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What Does it Take to Be a Food Server?

Career Description Serve food to individuals outside of a restaurant environment, such as in hotel rooms, hospital rooms, residential care facilities, or cars.

A Day in the Life of a Food Server

  • Prepare food items, such as sandwiches, salads, soups, or beverages.
  • Monitor food distribution, ensuring that meals are delivered to the correct recipients and that guidelines, such as those for special diets, are followed.
  • Carry food, silverware, or linen on trays or use carts to carry trays.
  • Load trays with accessories such as eating utensils, napkins, or condiments.
  • Examine trays to ensure that they contain required items.
  • Place food servings on plates or trays according to orders or instructions.

Qualities of a Food Server

Below is a list of the skills most Food Servers say are important on the job.

Monitoring: Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Service Orientation: Actively looking for ways to help people.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Coordination: Adjusting actions in relation to others’ actions.

Social Perceptiveness: Being aware of others’ reactions and understanding why they react as they do.

Other Food Server Job Titles

  • Room Attendant
  • Room Service Bellhop
  • Room Service Clerk
  • Room Service Food Server
  • Dietary Service Aide

Food Server Job Outlook

There were about 263,800 jobs for Food Server in 2016 (in the United States). New jobs are being produced at a rate of 10.2% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 26,900 new jobs for Food Server by 2026. There will be an estimated 43,100 positions for Food Server per year.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Food Servers in U.S.

The states with the most job growth for Food Server are Utah, Arizona, and Idaho. Watch out if you plan on working in Wyoming, District of Columbia, or Connecticut. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Food Server Average Salary

Food Servers make between $18,030 and $35,150 a year.

Salary Ranges for Food Servers

Food Servers who work in Hawaii, New York, or District of Columbia, make the highest salaries.

How much do Food Servers make in different U.S. states?

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $21,550
Alaska $29,780
Arizona $27,320
Arkansas $20,560
California $30,350
Colorado $26,730
Connecticut $28,690
Delaware $24,700
District of Columbia $32,740
Florida $22,570
Georgia $22,020
Hawaii $38,480
Idaho $23,740
Illinois $24,450
Indiana $23,050
Iowa $23,870
Kansas $20,390
Kentucky $22,370
Louisiana $20,860
Maine $24,230
Maryland $24,730
Massachusetts $29,210
Michigan $25,220
Minnesota $27,660
Mississippi $19,330
Missouri $22,120
Montana $22,340
Nebraska $23,330
Nevada $25,570
New Hampshire $23,530
New Jersey $25,190
New Mexico $20,530
New York $32,500
North Carolina $21,180
North Dakota $27,500
Ohio $22,370
Oklahoma $21,450
Oregon $27,380
Pennsylvania $23,250
Rhode Island $25,880
South Carolina $21,750
South Dakota $26,930
Tennessee $21,830
Texas $21,170
Utah $24,950
Vermont $30,970
Virginia $22,210
Washington $27,040
West Virginia $22,190
Wisconsin $22,160
Wyoming $22,410

What Tools & Technology do Food Servers Use?

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Food Servers:

  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft Windows
  • Point of sale POS software
  • CBORD Nutrition Service Suite

How to Become a Food Server

What kind of Food Server requirements are there?

Food Server Degree Level

How many years of work experience do I need?

Food Server Work Experience

Who Employs Food Servers?

Food Server Sectors

Below are examples of industries where Food Servers work:

Food Server Industries

You May Also Be Interested In…

Are you already one of the many Food Server in the United States? If you’re thinking about changing careers, these fields are worth exploring:

References:

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More about our data sources and methodologies.

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