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How to Write a Server Job Description (Duties, Responsibilities)

Grace JidounAuthor

How to Write a Server Job Description (Duties, Responsibilities)

Imagine carrying four half-eaten plates of pasta on your forearm, remembering which table has the peanut allergy, and keeping a mental note of who needs refills on coffee. Meanwhile, you’re navigating a busy dining room and fielding questions about the daily specials. 

For servers, this is any random Tuesday. No matter how delicious the food is or how charming the décor, having a great server makes the difference between a good and bad experience for the customer. They create the first impression, and guide guests all the way through the dining experience. That’s why servers must demonstrate genuine hospitality and warmth, and make guests feel taken care of.

Waiters and waitresses have such a wide array of tasks, that writing a server job description can seem intimidating. But there are certain key requirements that good candidates possess. What are they? 

Staying calm under fire, communicating clearly, problem-solving on the spot, and paying attention to details are just some of the essential skills needed for this multifaceted job.

List of Duties for the Job

Manage the guest experience

Servers must know exactly when to take the order and when to check on their guests, and the true pros make this look effortless. Of course, it’s anything but. Being a good server requires sharp listening skills so that all orders are accurately recorded, and all plates arrive in a timely manner. 

Often, servers need to anticipate requests before they’re made and be prepared with an answer to every question. For instance, what farm did the organic lettuce come from, which pizzas can be made with a gluten-free crust, and what exactly is in that yuzu ponzu sauce? Details are everything. Servers should know the menu inside and out, as guests turn to them for food recommendations and drink-pairing suggestions.

Demonstrate genuine hospitality

It’s not just about the mechanics of service. Servers manage the personalities and expectations of all the guests at each table. They must be present and stay in the moment, giving their undivided attention to tables in sometimes loud and distracting environments. 

They must remain calm and polite, even if they’re putting out fires in the kitchen or are challenged by a grumpy guest. It may be an old cliché, but the customer is always right, and servers must always put the guest first (even the grumpy ones). That said, true hospitality can’t be easily faked. 

The best servers genuinely enjoy interacting with people. They bring an authentic vibe to the table, showing some of their true personalities while making guests feel comfortable. 

Possess superior communication skills

Servers guide guests through the dining experience, from the first greeting to the last goodbye. They do this by communicating with the kitchen, the bussers, the hosts, the bartenders, and the sommeliers. With so many moving parts, there’s plenty of room for error. Keeping clear lines of communication with all team members is crucial. Most important of all, the server is the liaison between the guest and the chef, responsible for communicating essential requests. Sometimes it’s simply a preference for a medium rare vs. a well-done burger, but it can involve life-threatening allergies too. Servers need to be proactive about communication and take no shortcuts. 

Align with company culture

Just as with any business, the happiest and most productive employees are in sync with the company’s goals and brand. Servers need to immerse themselves in their restaurant’s “culture.” 

A passion for food, wine, and spirits is a plus and will help servers bond with the guests, who are often loyal to their favorite restaurants and knowledgeable about the cuisine. 

Technology is an increasingly important part of the business, with kitchen display screens, self-order kiosks, and handheld and contactless payment. Servers must be familiar with all new and old systems to handle procedures quickly and accurately.

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Server Side Work Checklist Template

This Excel document template will help you create a Server Side Work Checklist for your restaurant — and train staff more effectively.

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Server Job Description Sample

To make it easier to create a server job description, here’s a sample you can use.


Job Title: Server 

Salary: $15-$20/hour – commensurate with experience

Tip Income: Yes 

Schedule: Part-time (20 hours per week). Wed-Saturday 

Role: We are looking for a team player to work in a dynamic, fast-paced environment. You will serve guests, presenting various menu options and advising on each customer's best food and drink choices. Our servers are passionate about food and hospitality and prioritize each guest, ensuring the pleasant dining experience our restaurant is known for.

Duties:

  • A passion for food, wine, and service

  • Superior communication skills (both written and spoken)

  • A focus on hospitality and guest rapport alongside the development of a regular clientele

  • Practice safe food handling procedures

  • Knowledge of tableside etiquette

  • Rigorous attention to detail

  • Practice safe food handling procedures and have an awareness of food allergens

  • Have long-term goals in the service industry

  • A strong sense of urgency

  • Follow restaurant policies and procedures, including maintaining knowledge of the POS system


Tips for Writing Effective Job Descriptions

  • Write a short, compelling description that gives an idea of what your restaurant is all about, focusing on key aspects of the job that interest people.

  • Truthfully explain your restaurant's culture to help assess a candidate's fit. An Indeed survey found that 72% of job seekers say it’s important to see details about company culture in job descriptions.

  • To reach the widest candidate pool, use inclusive language that highlights access to opportunity and a positive working environment. 

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When creating your server job description, consider it a marketing opportunity to brand your restaurant’s culture. You want to communicate a realistic preview of the role and your restaurant’s unique environment to ensure a good fit.

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