13 Examples of Waitressing Skills to Feature on Your Resume
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated 11 October 2022
Published 22 November 2021
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
Being a server at a restaurant involves applying your work ethic, interpersonal skills and industry knowledge in a fast-paced environment. To be successful in the service industry, you can promote a range of waitressing skills on your job applications to show your understanding of the full responsibilities of the position. Reviewing some of the common knowledge and abilities that waiters and waitresses use in the workplace can help you understand what strengths to emphasise and which aspects of your experience to focus on when training for a position.
In this article, we list several of the top skills for servers and explain why they're important for excelling in the position.
13 waitressing skills for your resume
When preparing a resume for a job as a server, there are several waitressing skills to consider highlighting that demonstrate your ability to manage the duties of the role:
1. Operating point-of-sale systems
Having experience with point-of-sale systems shows that you have the technical knowledge to manage transactions at a restaurant. Using point-of-sale systems may include assigning occupants to tables, entering orders, submitting orders to the kitchen and processing payments. Although point-of-sale systems may vary between establishments, you may be able to apply your general knowledge of how point-of-sale software works from one restaurant to another. When employers see that you have experience using point-of-sale programmes, they may have more confidence in your experience and appreciate that you can start the job already knowing common features that they use in their establishment.
2. Knowledge of food safety
Waiters and waitresses are often responsible for upholding food safety standards when serving meals to customers and completing basic food prep duties. This skill includes knowledge of safe food handling procedures and your commitment to the health and wellbeing of customers. It involves proper hygiene, careful interaction with food and utensils, cleaning and sanitation procedures and understanding company policies related to safe food storage. You can list your background in food safety in the skills section of your resume, but many restaurants also require a certification verifying your knowledge of how to handle perishable food items in a commercial environment.
3. Alcoholic beverage service
When applying for a server position that involves the sale of alcoholic beverages, it's important to know regulations in your area related to alcohol. This includes how to appropriately verify customer identification and age to ensure regulatory compliance.
You may also want to develop basic bartending skills so you can help prepare drinks at the restaurant during busy meal services. Even if you don't usually work behind the bar, having beverage service skills can make you more valuable to an employer and make you a more adaptable employee. Examples of beverage skills that may be helpful to learn as a server include knowledge of different cocktail recipes and how to pour different drinks.
4. Effective communication
Servers use communication skills to guide diners through the process of selecting menu items and placing an order. Having effective communication skills involves being able to express ideas and information in ways others can understand. This skill is important to ensure customers understand the menu, beverage pairing options and available food substitutions. It also helps you record customer orders accurately, which may require requesting clarification or paraphrasing orders to confirm they're correct.
You then apply your communication skills throughout the dining experience to update customers about any delays in the kitchen, ask if they want to place additional orders, check in about when they want to pay and seek feedback about the quality of the food. Servers also regularly communicate with their colleagues, such as when passing customer orders and making special requests to kitchen staff.
5. Active listening
Active listening is the ability to listen to others without being distracted by other factors and showing them you're engaged with what they're saying. This includes asking questions, repeating their order back to them, making eye contact and summarising your understanding of their requests. This skill is important as a successful server because it shows the ability to focus your attention on your customers despite any other distractions in the establishment.
Problem-solving is the ability to find solutions that are mutually agreeable for the customer and the establishment. This includes recognising that a problem exists, identifying available solutions and providing the customer with options to resolve the issue. Examples of problem-solving as a server may include offering food substitutions or customising orders to meet a customer's dietary needs. It may also include collaborating with a manager to offer discounts or gift cards for return visits if a customer has an issue with their meal.
Being patient allows you to maintain a calm demeanour even when you're busy and have other duties that require your attention which as a server involves providing each customer with the same level of service and attention, regardless of the circumstances. Servers use patience regularly because they often work with multiple customers at once who ask similar questions and may want immediate attention.
They also use patience when waiting for customers to place an order or deciding on which menu items they want. Having patience with others communicates that you value their needs and time as much as you value your own. It may help you build trust and respect with your customers, encouraging return visits to the establishment.
Related: What Is Customer Service?
Resilience is the ability to provide quality service without internalising the problems or attitudes of other people or being negatively affected by difficult situations. This is an important skill to maintain quality service when serving a high volume of customers or when working with difficult customers. Servers interact with many different people throughout the day and may have several variables outside of their control, including the wait time at a restaurant, problems in the kitchen, items being sold out and a customer's attitude.
As a waitress, resilience helps you maintain respectful interactions during challenging situations. When a problem occurs, having a resilient mindset can make it easier for you to move on to your next customer and have an optimistic attitude about the situation. It increases your confidence in your skills and encourages you to focus on your positive interactions in the workplace.
As a server, it's typical to have multiple tables in your section. This requires you to have excellent multitasking skills so you can balance the expectations of multiple parties at once, including the timing of taking their orders, delivering their meals, refilling their beverages and checking in with each patron. Having multitasking abilities includes being able to make a mental list of everything you want to accomplish, quickly switching your focus from one group of patrons to another and managing the needs of all of your customers promptly.
One of the best ways to be successful as a server is to be observant and pay attention to the behaviour of your patrons. Being able to observe your surroundings can help you anticipate what diners want and be a more attentive server. For example, you can pay attention to when a customer finishes their beverage so you know when to ask if they want to order another drink. You can also use body language to predict when customers are ready to place their order or ask for their bill.
Being coordinated is a useful skill that helps you deliver drinks and dishes to your tables. Along with your interpersonal and professional skills, having physical strength, stamina and coordination is essential for navigating the restaurant floor. As a server, you may transport heavy dishes and trays of full glasses while navigating narrow pathways between tables. Your coordination skills help you balance customer orders on the way to the tables and prevent any spills. They also make it easier to stack empty dishes and bring them back to the kitchen after clearing tables.
When taking orders from customers, servers often recommend other items on the menu to increase sales for the restaurant. Having basic sales skills and knowing how to upsell products are useful as a waitress because they enhance your ability to suggest food to customers. Upselling customers at a restaurant can include describing more expensive meals and specials on the menu in an appealing way, recommending sides and add-ons that pair well with the main entree and knowing the best time to ask customers if they want dessert or another drink.
13. Money handling
Servers often handle cash and make change for customers. Listing money handling skills on your resume shows that you're confident in your ability to complete transactions when customers pay with cash. This can include doing basic math to calculate the correct amount of change to provide to a customer, counting bills and coins, identifying counterfeit money and operating a cash register.
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