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Restaurant Team Member Duties and Responsibilities

While restaurant team members’ day-to-day duties and responsibilities depend on where they work, there are many core tasks associated with the role. Based on our analysis of job listings, these include:

Welcome Customers Restaurant team members set the tone for their guest’s dining experience. Some members, such as hosts and waiters, work in front facing roles. They are the first people customers meet when they walk through the door. These team members ensure that guests are quickly seated at the appropriate table. They also hand out menus and educate customers on available food options.

Complete Food Preparation Before a restaurant opens, restaurant team members who work behind-the-scenes, such as cooks or line prep cooks ensure that certain foods are pre-made to facilitate faster service. They may cut and prep vegetables or cook menu items that take a long time to finish.

Serve Food to Customers Once the food is prepared, any restaurant team member may be called upon to deliver it to a customer. Whether working in a casual dining or upscale setting, team members must pay attention to order numbers and understand seating charts to deliver the right food to the right people. To keep food service effective, team members may need to communicate with kitchen staff or management.

Process Bill Payments Many restaurant team members handle all forms of money during their work shift. They are required to follow appropriate cash-out procedures or use a point of sale system to record a customer’s total and help them pay their bill. They collect payments from guests, returning the appropriate amount of change.

Clean and Set Dining Areas Every restaurant team member works to keep up the appearance of the restaurant. During down times or in-between shifts, team members clean, sanitize, wipe down, or sweep areas where food is prepped or served. They also re-set tables, restocking dining utensils and menus to ensure every guest has what they need.


Restaurant Team Member Skills and Qualifications

Restaurant team members should love food and be passionate about creating excellent experiences for others. Employers are willing to take candidates with a positive work ethic. Although previous restaurant experience is normally not required, the following skills are essential to getting the job done:

  • Interpersonal skills – used with fellow co-workers, managers, and guests
  • Foodservice – serving food quickly and accurately without compromising the quality of customer service is the main responsibility of all restaurant team members
  • Teamwork – restaurant team members are expected to be good collaborative co-workers that treat others with respect and utmost care
  • Physical requirements – most restaurant team members are on their feet for the majority of their work shift and may be occasionally asked to lift, move, or clean heavy objects, such as tables and chairs or kitchen equipment
  • Memorization – restaurant team members are expected to learn the menu options to answer guest questions or effectively prepare and serve meals
  • Organizational skills – restaurant team members have multiple duties to manage simultaneously throughout a shift

Restaurant Team Member Education and Training

No minimum educational requirements are needed to become a restaurant team member for non-management level positions. Previous work and experience with food are helpful but not necessary. Restaurant team members generally obtain employment even without a high school diploma. Many employers offer on-the-job-training to the right candidates. Some restaurant employees receive written manuals and/or formal training on company culture and food safety standards.


Restaurant Team Member Salary and Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median hourly wage for restaurant team members is $9.81. The lowest ten percent earn less than $8.23 per hour, while the highest-paid ten percent earn more than $13.60 per hour. Some employers offer benefits such as medical insurance, 401(k), performance-based pay, and discounted meals. Some restaurant members receive direct tips as a substantial source of income, while others are required to split any tips given among fellow team members. Through 2026, employment of restaurant team members is projected to grow 14 percent. The BLS notes that this rate of growth is faster than average. The increasing population is expected to continue to dine out or purchase take-out meals. More team members will be required to meet the needs of these customers.


Helpful Resources

We searched the web for the best industry resources to help you explore a career as a restaurant team member. Here are more ways to learn whether this career is right for you:

Restaurant Workers Association – This national association offers deals, discounts, and services for restaurant team members, along with job listings and latest industry news.

How to Rock Restaurant Management: 5 Ingredients to Leading a Successful Team – Learn the essentials of guest relations, leadership, and creating positive morale in a restaurant setting.

Restaurant Worker RED-HOT Career Guide; 2536 REAL Interview Questions – Easily land your next restaurant worker job with this interview and career search guide that will help prepare you for success. Society for Hospitality and Foodservice Management (SHFM) – This national association represents executives in the corporate foodservice and workplace hospitality industries.

National Restaurant Association (NRA) – The largest foodservice trade association in the world.