Waiters and Waitresses
SOC: 35-3031.00


Take orders and serve food and beverages to patrons at tables in dining establishment.

National Salary Information:

Hourly Statistics:

Annual Statistics:

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2015 wage data.

Employment Projections:

Employment (2014):
2,465,100 employed

Projected (2024):
2,534,000 employed

Projected growth (2014-2024)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2015 2014-2024 employment projections external site. "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2014-2024). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.

Alternate Titles:

  • Banquet Captain
  • Banquet Server
  • Banquet Waiter/Waitress
  • Bar Waiter/Waitress
  • Bartender
  • Buffet Waiter/Waitress
  • Captain Waiter
  • Car Hop
  • Cashier and Waiter/Waitress
  • Club Waiter/Waitress
  • Cocktail Server
  • Cocktail Waitress
  • Deck Steward
  • Dining Car Server
  • Dining Car Waiter/Waitress
  • Dining Room Captain
  • Food and Beverage Server
  • Food Expeditor
  • Food Runner
  • Food Server
  • Formal Waiter/Waitress
  • Head Banquet Waiter/Waitress
  • Headwaiter
  • Headwaitress
  • Hostess
  • Informal Waiter/Waitress
  • Mess Attendant
  • Restaurant Server
  • Room Service Server
  • Room Service Waiter
  • Server
  • Singing Waiter or Waitress
  • Sommelier
  • Waiter
  • Waiter and Cashier
  • Waitress
  • Waitstaff
  • Waitstaff Captain
  • Wine Steward
  • Wine Steward/Stewardess

  • Job Zone One: Little or No Preparation Needed


    Little or no previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, a person can become a waiter or waitress even if he/she has never worked before.


    Some of these occupations may require a high school diploma or GED certificate.

    Job Training:

    Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few days to a few months of training. Usually, an experienced worker could show you how to do the job.

    Required Skills:

  • Reading Comprehension
  • Active Listening
  • Writing
  • Speaking
  • Mathematics
  • Critical Thinking
  • Active Learning
  • Learning Strategies
  • Monitoring
  • Social Perceptiveness
  • Coordination
  • Persuasion
  • Negotiation
  • Instructing
  • Service Orientation
  • Complex Problem Solving
  • Programming
  • Operation Monitoring
  • Quality Control Analysis
  • Judgment and Decision Making
  • Systems Analysis
  • Systems Evaluation
  • Time Management
  • Management of Material Resources
  • Management of Personnel Resources

  • Knowledge Used:

  • Administration and Management
  • Clerical
  • Economics and Accounting
  • Sales and Marketing
  • Customer and Personal Service
  • Personnel and Human Resources
  • Production and Processing
  • Food Production
  • Computers and Electronics
  • Mechanical
  • Mathematics
  • Chemistry
  • Psychology
  • Sociology and Anthropology
  • Medicine and Dentistry
  • Education and Training
  • English Language
  • Foreign Language
  • Public Safety and Security
  • Law and Government
  • Telecommunications
  • Communications and Media
  • Transportation

  • Tasks:

  • Check patrons' identification to ensure that they meet minimum age requirements for consumption of alcoholic beverages.
  • Collect payments from customers.
  • Write patrons' food orders on order slips, memorize orders, or enter orders into computers for transmittal to kitchen staff.
  • Take orders from patrons for food or beverages.
  • Check with customers to ensure that they are enjoying their meals and take action to correct any problems.
  • Serve food or beverages to patrons, and prepare or serve specialty dishes at tables as required.
  • Prepare checks that itemize and total meal costs and sales taxes.
  • Present menus to patrons and answer questions about menu items, making recommendations upon request.
  • Inform customers of daily specials.
  • Clean tables or counters after patrons have finished dining.
  • Prepare hot, cold, and mixed drinks for patrons, and chill bottles of wine.
  • Explain how various menu items are prepared, describing ingredients and cooking methods.
  • Prepare tables for meals, including setting up items such as linens, silverware, and glassware.
  • Perform food preparation duties such as preparing salads, appetizers, and cold dishes, portioning desserts, and brewing coffee.
  • Stock service areas with supplies such as coffee, food, tableware, and linens.
  • Garnish and decorate dishes in preparation for serving.
  • Fill salt, pepper, sugar, cream, condiment, and napkin containers.
  • Escort customers to their tables.
  • Describe and recommend wines to customers.
  • Bring wine selections to tables with appropriate glasses, and pour the wines for customers.
  • Roll silverware, set up food stations or set up dining areas to prepare for the next shift or for large parties.
  • Remove dishes and glasses from tables or counters, take them to kitchen for cleaning.
  • Assist host or hostess by answering phones to take reservations or to-go orders, and by greeting, seating, and thanking guests.
  • Perform cleaning duties, such as sweeping and mopping floors, vacuuming carpet, tidying up server station, taking out trash, or checking and cleaning bathroom.
  • Provide guests with information about local areas, including giving directions.

  • Tools & Technology:

  • Alphanumeric paging equipment
  • Carving knives
  • Cash registers
  • Credit card processing machines
  • Personal digital assistants PDA
  • Point of sale POS printers
  • Point of sale POS terminals
  • Point of service workstations
  • Portable bar code scanners
  • Touch screen monitors
  • Compris Advanced Manager's Workstation
  • Compris software
  • Hospitality Control Solutions Aloha Point-of-Sale software
  • ICVERIFY software
  • Intuit QuickBooks Point of Sale
  • MICROS Systems HSI Profits Series
  • NCR Advanced Checkout Solution
  • NCR NeighborhoodPOS
  • Point of sale POS software
  • The General Store software

  • food preparation and serving related

    industry stats

    SOC: 35-0000

    Total Employed: 12,577,080

    Average Annual Salary: $22,850