A server works in a restaurant or bar, acting as the go-between from the guests at a table and the kitchen or bartender. He or she takes orders, delivers food and beverages, and helps ensure quality standards. In many establishments, the server also furnishes a bill and facilitates payment for the guests.
For most restaurants at the high end of casual service and above, servers are expected to act in a dual role as salespersons and customer service agents. They are expected to have extensive product knowledge and offer suggestions and upsells to guests while tableside, and then they must be the first line of defense to ensure the quality of food and beverage served to patrons. If the customer is dissatisfied with any aspect of their purchase, the server is the first person to take that complaint and attempt a resolution that meets or exceeds the guest’s expectations. The server must adhere to all of their restaurant's service standards and execute those standards in a cheerful manner. Servers normally also work to help ensure the cleanliness of their facility; in most cases, this involves continual cleaning to ensure their work areas are as clean as possible.
This line of work requires the employee to be constantly standing or walking, frequently for extended hours during the day. It also can be a high-pressure environment, and most servers find that organization and quick thinking are the most important job skills for this position.
Most restaurants require their servers to undergo both initial and continuing education training on product, sales, and service techniques. Restaurants in upscale service and fine dining also normally require prior serving experience in casual or chain dining environments.
Servers in the U.S. normally earn less than minimum wage as base pay (depending on the region), but do earn tipped income from guests that they may be required to share with support personnel such as bussers and food runners. Servers' work hours depend on the hours of the facility in which they work; in many cases, servers work weekends (which are the busiest times for some restaurants) and holidays.
- Present check for payment and provides change as needed.
- Take food and beverage orders, give food orders to kitchen and deliver orders.
- Maintain table appearance by pre-bussing, check drink levels and remove clutter.
- Keep station clean, set up and take down station tables appropriately.