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Waiters and Waitresses

Waiters and Waitresses
Quick Facts : Waiters and Waitresses*
2010 Median Pay$18,330
Entry Level EducationLess than high school
Work Experience in Related OccupationNone
Number of Jobs, 20122,260,300
Job Outlook9% (Slower than average)
Employment Change195,900

Waiters and waitresses take orders and serve food and beverages to customers in dining establishments. Also known as servers, they are responsible for ensuring that customers have a satisfying dining experience. The specific duties of servers vary considerably with the establishment in which they work.

What Waiters and Waitresses Do

  • Greet customers, present menus, and explain daily specials to customers
  • Answer questions related to menu items and make recommendations
  • Remove dirty dishes and glasses and clean tables after customers finish meals
  • Prepare itemized checks and hand them to customers and sometimes take payment
  • Clean and set up dining areas, refill condiments, roll silverware, and stock service areas

Work Environment

Waiters and waitresses work in restaurants, bars, hotels, and other food service and drinking places. During busy dining hours, they are under pressure to serve customers quickly and efficiently. The majority work part time, including early mornings, late evenings, weekends, and holidays.
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Job Outlook

Employment of waiters and waitresses is expected to grow 9 percent from 2010 to 2020 as the population expands and people continue to eat at restaurants.
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The average hourly wage (including tips) of waiters and waitresses was $8.81 in May 2010.
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Waiters and Waitresses*
Average Annual Salary, May 2010

Waiters and Waitresses


Food Services Occupations


All Jobs in the U.S.

Waiters and Waitresses*
Percent Change in Employment

Waiters and Waitresses


Food Services Occupations


All Jobs in the U.S.


Becoming a Waiters and Waitresses

Most waiter and waitress jobs are at the entry level, and workers learn through short-term on-the-job training. They are usually required beverages to be at least 18 years of age, but some states require servers to be older. Waiters and waitresses who serve alcohol need to be familiar with state and local laws concerning the sale of alcoholic beverages.
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