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What Do Waiter or Waitress Do?

Waiter or Waitress Definition Take orders and serve food and beverages to patrons at tables in dining establishment.

Daily Life Of a Waiter or Waitress

  • Check patrons’ identification to ensure that they meet minimum age requirements for consumption of alcoholic beverages.
  • Perform food preparation duties such as preparing salads, appetizers, and cold dishes, portioning desserts, and brewing coffee.
  • Describe and recommend wines to customers.
  • Remove dishes and glasses from tables or counters and take them to kitchen for cleaning.
  • Write patrons’ food orders on order slips, memorize orders, or enter orders into computers for transmittal to kitchen staff.
  • Prepare tables for meals, including setting up items such as linens, silverware, and glassware.

Qualities of a Waiter or Waitress

Below is a list of the skills most Waiters and Waitresses say are important on the job.

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.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Service Orientation: Actively looking for ways to help people.

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

Coordination: Adjusting actions in relation to others’ actions.

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

Types of Waiter or Waitress Jobs

  • Formal Waiter/Waitress
  • Wine Steward
  • Skating Carhop
  • Headwaiter
  • Bar Waiter/Waitress

What Kind of Waiter or Waitress Job Opportunities Are There?

In the United States, there were 2,600,500 jobs for Waiter or Waitress in 2016. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 7% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 182,500 new jobs for Waiter or Waitress by 2026. There will be an estimated 522,700 positions for Waiter or Waitress per year.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Waiters and Waitresses in U.S.

The states with the most job growth for Waiter or Waitress are Utah, Washington, and Arizona. Watch out if you plan on working in Ohio, West Virginia, or Maine. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

What is the Average Salary of a Waiter or Waitress

Waiters and Waitresses make between $17,330 and $40,780 a year.

Salary Ranges for Waiters and Waitresses

Waiters and Waitresses who work in Hawaii, Vermont, or District of Columbia, make the highest salaries.

Below is a list of the median annual salaries for Waiters and Waitresses in different U.S. states.

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $19,750
Alaska $25,610
Arizona $30,220
Arkansas $20,040
California $30,250
Colorado $25,510
Connecticut $26,350
Delaware $23,690
District of Columbia $48,120
Florida $26,120
Georgia $20,280
Hawaii $52,110
Idaho $20,780
Illinois $22,900
Indiana $22,300
Iowa $21,850
Kansas $20,140
Kentucky $19,450
Louisiana $18,630
Maine $27,550
Maryland $24,160
Massachusetts $31,920
Michigan $23,920
Minnesota $25,540
Mississippi $20,560
Missouri $21,420
Montana $20,990
Nebraska $25,610
Nevada $24,980
New Hampshire $24,850
New Jersey $27,530
New Mexico $20,770
New York $34,460
North Carolina $22,400
North Dakota $21,140
Ohio $22,650
Oklahoma $20,060
Oregon $28,640
Pennsylvania $24,850
Rhode Island $27,380
South Carolina $20,290
South Dakota $21,930
Tennessee $19,870
Texas $23,520
Utah $24,000
Vermont $34,560
Virginia $24,070
Washington $35,930
West Virginia $23,140
Wisconsin $23,330
Wyoming $23,670

Tools & Technologies Used by Waiters and Waitresses

Below is a list of the types of tools and technologies that Waiters and Waitresses may use on a daily basis:

  • Facebook
  • Point of sale POS software
  • The General Store
  • Intuit QuickBooks Point of Sale
  • NCR NeighborhoodPOS
  • MICROS Systems HSI Profits Series
  • NCR Advanced Checkout Solution
  • Compris software
  • Compris Advanced Manager’s Workstation
  • Hospitality Control Solutions Aloha Point-of-Sale

How to Become a Waiter or Waitress

Education needed to be a Waiter or Waitress:

Waiter or Waitress Degree Level

How Long Does it Take to Become a Waiter or Waitress?

Waiter or Waitress Work Experience

Where Waiters and Waitresses Are Employed

Waiter or Waitress Sectors

Below are examples of industries where Waiters and Waitresses work:

Waiter or Waitress Industries

Other Jobs You May be Interested In

Those thinking about becoming a Waiter or Waitress might also be interested in the following careers:

Those who work as a Waiter or Waitress sometimes switch careers to one of these choices:


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More about our data sources and methodologies.

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