Cocktail Waitress Job Description

Cocktail waitresses bring drinks (and sometimes snacks) to customers. They work in bars, lounges, casinos, comedy clubs, and other establishments that serve alcoholic beverages. Since minors aren’t allowed in such facilities, cocktail waitresses must be at least 21 years of age. Hours worked vary but oftentimes include night and weekend shifts because that is when crowds are largest.

Like servers in restaurants, cocktail waitresses must possess stamina since they spend a great deal of time on their feet going back and forth attending to customers. They need coordination to balance trays and to maneuver through crowded areas.


Cocktail Waitress Duties and Responsibilities

Devoted to customer service, cocktail waitresses aim to create a pleasant experience for those to whom they attend. In order to do so, they perform a variety of tasks. Some of the main ones include:


Before customers arrive, cocktail waitresses help others on staff with tasks such as stocking bottles and barware, cleaning, and organizing workstations.

Taking and Delivering Drink Orders

Cocktail waitresses ask patrons what they’d like to drink, place the order with a bartender, and then bring the beverage back. They may ask to see ID as proof that the person is able to drink legally. Cocktail waitresses also may make drink recommendations or answer questions about the ingredients used in certain cocktails.
Because they generally handle several customer requests at the same time, cocktail waitresses must remember who ordered what and be adept at carrying a tray filled with beverages around the area.

Maintaining Operational Flow

Good cocktail waitresses will notice when a customer is reaching the bottom of a drink and inquire whether or not a refill is desired. They remove used barware from the guest’s area and bring it to a designated place so that the glasses can be washed and ready for later use.

Processing Payment

Before customers leave the place, cocktail waitresses present them with their total bill. They then may need to run the patron’s credit card or make change for a cash payment. Most people present the cocktail waitress who took care of them with a tip based on the amount of the bill and the quality of service.

Looking the Role

Cocktail waitresses oftentimes wear company-issued uniforms so that they are easily recognizable. Likewise, cocktail waitresses may spend considerable time on their hair and makeup before coming to work in order to create an appearance in line with the image the employer wishes to promote.


Cocktail Waitress Skills

Since they interact so much with customers, cocktail waitresses should have good interpersonal skills. Being friendly contributes to the pleasant atmosphere of the establishment and also can lead to better tips. Other qualities hiring managers look for in candidates for cocktail waitress positions include:

  • Attending to detail so that orders are correct and drinks refilled promptly
  • Working well with others since the position involves coordinating efforts among staff
  • Following directions given by management
  • Knowing (or willing to learn) about different alcoholic beverages
  • Taking pride in appearance


Cocktail Waitress Tools of the trade

Among the things you’re likely to encounter as a cocktail waitress are:

  • Trays – used for carrying multiple drinks
  • Barware – assorted glasses chosen based on the type of drink being served
  • Cocktail – a drink containing alcohol mixed with other ingredients, such as cream or lemonade
  • On the rocks – a drink served over ice cubes
  • Garnish – decorative or edible items put on drinks to create a better presentation, such as a fruit wedge or an ornamental umbrella
  • Tips – money patrons give in addition to paying the bill as recognition of good service
  • Regulars – people who frequent the establishment and oftentimes order the same beverage consistently


Cocktail Waitress Education and Training

No formal educational credential is needed to become a cocktail waitress. New hires typically learn on the job. Previous experience in the restaurant industry can increase job prospects.


Cocktail Waitress Resources

Learning all you can about a career before entering it can help ensure job satisfaction. Explore the ins and outs of being a cocktail waitress with these resources.

Cocktail Waitress Wisdom: Life Lessons Learned While Carrying a Tray in Las Vegas – Before embarking on a career in talk radio, Harris spent ten years as a cocktail waitress in a casino. This insightful, quick read peeks into that world.

How to Be a Cocktail Waitress and Make Big Tips – Another book written by someone with first-hand experience, this 20-year-veteran presents useful strategies on handling trays, memorizing orders, telling drinks apart, and carrying money so that it doesn’t get lost.

How to Become a Cocktail Waitress – This eBook covers various aspects of being a cocktail waitress, from dealing with the public and management to getting the right drink to the right patron in a timely manner.

Just the Tip – For cocktail waitresses and similar servers, increasing tips is an automatic salary boost. This eBook explores ways to generate a greater amount of revenue from customers.

Being a Cocktail Waitress – Take a look at the daily activities of an actual cocktail waitress in a casino in this Travel Channel video.


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