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Restaurant Server Skills: What Skills Do You Need to be a Restaurant Server


Tessa ZuluagaAuthor

Restaurant Server Skills: Top Skills Needed to be a Restaurant Server

Working as a restaurant server is not only a job but an opportunity to acquire valuable skills that can benefit individuals both personally and professionally. 

In this article, we will delve into the various ways restaurant servers can gain valuable skills through their work experience. From communication and customer service to problem-solving and teamwork, the restaurant industry provides an ideal environment for skill development. Let's explore how servers can leverage their role to acquire and refine these important skills.


Server Training Checklist

Use this comprehensive checklist to streamline your training process and cover all the essential tasks new servers should learn, from basic steps of service to side work.


8 transferable skills restaurant servers gain

1. Communication Skills

No skill is more fundamental for a restaurant server than effective communication. Servers interact with a diverse range of people daily, including customers, kitchen staff, managers, and fellow servers. Through constant interaction, servers learn how to listen attentively to customers' needs, convey information clearly, and effectively collaborate with colleagues. The ability to communicate well is a transferable skill that helps in all areas of life.

2. Customer Service

Customer service is at the core of the restaurant industry. Servers are responsible for creating a positive dining experience for guests while addressing their needs and concerns. By actively engaging with customers and providing exceptional service, servers enhance their interpersonal skills. This can include empathy, conflict resolution, and the ability to handle difficult situations calmly and professionally. These are skills that have relevance in various other professional domains.

3. Multitasking and Time Management

Restaurant servers must juggle multiple tasks simultaneously, from taking orders and serving food to refilling drinks and processing payments. This demands excellent multitasking and effective time management skills. Through experience, servers develop the ability to prioritize tasks, manage their time efficiently, and work under pressure. These skills are transferrable to many other fast-paced professional settings.

4. Menu Knowledge and Culinary Expertise

A significant part of a server's job is having a comprehensive understanding of the menu, including ingredient details, cooking methods, and potential allergens. By developing culinary knowledge, servers can make personalized recommendations, answer customer inquiries confidently, and upsell menu items effectively. Moreover, this expertise can spark a genuine interest in food and expand one's culinary horizons.


Restaurant Menu Templates

Use these menu templates as a starting point for your menu design or to give your menus a refresh.


5. Adaptability and Problem-Solving:

The restaurant industry is notorious for its unpredictable nature, presenting servers with various challenges that require quick thinking and adaptation. Servers learn to think on their feet, adapt to changing circumstances, and find creative solutions to address customer complaints or unexpected mishaps. The ability to solve problems efficiently is an invaluable skill that is transferable to any profession.

6. Attention to Detail and Organization

Attention to detail is vital in the restaurant industry, from setting up tables with precision to ensuring food presentation meets high standards. Servers develop an eye for detail and learn to maintain organization in their work, reducing errors and contributing to a streamlined operation. These skills translate into any work environment that demands precision and organization.

7. Salesmanship

Upselling is an essential skill for servers, as it contributes to the restaurant's revenue and the servers' tips. By learning effective sales techniques, servers develop persuasive communication skills, build confidence, and enhance their ability to influence others positively. These skills can be advantageous in various sales and marketing roles.

8. Teamwork and Collaboration

The restaurant industry thrives on teamwork and collaboration. Servers depend on other team members, such as kitchen staff, bartenders, and managers, to deliver seamless service. Through this collaborative environment, servers learn to communicate effectively, delegate tasks, and work harmoniously towards a common goal. Strong teamwork skills are valuable in any workplace environment.

Serving up skills 

Working as a restaurant server offers a unique platform for skill development that extends beyond serving food and drinks. The role cultivates essential skills such as communication, customer service, multitasking, problem-solving, adaptability, and teamwork. These skills are transferable and can significantly enhance personal and professional growth. Restaurant servers should recognize and embrace the opportunities provided by their work experience, continually striving to improve their skills and expand their knowledge. By doing so, they can lay the foundation for a promising and versatile career path.

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