February 28th, 2013
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The service industry is an excellent place to gain experience working with people and providing customer service. Many industries recruit people with waiting experience because these individuals have a reputation for quick learning and customer-focused service.
If you are looking for a job that is fast-paced and full of interaction with other people, waiting may be a good choice for you. There are a number of perks to a job as a waiter, too. Flexibility of schedule, advancement opportunities and business experience are just a few of them.
Training is an important part of becoming a waiter or waitress and most restaurants will provide an excellent training program for their new hires. Here you will learn all about food handling, customer service, front and back of house operations and much more. However, you should note that every restaurant is different and will therefor provide different types of training.
There are some resources online where you can learn the basics of the service industry. Most are free to the public. In fact, you can find several videos on Youtube.com to help you learn service concepts.
When it comes to real world, boots-on-the ground training, you will probably be required to spend several weeks following more experienced waiters or waitresses as they do their jobs. You will be taught the point-of-sale software that your organization uses and learn all about the food that your restaurant serves.
More than likely, you will need to learn some new information about food preparation and alcohol regulations. The state and federal governments have very strict guidelines when it comes to serving food to the public and servers who break these laws may be subject to fines and may also present legal threats to the restaurant they work for.
About Waiter/Waitress Training
Since most training is done on the job, it is difficult to say what you will do specifically, but there are a few concepts that seem universal to the service industry. You will be required to memorize the menu and systems your restaurant uses to fulfill orders, for example. You may also need to learn new terminology and customs for serving the public.
Waiting tables is one of the few jobs that pay a good wage without requiring a formal education or years of training. The way you distinguish yourself in this industry is through your experience. Over time, you may be presented with new opportunities at other restaurants or entirely different industries. This is because many companies send recruiters to restaurants to find new staff members, so you should know that waiting tables gives you options.
The best way to learn how to wait tables is to get out there and do it! Find your local newspaper to see what establishments are hiring or—better yet—drop by some of your local restaurants and fill out an application. Show up in the morning or after the lunch rush when the restaurant isn’t very busy. It’s during these times that you’ll have the best chance to speak with a manager about open positions.