Food server jobs include all positions that involve transporting food to diners. Also known as waiters and waitresses, they often work in bars, restaurants and private clubs. The wait staff is the public face of a restaurant, and they are the ones who keep customers coming back. They move throughout the building, taking orders and delivering them to the kitchen staff. If customers have questions about the food or service, they will answer them. Food servers bring plates to the table, clear tables after diners finish and refill drinks before imputing their checks and bills into a point of sale system. When not working with customers, the wait staff typically takes care of to-go orders, refills condiments and does light housekeeping. Strong customer service skills and the ability to work independently can also help servers find work as bartenders, banquet servers and kitchen helpers.
Food Server Education Requirements
A college degree is not mandatory for food servers. Only 22 percent of all waiters and waitresses have an associate's degree or higher, and less than 30 percent of all workers attended college. Nearly half of all food servers have only a high school diploma or its equivalent. Most waiters and waitresses spend several days shadowing an experienced server before working with customers. They learn how to operate the POS and computer system and how to handle problems with customers. Food servers must also be able to carry heavy trays and spend long hours standing on their feet.
Food Server Job Market
The expected outlook for food server jobs calls for these positions to increase by 6 percent by 2022. Though this is a slower than average rate of growth, it indicates an increase of 131,800, which will become available in the future. As restaurants and dining establishments experience a high rate of turnover, there will always be companies looking for trained waiters and waitresses.
Food Server Salary
The median hourly wage for all food servers is $8.92, which equates to $18,540 a year. Federal law puts the minimum wage for waiters at $2.13 an hour, but if the employee does not make a minimum wage of $7.25 with tips and wages combined, the employer must pay the difference.