Waitress, waiting staff, server
Waiters serve food and drinks to customers in restaurants and cafes, take orders and handle payments.
Salary range: £12,000 to £27,000
How to become a waiter
You can get into this job through:
- a college course
- an apprenticeship
- applying directly
You could prepare for this job by doing a college course to get some of the skills you’ll need. Courses include:
- Level 1 Award in Introduction to Employment in the Hospitality Industry
- Level 1 Certificate in Food and Beverage Service
You may need:
- 2 or fewer GCSEs at grades 3 to 1 (D to G), or equivalent, for a level 1 course
You could get into this job through a hospitality team member intermediate apprenticeship.
You’ll usually need:
- some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship
Volunteering and experience
You could volunteer in a cafe run by a local community organisation or a charity like the Royal Voluntary Service. This will help you to develop your skills before you apply for paid work.
You can find more volunteering opportunities through Do-it.
You can apply for jobs without experience, though you’ll have an advantage if you’ve worked in customer service before. Your employer will train you on the job.
You can get more details about working as a waiter from the Hospitality Guild.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- customer service skills
- the ability to work well with others
- the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- excellent verbal communication skills
- a desire to help people
- active listening skills
- a good memory
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
What you’ll do
Your day-to-day tasks may include:
- greeting customers as they arrive and showing them to their table
- giving out menus and taking orders for food and drink
- serving food and drinks
- dealing with bill payments
- making sure tables are clean and tidy
You could work at a restaurant.
Your working environment may be hot, humid and noisy.
You may need to wear a uniform.
Career path and progression
With experience you may be able to progress to head waiter or waitress, or restaurant supervisor.
You may also be able to go into related areas of work like restaurant and kitchen management or purchasing.