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What are the Different Waitress Jobs?

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  • Written By: Sheri Cyprus
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 05 November 2016
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Although all waitress jobs involve serving food or drinks to customers, the atmosphere, uniforms and job duties vary widely depending on the type of restaurant or other establishment. For instance, being a waitress in a diner can seem very different from working in an upscale restaurant. Catering waitress jobs can also differ greatly from those in diners and restaurants.

Waitresses in the catering industry may work less than other types of waitresses, or they may supplement their regular waitress job with catering gigs such as weddings on weekends. Some catering waitresses work in the hospitality industry in hotel dining rooms and have a room and board living arrangement at a hotel. They usually get a wage plus room and board.

While hotel waitresses may wear uniforms, waitress jobs for a catering company that serves food at corporate events, weddings and other events may require each worker to supply his or her own clothing. Black shoes, black pants and a white dress shirt or blouse are the most common clothing items required by waitresses and waiters who are asked to provide their own work clothes. Virtually all waitress jobs have either a uniform or required dress code.

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Diners usually supply uniforms, although not all do. The atmosphere and food in diners is quite different than in hotels and convention centers. A diner is a casual eating place that features home-style, basic food unlike the fancier fare served in high-end restaurants and hotels. Most diners are also quite small in size and most are open for breakfast, whereas many restaurants are only open in the evenings.

In smaller restaurants, waitresses may do more tasks than just waiting on tables. They may set tables as well as clear them. In restaurants without a hostess, waitresses also greet and guide customers to their seats. Buffet restaurant waitress jobs don't require the waitress to carry out food to tables since the customers help themselves. Waitresses in these types of restaurants must keep track of food orders and payment and may also serve drinks.

Cocktail waitress jobs may not involve serving any food at all or the foods to be served may be just appetizers and light meals. Since cocktail waitresses serve alcoholic beverages, they must check for proper identification to ensure that bar patrons are of the legal drinking age required by law. Unlike diner waitress jobs, a cocktail waitress usually works only night shifts and, depending on the establishment, the uniform may be scanty.

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Saraq90
Post 8

My husband worked in an upscale restaurant and I worked in a diner atmosphere restaurant and we both loved where we worked at the time when we worked there because of where we were in our life.

My husband was a little older, like in his late twenties when he enjoyed the upscale restaurant because they taught him about wine and food and he loved that. He even *had to* go to wine tastings to learn about the wines he would be serving!

The upscale restaurant also allowed him to make more money in comparison to what I made without doing as much physical work - he obviously had a lot of different type of work (knowing about wines

, how foods are cooked, be able to suggest items based on a person's palate, etc.)

I loved the diner I worked in because I was in my early twenties, and the job had great flexibility, fun employees, and it was never boring as I was always running from table to table and from kitchen to table.

I think the most important part of a waitress' job description is to be able to prioritize. You have to be able to prioritize your many different jobs very quickly to give good service.

Sara007
Post 7

@manykitties2 - I had a few jobs as a waitress in college and the job description for waitresses are actually really varied. At one of the restaurants I worked at I did a little of everything. I cleaned, I helped in the kitchen some days, I washed dishes, I dealt with cash. It really depended on what the boss needed at the time.

As far as turnover goes, visit the restaurants yourself and see how the staff look. There is a lot of people just in waitressing for a part-time gig, so jobs pop up frequently. As far as perks go, well, some places let you have food, others don't. I wouldn't expect it though. It just comes down to whether or not your boss is nice and company policy allows for it.

manykitties2
Post 6

There are a lot of waitress job openings in my city but they always seem to be at the same restaurants. I have been looking for part-time work and worry that there is a reason that the same restaurants keeping showing up time and time again. At a medium-sized diner do you think that the job would be especially hard?

I know that being on your feet all day would be rough, but I imagine that it isn't always busy. I really need to find a position that has a flexible schedule and has some perks. Does anyone know if waitresses are ever supplied meals?

widget2010
Post 5

I really appreciate people who are good at waiting tables, and I try to show it in tips and how I interact with them. I never had that sort of job, but I was a cashier a couple of times- working with people is not always fun or easy, but it's so important to have people doing those jobs.

behaviourism
Post 4

@hyrax53- That's also true for larger groups, often. I was a waitress and also bussed tables at a pizza place for awhile. The families usually made huge messes, especially the ones with babies, and then didn't leave any tip at all. I don't want to generalize too much, but I wouldn't want another waitress job in a "family" restaurant; maybe a bar or a coffee shop, someplace where most customers would be a little older.

hyrax53
Post 3

@Sunny27- I actually think people in high end restaurants are no more likely to give good tips than people at other places. It's easier to assume the wait staff make a better salary, or to feel like the meal was already expensive enough without leaving a tip. Also, to be honest, rich people are often pretty cheap when it comes to those sorts of things.

Sunny27
Post 2

@SauteePan- That is true, but if you are a good waitress you can make a lot of money in tips. Waitresses that work in a high end restaurant can earn a lot of money with a few days’ worth of work.

The customers tend to have larger tabs and the percentage of the tip also tends to be higher as a result. If you do a great job, you might even get repeat business and customers might ask for you by name. I have done this before because when I find someone that is an outstanding waitress, I want them to know how much I appreciate their service.

SauteePan
Post 1

I think that waitressing jobs can be really difficult at times. You have to be on your feet all day and sometimes when there are mistakes made with the order that are not the fault of the waitress, they still get blamed.

I personally think that this can be a stressful job because not all customers are respectful, and that may be difficult for the waitress to deal with. Working with the public is never easy because people are unpredictable and you never know how a person is going to react to something.

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