How to become a Waiter

Waiters serve food and drinks to guests in hotels, restaurants, clubs and similar establishments.

Personal requirements of a Waiter

  • Neat personal appearance
  • A high level of personal hygiene
  • Good communication skills
  • Good memory
  • Polite and patient
  • Friendly and efficient
  • Enjoy working with people
  • Able to work as part of a team
  • Able to handle money
  • Able to cope with the physical demands of the job

Education & Training for a Waiter

You can work as a waiter without formal qualifications. You will probably get some informal training on the job. You can also become a waiter through a traineeship in Hospitality. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10. For more details, see Section 2. Ask your career adviser about the possibility of starting some of this training in school.

Duties & Tasks of a Waiter

Waiters may perform the following tasks:

  • take restaurant reservations
  • set tables with clean linen or place mats, cutlery, crockery and glasses
  • welcome and seat customers and hand menus to them
  • talk to guests about the menu and drinks and recommend combinations
  • in some cases promote local produce and attractions to visitors from interstate and overseas
  • take customers’ orders and pass them to kitchen staff or bar attendants
  • serve food and drinks
  • carve meat
  • make up bills and present them to customers
  • handle money or credit cards
  • clear tables and return dishes and cutlery to kitchens.

Working conditions for a Waiter

Waiters often work split shifts and in the evenings, and on weekends and public holidays. They spend long periods on their feet and may have to deal with difficult customers. Uniforms may be supplied by employers.

Employment Opportunities for a Waiter

Waiters work in hotels, motels, restaurants, clubs, recreation and convention centres and other entertainment venues. Most waiters are employed in cities, although many work in larger country centres where there are tourist resorts. Waiters who have undertaken appropriate training or who have suitable experience are highly regarded by employers. A trainee may commence as a commis waiter. Skilled waiters may be promoted to maitre d’, restaurant manager and food and beverage manager positions. As turnover is high in this occupation, there is usually a steady demand for replacement staff.


Commis Waiter

A commis waiter assists more experienced waiters in clearing and setting tables and transferring food from the kitchen or serving station to customers at tables.

Drinks Waiter and Wine Steward (Sommelier)

A drinks waiter and wine steward (sommelier) specialises in serving wine and other beverages.

Maitre d'

A maitre d' is an experienced waiter that supervises the work of other waiters and assists in the administration of the restaurant.

Silver Service Waiter

A silver service waiter generally a more experienced waiter who specialises in serving food, using a fork and spoon, from platters directly to the guests' plates at the table.

Additional Information
To serve, sell or offer liquor, you must have a Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) certificate. RSA courses are widely offered by TAFE institutes and Registered Training Organisations.
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