Line Server Job Description
Line servers are responsible for providing a variety of services to guests, such as taking orders and delivering food. Line servers enjoy interacting with people and can work in restaurants or for catering companies, providing similar services at each. Typical duties include educating guests on restaurant details and menu items, welcoming and interacting with guests throughout their visit, anticipating and attending to guest needs, and maintaining a high level of restaurant cleanliness. Hours can vary, so schedule flexibility is important. Although this is an entry-level role, prior experience is beneficial.
Line Server Duties and Responsibilities
The type of establishment that a line server works at determines their specific responsibilities. Based on our analysis of job listings, some of the most common tasks include:
Guest Management and Interaction
Line servers are on the front lines of interacting with guests. They welcome guests and answer questions related to the establishment and menu details. It is imperative to maintain a positive attitude in all interactions.
Serve Food and Beverages
In addition to greeting guests, line servers also plate courses or prepare meals on trays. This can involve portioning, packaging, or wrapping food, as well as preparing drink orders. Line servers also provide guests with any necessary utensils, like cutlery, straws, or napkins.
Prepare Food and Ingredients
Line servers often assist the kitchen with ingredient prep. This can include washing, peeling, and cutting fruits and vegetables, trimming or slicing meat, making sauces, and mixing ingredients for various salads.
Service Line Maintenance
Whether they work at a restaurant or for a caterer,it’s crucial that line servers maintain a high level of overall cleanliness and organization. They sanitize and clean their work areas, dishes, silverware, equipment, and utensils. Additionally, they store food in assigned storage areas to prevent spoilage.
Assist Team Members
Line servers should take initiative on other tasks that will help the establishment run smoothly. This may include handling cash, reconciling cash register receipts, checking inventory, helping team members before any rush hours, and maintaining flexible available working hours.
Line Server Skills and Qualifications
Line servers should have a friendly and attentive demeanor, as well as a high school or general education diploma. Employers prefer previous work experience in addition to the following skills:
- Quality assurance – line servers are responsible for the final preparation of all food items served in accordance with current government standards, guidelines, and regulations, as well as restaurant’s own established policies and procedures
- Collaboration – line servers must work seamlessly with coworkers throughout the establishment to ensure service runs smoothly
- Interpersonal skills – line servers are expected to acknowledge and engage guests throughout their visit.This includes anticipating and exceeding their needs as well as providing support to guests who require assistance with meal selection or who have specific requests
- Attention to detail – performing well under pressure and paying close attention to small details even while multitasking are crucial skills for line servers
- Organizational skills – handling cash, checking inventory, and anticipating restaurant needs require excellent organization
Tools of the Trade
Line servers use the following tools in a typical workday:
- Cash registers
- Inventory software
- Kitchen appliances (mixers, stoves, ovens, hot plates)
- Serving tools (trays, plates, utensils)
Line Server Education and Training
While no formal education is required for line server positions, a high school or general education diploma is preferred. Previous work experience (at least one to three years) in restaurant or catering environments is strongly desired by most employers. Preferred credentials vary by establishment, but line servers might be required to pass a background check or be certified in CPR and first aid. Hands-on training is typically offered by restaurants, and some provide written manuals on company protocols and procedures.
Line Server Salary and Outlook
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) lists a median annual wage of $19,990 for line servers. Depending on the establishment,they may receive benefits packages and bonus incentive programs.
The BLS predicts a job growth rate of 7 percent through 2026, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Job prospects are expected to be very good because of the industry’s high turnover, but candidates seeking employment at upscale restaurants may face stronger job competition.
There are many helpful resources available for those interested in becoming a line server. Please review the links below for valuable information and the latest industry news:
The Customer Service Institute of America – CSIA is comprised of international member organizations that promote service excellence through international customer service standards, certification, awards, and professional development programs
“7 Non-Snobby Wine Sites for Servers Who Want to Up Their Game” – this list of websites will interest servers who work in alcohol-rich environments and want to learn more about spirits
American Red Cross – online first aid classes give you the skills needed to respond to a wide range of emergencies while on the job
Tips Squared – here professional restaurant servers can learn tips, tricks, and techniques that will help them improve the service they provide and increase the tips they receive
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