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15 Restaurant Positions & Jobs You Can Hire (and Apply) For

Posted by AJ Beltis on 11/17/16 1:00 PM in Restaurant Training & Hiring

restaurant positions

They're the ones who show up to your restaurant every single day. They greet your guests, take orders, make food, and do everything in their power to make sure that each customer comes back again soon.

They are your restaurant staff.

Restaurant staff management is a massive undertaking. There are countless considerations you face on a daily basis, including:

  • Hiring the best people to fill your open restaurant positions.
  • The dynamic between staff members and avoiding conflict.
  • Scheduling a balanced staff.
  • Accommodating time off requests. 
  • Doing your best to avoid turnover and to empower your team.

With over 14 million people working in the American restaurant industry, you have a lot of options of who to bring onto your staff. But who should you hire, and which position should your hire someone for?

Here is a list of 15 restaurant positions you can hire for - and depending on your concept - you should hire for. From expeditor to manager, here are the restaurant positions you should fill up ASAP.

Once you have your restaurant dream team assembled, head on over to the Toast Restaurant Staffing Guide to learn more about hiring the best, onboarding with ease, and getting the most out of your the staff in your restaurant. 

Assistant Restaurant Manager

Average Restaurant Salary: $35,000-$40,000

Description: The assistant manager is the general manager's right hand man or woman. They should be consistently helping out the owner, general manager, and subordinate staff members whenever required. They should also be able to step in for the general manager whenever needed for training, communication between hierarchies, and helping with customer inquiries.

The ultimate goal for this position is to move up to the restaurant's general manager position.

Key Traits to Look For When Applying/Hiring For This Restaurant Position: Knowledgeable, flexible, and helpful. 

Barista/Bartender 

restaurant positions

Average Restaurant Salary: $19,000-$23,000 (plus tips)

Description: Whether it's a coffee bar or a nighttime bar, the person who fills this restaurant position should be extremely knowledgeable in their mixology skills.

When the line builds up, it's up to them to bust it with order accuracy and plenty of flair.

You'll also need someone extremely personable behind that counter - this can be a stressful position, and so you'll need someone who can get the job done and still have fun. There will also be plenty of slow nights keeping the bar, so make sure they can hold a conversation well.

Key Traits to Look For When Applying/Hiring For This Restaurant Position: Experienced behind the bar, personable, and speedy. 

Beverage Manager

Average Restaurant Salary: $50,000, but heavily dependent on experience.

Description: Your beverage manager will be responsible for planning all drinks at your restaurant. While the position can extend past alcohol, the role is most important for bars and restaurants with bars. Duties include inventory, drink selection planning, working with a sommelier, and even hiring/managing bar staff, depending on the size and concept of the operation.

This restaurant position should be filled by someone who keeps in touch with national beverage trends, knows what the people want now, and knows what what they will want in the future. 

Key Traits to Look For When Applying/Hiring For This Restaurant Position: Trendy, creative, and feasible. 

Cashier

Average Restaurant Salary: State Minimum Wage restaurant positions

Description: It's easy to designate a high-schooler looking for part time work or a college student home for the summer, but you should take great care to fill this role well. For those getting takeout, it's likely that the cashier will be the only person the customer interacts with.

They should be polite when taking orders in person and over the phone.

The cashier also needs to be competent enough to keep the line moving during busy times while also ensuring clarity of the order. 

Key Traits to Look For When Applying/Hiring For This Restaurant Position: Kind, dedicated, and possessing a measurable level of interest in the industry. 

Catering Manager 

Average Restaurant Salary: $43,000-$48,000

Description: If you offer catering, this is a crucial restaurant position to fill. During the season of graduation parties, wedding anniversaries, and even some holidays, you will need a full-time catering manager to a.) ensure orders are coming in, and b.) make sure those orders are fulfilled properly. The candidate you hire should be organized and able to plan for the fluctuation that the job will require.

Key Traits to Look For When Applying/Hiring For This Restaurant Position: Organized, skilled in marketing, and experienced in event planning. 

Delivery Driver

Average Restaurant Salary: State Minimum Wage (plus tips, see tip credit debate)restaurant positions

Description: Obviously a necessary position to all restaurants who offer delivery, your driver should be someone who values punctuality.

References help, and it's beneficial when the driver is familiar with the area you expect them to deliver to. Also, since this is likely the only  person your customer will interact with, make sure they are friendly and will represent your restaurant well - because on the customers doorstep, you won't be able to control what happens. 

Key Traits to Look For When Applying/Hiring For This Restaurant Position: Personable, trustworthy, and the owner of a car/mode of transportation.

Dishwasher

Average Restaurant Salary: State Minimum Wage 

Description: All restaurants use dishes, plates, pots and pans, silverware, and/or cooking utensils. Since you probably don't have the time to wait around for your dishwashing machine to do everything, a human dishwasher helps speed up the cleaning process so that your entire supply of forks don't end up in a 40-minute wash cycle.

Make sure the one who fills this restaurant position doesn't let minor details slip by - one missed spot could result in a lost customer. A low-skill position does not mean a low-impact position.

Key Traits to Look For When Applying/Hiring For This Restaurant Position: Attentive to detail, quick, and focused.  

Expeditor/Runner

Average Restaurant Salary: State Minimum Wage

Description: The food expeditor (or runner) is responsible for bringing the completed food order to the table in a full service restaurant. For takeout, they will do the same for those waiting to take their food to go.

The one who fills this restaurant position should be good at remembering, otherwise you'll have them running back to double check with a server or in the POS to see which customer is getting what. There will also be a brief moment of interaction between them and the guest when they drop the food off, so this staff member should personable and social as well.

Key Traits to Look For When Applying/Hiring For This Restaurant Position: Good at remembering, speedy, and social.

Head/Executive Chef 

Average Restaurant Salary: $60,000-$65,000 New Call-to-action

Description: The executive chef, or head chef, leads the kitchen. While many of the staff management tasks fall on the kitchen manager, many of these duties will overlap and fall to the head chef as well.

First and foremost, however, your head chef will be making many of the decisions when it comes to organizing and engineering your restaurant's menu. Make sure this restaurant position is filled by somebody who has years of experience working in the kitchen and enriching their taste buds with flavors from across the globe so they can whip up irresistible recipes.

Key Traits to Look For When Applying/Hiring For This Restaurant Position: Familiar with tastes of the world, passionate, and imaginative.

Host/Hostess

Average Restaurant Salary: State Minimum Wage

Description: In full-service restaurants, the host or hostess tends to be the first point of contact for the guest and the restaurant. For all visits - especially first-time visits - this is a crucial moment of first impression. Your host or hostess should be able to follow the organizational structure of your reservation system, they should be attentive to the parties in the waiting area, and they should be able to handle the waiting area when it is at its busiest. 

Key Traits to Look For When Applying/Hiring For This Restaurant Position: Polite, attentive, and good under pressure.

Kitchen Manager

Average Restaurant Salary: $47,000-$53,000

Description: Your kitchen managers help to run the back-of-house operations. They should be able to convey immediacy in the kitchen while also keeping sanity and being respectful. Otherwise, cooks can become frustrated and turnover will inevitably increase. The kitchen manager should also be organized, keeping close track of inventory to make the appropriately sized orders to suppliers. 

Key Traits to Look For When Applying/Hiring For This Restaurant Position: Commanding, respectful, and authoritative. 

Line Cook

Average Restaurant Salary: Slightly Above Minimum Wage restaurant positions

Description: Line cooks are your go-to for productivity. They'll need to be accustomed to a rotating schedule depending on what station they are needed at most each shift.

For that reason, line cooks should thrive with the challenge of a new day's work and cannot be easily impacted by stress or work overload. They should be fully-trained as a broiler, prep, short order, and fry cook. This change in role should excite them - not frustrate them.

Fill this restaurant position with someone who loves change but is able to retain knowledge for the long term.

Key Traits to Look For When Applying/Hiring For This Restaurant Position: Attentive, energetic, fast-moving.

Restaurant Manager

Average Restaurant Salary: $50,000 for most restaurants, up to $75,000+ for fancier establishments

Description: This is arguably the most important restaurant position. Most people have the ability to work in a restaurant, but it takes a unique person to manage it. Before hiring or promoting someone to manager, make sure they are dedicated to both the restaurant industry and working in your restaurant.

This person should also be a full culture fit, since they will likely be interacting with and/or training everyone on your staff. This person should also be qualified to hire, fire, and reprimand employees when necessary, and serve as an extension of the restaurant owner. 

Key Traits to Look For When Applying/Hiring For This Restaurant Position: Driven to better your restaurant, experienced in front of house and back of house, and possessive of fantastic leadership skills. 

Server (Waiter/Waitress)

Average Restaurant Salary: State Minimum Wage (plus tips, see tip credit debate)

Description: FSRs owe a lot to their waitstaff. Not only are they the direct point of contact for your guests if they need anything, they are the one your guests interact with most in a restaurant. If they encounter a bad-tempered host or aren't greeted by a busser when walking by, these interactions can possibly be overlooked.

A bad server, however, can ruin a guest's dining experience fully. 

All of the skills we've mentioned thus far for other positions apply to servers, who should be doing everything in their power to ensure a phenomenal visit for each and every guest they serve. With that said, it's best not to hire a "warm body."  Instead, fill this position with somebody who genuinely wants to work in your restaurant. You'll need someone who isn't afraid to be social but won't lose sight of the importance of their job.

Key Traits to Look For When Applying/Hiring For This Restaurant Position: Passionate, talkative, and vigilant. 

Sous Chef

Average Restaurant Salary: $40,000-$45,000 restaurant positions

Description: The Vice President of the kitchen, a sous chef assists the executive/head chef and stands in for them when needed.

Make sure the person you appoint to this restaurant position has good chemistry with the executive/head chef - this will help avoid conflict in the kitchen and keep things running smoothly in the back of the house.

They will also need to be familiar with recipes and comfortable taking a leadership role when required. Since they may be moving up to the position in the foreseeable future, make sure this position is filled by someone you can see leading your kitchen entirely one day. 

Key Traits to Look For When Applying/Hiring For This Restaurant Position: Possesses leadership potential, culinary prowess, and a good attitude.


Managing Your All-Star Restaurant Staff

No matter if your restaurant staff consists of people in all of these positions or only some of them, your team should run like a well-oiled machine. That's why we've developed The Restaurant Staffing Guide to help you mange your restaurant staff.

In this exclusive ebook, we cover:

  • Establishing Hiring Campaigns
  • Defining Core Values
  • Interviewing and Onboarding Advice
  • How to Respond to Staff Successes and Failures
  • The Process of Firing Disrespectful or Underperforming Employees
  • Balancing Schedule Planning with Seasonal Fluctuation & Time Off
  • And more!

Don't let one bad staff member ruin the reputation of your restaurant.  
Download a free copy of The Restaurant Staffing Guide below!

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toast restaurant management blog

Written by: AJ Beltis

AJ Beltis is a Content Marketing Specialist at Toast. After working at a pizzeria throughout high school and college, AJ now manages the Toast Blog and hosts The Garnish Podcast. When he's not writing, he's probably out running in Boston's South End or watching one of his favorite movies for the 30th time. He loves to travel and experience all the different kinds of toast the world has to offer.


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