Job type

Waiting staff

£12k - £22k

Typical salary

18 – 41

Hours per week

Waiting staff take orders, serve food and drinks, and handle payments in restaurants and cafes

More info

  • Serve food and drinks in restaurants and cafes
  • You'll need good people skills, positivity, and a willingness to work evenings and weekends
  • Progress into supervisory roles, specialist roles like sommelier or set up your own business


  • Greeting customers as they arrive and showing them to their table
  • Giving out menus and taking orders for food and drink
  • Serving food and drinks
  • Dealing with bill payments
  • Making sure tables are clean and tidy
  • Being on hand to answer any questions
  • Making sure that customers enjoy their experience

In formal restaurants your work may include silver service (plating the items of a meal at the table). You'll usually work in a team under the supervision of a head waiter or waitress, known as the Maitre D'. You could also specialise in work as a wine waiter or waitress, called a sommelier.


You'll usually be paid a set hourly rate. Tips may increase your income.

You'll usually work shifts including evenings, weekends and public holidays. Restaurants and kitchens can be hot, humid, noisy and busy. You'll need a smart appearance and you'll usually be provided with a uniform.

You'll need

There are no set requirements, but you'll need the ability to remain calm under pressure, the ability to memorise orders, and numeracy skills.

You could prepare for this job by doing a college course to get some of the skills you'll need. Courses include Level 1 Award in Introduction to Employment in the Hospitality Industry, or Level 1 Certificate in Food and Beverage Service.

Or you could do a hospitality team member intermediate apprenticeship.

Previous customer service experience may also be helpful.


With experience you may be able to progress to Maitre D' or restaurant supervisor. You may also be able to go into related areas of work like restaurant and kitchen management or purchasing.