How to Get a Job Waiting Tables? Essential Hiring Tips

If the mere thought of job hunting makes you want to dive under your duvet, know this: snagging a gig waiting tables can be less dive and more high-five. Whether you’re seeking extra cash or stepping into the workforce, the quest for restaurant work is as much about attitude as it is about experience.

By the end of this post, you’ll be equipped with practical steps to not only get your foot in the door but to ace that table waiting job like a pro.

Quick Takeaways

  • Cultivate Vital Skills: Be a communication ninja, juggle tasks effectively, have a sharp memory, and provide stellar customer service while staying calm under pressure.
  • Polish Your Resume: Highlight your transferable skills, maintain a simple format, add a splash of personality, and showcase any tech proficiency with POS systems.
  • Ace the Interview and Beyond: Research the restaurant, prepare problem-solving stories, dress smartly yet comfortably for your interview, and once hired, learn quickly, take initiative, and familiarize yourself with the menu and regular customers.

What Skills Do I Need to Wait Tables?

Landing a job waiting tables means packing your toolkit with some essential skills that’ll help you thrive in the hustle and bustle of the hospitality industry. First off, you’ve got to be a communication ninja. Whether it’s explaining the daily specials, answering customer queries, or just sharing a warm, welcoming smile, the way you talk and listen can make or break a diner’s experience.

Then there’s multitasking – think of it as juggling plates without letting any of them smash to the ground. You’ll need to take orders, serve food, process payments, and maybe even soothe a fussy baby – often all at the same time.

But wait, there’s more! A good memory makes for fewer mistakes. Remembering who ordered the no-onion burger or which table prefers extra napkins is gold. And never underestimate the power of top-notch customer service. It’s about solving problems before they’re problems and keeping that smile going, even on a double shift.

What ties all this together? A friendly attitude and staying cool under pressure. The restaurant game can get intense, so staying positive when the heat is on – literally and figuratively – is crucial for success.

How Can I Make My Resume Stand Out?

When it comes to crafting a standout resume, think of it as your personal ad – you want to hook the reader with your dazzling blend of skills and experience. Even if you haven’t served tables before, fear not. Highlight any transferable skills – like that summer you spent handling cash at a busy retail store, showing you’ve got chops in customer service and financial transactions.

Ensure your resume is as clean and appetizing as a well-set table: choose a simple, readable format, and keep it to one page where possible. If you’re light on experience, consider adding a touch of personality by mentioning an interesting hobby that demonstrates teamwork or leadership, like captaining your local soccer team or organizing community events.

And hey, here’s a unique tip: List any experience with POS systems or restaurant software you might have, even if it’s from another industry. In the digital age, tech-savvy candidates have an edge!

What Should I Say in a Job Interview?

Picture a job interview like a first date – you want to show you’re interested, you’ve done your homework, and you’re genuinely a catch. Get ready to charm the socks off your potential employer by prepping for the classic “Why do you want to work here?” – this is where your research pays off. Casually dropping knowledge about the restaurant’s history or its signature dish shows you mean business.

When fielding questions like “Can you describe a time when you had to deal with a difficult customer?”, have a story in the chamber that showcases your problem-solving skills and ability to keep your cool. Hiring managers love seeing that you’re a team player who can handle some heat in the kitchen.

An insider tip: Share an example of how you anticipated a guest’s needs before they even asked. It’s those little details that prove you’re cut out for the high-energy, ever-changing world of waiting tables.

Just remember, these are just the appetizers in your job-hunting feast. Stay tuned, as there’s plenty more to help you land that job and thrive in the bustling world of hospitality.

How Can I Find Waitstaff Opportunities?

Finding a job as a waitstaff member can be as much about hustle as it is about hospitality. Here’s the scoop: You’ve got a sea of opportunities if you know where to cast your net.

Start where you are – online job boards can be a treasure trove. Websites like Indeed, Glassdoor, and the restaurant-specific PoachedJobs often list numerous waiting gigs. Social media is also your friend, with platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn offering groups and job search functionalities tailored for the service industry.

However, don’t overlook the tried-and-true method of hitting the pavement. Taking a stroll down the busiest eating strips in your town might just land you a job faster than any online application could. This approach can give you an immediate feel for the place, not to mention putting a face to your name can be much more memorable than a PDF in an inbox.

Networking is key. Strike up conversations within your circle, and don’t shrug off that uncle who loves to chat about his favorite diner – he might just know they’re hiring. Word-of-mouth recommendations are invaluable, and in the tight-knit service industry, they can open doors you didn’t even know were there.

Here’s a kicker: Some eateries, especially local gems, might not advertise online at all, relying on signage or local bulletins to spread the word. Keeping your eyes peeled whenever you’re out and hitting up community boards could reveal hidden opportunities.

Pro Tip: Create a personalized map of restaurants you’re interested in and track which places you’ve applied to or visited. This keeps you organized and ensures you don’t accidentally skip over a potential gem.

What Should I Wear to a Service Industry Interview?

First impressions are crucial, and while you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, unfortunately, many do. So, what’s the uniform for success? Smart casual is a safe bet. Think button-downs, neat polo shirts, slacks, or a skirt that says “I’m professional” without screaming “I’m overdoing it!”

Do some recon on the restaurant’s vibe. A hipster café might appreciate your chic, fashion-forward ensemble, while a high-end steakhouse could expect more conservative attire. However, regardless of the dress code, cleanliness and grooming should be given top priority. Clean shoes, trimmed nails, and well-managed hair should be on your checklist.

Remember: Confidence goes hand-in-hand with comfortable clothing. If you can’t walk properly in those killer heels or that tie feels like a noose, you’re not doing yourself any favors. Striking the balance between comfort and professionalism is key.

How Can I Impress on the First Day?

Ah, the first day jitters – we’ve all been there. But here’s how you can stride through the door with confidence:

Show up early: And not just on time, but with a buffer that shows you’re serious about this gig. It gives you a moment to catch your breath and gather your thoughts too.

Be a sponge: Absorb everything. Showing a willingness to learn speaks volumes about your character and sets you apart from the get-go.

Take initiative: If you see something that needs doing, like refilling a breadbasket or tidying up a server station, jump on it. A proactive attitude is as refreshing as a cold lemonade on a hot day.

Here’s a seldom mentioned but golden nugget – familiarize yourself with the local regulars if you can. Regular customers are the bread and butter of many restaurants, and being able to greet them by name or knowing their favorite order can swiftly earn you brownie points – and tips!

Know the menu inside and out: It’s not just about what’s on it, but what each dish entails. Allergens? Gluten-free? Vegan? You’re the oracle of the menu, and your knowledge can impress customers and colleagues alike.

From the start, grasp the restaurant’s rhythm and flow. Touch base with your fellow servers, learn the layout like the back of your hand, and understand the ordering system quickly. You may feel like a small fish in a big pond, but even small fish can make ripples. Be the kind of ripple that turns into a wave of positivity and hard work – it won’t go unnoticed.

Adopting these practices early on can not only ease your own nerves but also demonstrate to your new employers that they made the right choice in hiring you. Remember, it’s all about showing that you’re not just there for the paycheck – you’re there to be part of a team that delivers an unforgettable dining experience. Now, put on that apron and let’s turn tables!

  • Alex Mitch

    Hi, I'm the founder of! Having been in finance and tech for 10+ years, I was surprised at how hard it can be to find answers to common questions in finance, tech and business in general. Because of this, I decided to create this website to help others!