beverage Server must clear tables of all plates, cups, and flatware after a party leaves, wipe down tables and properly re-set them with clean tableware. Depending on the establishment, the Food and Beverage Server may be solely responsible for this, or he or she may have assistance from hosting and bussing staff members. The Food and Beverage Server must ensure that the restaurant maintains proper standards of cleanliness and sanitation.
Food and Beverage Servers ensure that patrons receive their bills in a timely manner and that all orders are properly listed and priced. They receive and process payments, operating the register, and return paid checks and receipt to customer. They are responsible for resolving any discrepancies in billing.
Food and Beverage Server Skills
Energetic and personable, Food and Beverage Servers have excellent customer service skills and work in a fast-paced environment. They are professional, attentive and detail-oriented, ensuring customers have a great dining experience. Using interpersonal skills, adaptability and conflict-resolution skills, they resolve any issues that arise to make sure customers leave happy.
Core skills: Based on job listings we looked at, employers want Food and Beverage Servers with these core skills. If you want to work as a Food and Beverage Server, focus on the following.
- Being able to stand and walk for long periods of time
- Having the capacity to lift heavy items on occasion
- Providing excellent customer service
- Obtaining appropriate food and beverage licenses
- Possessing general math skills
- Having some sales ability
Advanced skills: While most employers did not require the following skills, multiple job listings included them as preferred. Add these to your Food and Beverage Server toolbox and broaden your career options.
- Previous serving experience
- Food preparation experience
Food and Beverage Server Resources
We searched the Web to find the best industry resources to help you continue exploring a career as a Food and Beverage Server. From thought leaders to industry groups, this list is packed with opportunities to learn, connect and engage.
On the Web
Jeffrey Morgenthaler – A bartending and mixology blog
All Food Business – Food industry news blog
Server Not Servant – A service industry blog
Society for Hospitality and Foodservice Management – Hospitality or foodservice professionals
National Restaurant Association – A national association of grocery manufacturers
A Bar Above – A list of professional bartending organizations
Food and Beverage Server Books
The Ultimate Guide to Great Table Service – A book on providing fantastic service
At Your Service – A guide to offering excellent restaurant service
Restaurants that Work – A series of restaurant case studies
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