Waiter or Waitress Job Description

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  • On average, waiters and waitresses make $7.14 an hour
  • Tips usually make up most of waiters' and waitresses' pay
  • Waiter and waitress jobs are great for people with outgoing personalities

Are you the type of person who can charm even the grumpiest of old men? Could you carry a hot bowl of soup through a hurricane without breaking a sweat? Then you’ve got what it takes to be a great waiter or waitress. Most waiters and waitresses, also called servers, work in full-service restaurants. They greet customers, take food orders, bring food and drinks to the tables and take payment and make change.

Waitress and waiter job descriptionCasual dining restaurants and caf?s will expect you to be quick, efficient and friendly. Casual dining restaurants can be small family-owned restaurants or larger chain restaurants like Applebee's and Cracker Barrel . You may have to make drinks, salads and desserts all while serving several tables at one time.

Upscale restaurants will require a little more of you. You may need to know about wine and food pairings, understand how each dish is prepared and be able to make food recommendations to customers. Some fine dining restaurants even require servers to prepare specialty food items at a customer's table.

Make no mistake, being a waiter or waitress is hard work. You will have to deal with rude customers, screaming children and people who don't tip. You will roll a lot of silverware and clean a lot of ketchup bottles. Your feet will hurt. But it's a great career for someone who likes to work with people, and waiting tables can be great money for someone with the right mix of personality and serving skills.

How much do waiters and waitresses make?

Since most of your pay will likely come from tips, the better a server you are, the more money you'll make. But on average, waiters and waitresses make $7.14 an hour. The minimum a restaurant can pay you is $2.13 an hour - the rest of your pay will come from tips. However, if you score a job in a busy, expensive restaurant, you can make upwards of $20 an hour on a good night. Beware, though: if you get stuck with bad tippers or a bad shift you can end up walking out with little or no money.

Education requirements

You'll be getting a lot of on-the-job training as a server, but for the most part, no formal education is required. Some do require that you have a high school diploma. Having a bachelor's degree is always a plus - especially if you want to end up in a fine dining restaurant or eventually enter management.

Career paths for waiters and waitresses

After working your way up to a coveted shift at your first waiter or waitress job , it's likely that you'll move on to a better-paying server position at a different restaurant. After working there for a few years, you may transition into a managerial role. Some restaurants have a formal manager training program, while others require several years of experience before promoting servers.

The future of waiter and waitress jobs

People like to go out to eat, and that's not going to change anytime soon. According to the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics), there will be nearly 2.6 million waiter and waitress jobs available by the year 2016, which is 13 percent more than are available now.

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Restaurant Manager Job Description

  • Restaurant manager jobsOn average, restaurant managers make around $50,000 per year
  • Restaurant managers often work more than 40 hours per week
  • Many colleges and universities offer bachelor's degrees in restaurant management

What do restaurant managers do?

In a well run restaurant you may never know that a restaurant manager ever exists. Most people never even see one until something goes wrong. Hair in your food? Poor service? Wrong order? Bet you'll be asking for the manager. But they're more than just complaint filters. Restaurant managers are responsible for every aspect of the hiring process for all of their employees including interviewing, hiring and training. When they're not attending to personnel needs, they're also responsible for food service and administrative duties.

Typically payroll, licensing, food ordering, inspections and all sorts of other paperwork are handled by restaurant managers. These tasks require extensive training and experience, because errors can be extremely expensive. Most restaurants employ a general manager and several assistant managers. Assistant restaurant managers are often responsible for either the "back of the house," which consists of chefs, cooks, dishwashers and other kitchen staff, or for the "front of the house," which includes hosts and hostesses, servers and sometimes bartenders. Assistant managers report to the general manager and help oversee the day-to-day activities in the restaurant to keep things running smoothly.

How much do restaurant managers make?

The average salary for all restaurant managers is about $49,420 per year. Experienced restaurant managers at higher end restaurants can earn up to $76,940 per year. It sounds like a lot of money, and it is, but keep in mind that almost all restaurant managers work way more than 40 hours per week, often including late nights and weekends. This isn't your average nine-to-fiver.

Education requirements

There are rarely any mandatory education requirements to become a restaurant manager. Many colleges and universities (over 1,000) offer bachelor's degrees in restaurant and hospitality management. If an associate's degree is more your speed, lots of technical institutes and community college have programs leading to a formal certification in restaurant management. The curriculum for both programs will usually include classes in business, computer science and accounting. Many companies, especially large chains, will offer paid and un-paid internships for those seeking careers in restaurant and hospitality management. If you don't have the formal education experience, no big deal. Many restaurant managers work their way up by starting on the front lines as servers or cooks and get promoted.

Career paths for restaurant managers

If you're looking to move up in the restaurant business, you're definitely going to need to be willing to relocate. Most restaurant mangers get promoted into positions in regional management in larger chains. Some also choose to open up their own restaurants or franchise from a large corporation.

The future of restaurant managers

The BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) expects a slow increase in restaurant manager positions over the 2008-2018 decade. This slow in growth is a direct result of a decline in the number of new restaurants. Most new opportunities will be from replacing current workers and a small number of new positions in full service restaurant locations.

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Product Demonstrator Job Description

  • Product demonstrator and event coordinatorOn average, demonstrators make around $11 per hour.
  • 54 percent of all demonstrators work part time.
  • You'll receive on-the-job training.

What do product demonstrators do?

"Would you like to try this new pizza pocket?"

"Don't mind if I do."

You might know demonstrators and product promoters by another name: angels, because there are few things in life better than store d'oeuvres. It adds excitement to an otherwise monotonous trip to the grocery store. These lovely people are the ones offering up the free eats at the end of the aisle to entice you to buy their delicious products.

You may not realize that the world of product demonstration extends far beyond the realm of frozen prepared foods. You'll be dazzling customers with the features (savory sauce, creamy cheese, spicy pepperoni) of all sorts of awesome treats.

If food isn't really your thing, there are less delicious products to demonstrate, like computers, software, cell phones, ShamWows and OxyClean. If you really have a knack for product demonstration, you might get to be the next Billy Mays (though that's a big beard to fill).

You'll need to be friendly and engaging to attract the attention of busy customers and passersby. About half of demonstrators work part time. The positions are highly seasonal, with demand for workers being higher during strong retail seasons (like the holidays).

How much do demonstrators make?

The average hourly pay for all demonstrators is about $11 per hour, but will vary by experience and location. Experienced demonstrators who sell high-priced products can expect to earn up to $20 per hour.

Education requirements

Not everyone is a pizza pocket aficionado, so most employers will teach you techniques to help you sell the product you'll be presenting. More complicated products like electronics or tools may require more extensive training, but this will also be provided by your employer.

Career paths for demonstrators

Many demonstrators are hired by third-party companies to fill a variety of different positions. Advancement within these companies can be difficult, because there are a small number of office positions overseeing a large number of demonstrators in a given area. These positions are best suited for workers looking for a second job, or temporary, part-time and seasonal work.

The future of demonstrators

The BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) is expecting average growth for demonstrator positions. Because product demonstration is a powerful marketing tool, companies like to use a hands-on approach to sell their product whenever possible.

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Host and Hostess Job Description

Host and hostess job highlights

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  • Nearly 75 percent of hosts and hostesses work part time
  • Slower than average growth is expected for host and hostess jobs
  • On average, hosts and hostesses make $8.42 an hour

What do hosts and hostesses do?

Think about the last time you ate dinner at a sit-down restaurant. Remember the person who greeted you at the door, chatted with you about the weather and then took you to your table? That person was probably a host or hostess.

As a host or hostess you'll be responsible for many things. You'll need to cheerfully greet guests, take them to their table and provide them with silverware and a menu. You'll need to be able to monitor the table rotation and make sure that each member of the wait staff gets a fair amount of tables without giving them too many all at once. At the same time, you'll need to know which servers you can count on to take extra tables when you get slammed with customers. You'll also need to keep track of which tables are cleaned and available for new guests, and you may even be required to answer the phone, take reservations and in some cases take-out orders.

While the hazards of being a host or hostess aren't quite as extreme as those faced by servers, they are similar. A good majority of the people you deal with will be pleasant, but on occasion you'll have to deal with some truly nasty people. You might have guests who will get angry that they can't have the best table in the house - even though it's already taken. Or you'll get guests who try to sneak in last-minute reservations, guests who yell at you because they think you're moving too slowly, and even the occasional irate waiter who is upset at how many tables he has.

If you can't hold your temper, then a host job is probably not right for you. However, if you're looking for a fun part-time job that offers flexibility and a fast-paced working environment, then hosting might just be up your alley - especially if you're just looking for part-time work. Nearly 75% of all hosts and hostesses work part time.

How much do hosts and hostesses make?

Since hosts and hostesses usually don't get any tips, they get paid more per hour than waiters or waitresses do. On average, hosts and hostesses make $8.42 an hour, but depending on the type of restaurant where you work, you could make upwards of $12 an hour. If you're really lucky, you'll also get a share of the tips waiters and waitresses make - typically between three and five percent - and an employee discount on your meals.

What are the education requirements?

Most restaurants require that you have at least a high school education, but if you want to end up in a supervisory role, a college degree will certainly help you out.

Career paths for hosts and hostesses

Many hosts and hostesses work their way into manager jobs. They may become lead hostess, a front-of-house manager or even a maitre d'. An ambitious host or hostess who would like to eventually end up as a general or regional manager - or even restaurant owner - should consider getting a degree in hospitality management.

The future of host and hostess jobs

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the outlook is less than great for hosts and hostesses. This industry is expected to grow more slowly than average over the next decade. So if you're looking to score a good host or hostess job, then you'll need to have a combination of experience, skill and knowledge.

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Counter Attendant Job Description

What is a counter attendant job?On average, counter attendants make around $8.50 per hour. Part of counter attendants' hourly wage is based on tips they receive, and most counter attendants work nights and weekends.

What do counter attendants do?

Counter attendant is a term used to describe the job of those who stand behind a counter and take your order (usually food). These jobs are most commonly found at movie theaters, specialty food stores (like ice cream shops) or cafeterias.

Those working counter attendant jobs are often required to handle food and beverages throughout their shifts. Often these items are ready made or easy to assemble. To be a successful counter attendant, you'll need to be able to take orders from customers and deliver them back to the customers accurately.

Counter attendants are required to stand on their feet for their entire shift and occasionally lift heavy boxes, so being physically able to complete these aspects of the job is necessary.

How much do counter attendants make?

The average salary for all counter attendants is about $8.50 per hour, but the total varies based on tips received. Counter attendants with a higher hourly base wage and generous tipping customers can earn up to $12 per hour.

What are the education requirements?

Counter attendants do not have any specific education requirements. To be promoted into supervisory positions, you will need a high school diploma or GED. All of the tasks and job functions can be learned quickly with on-the-job training.

Career paths for counter attendants

You don't have to want to be a counter attendant forever, or even work in the industry to work as a counter attendant. Many people use jobs as counter attendants to acquire valuable customer service and cashiering skills for other jobs. If you do find a company you really like to work for as a counter attendant, managerial roles are often available for those who excel in their starting positions.

The future of counter attendants

The BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) expects an increase in counter attendant positions over the 2008-2018 decade corresponding to population growth. This normal growth will be compounded by the increasing popularity of families to choose take-out over dine-in restaurants.

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Line Cook Job Description

  • post a jobOn average, line cooks make around $14 per hour
  • Work hours will include late nights, early mornings, holidays and weekends
  • Having an associate's degree may give you the edge in your job search

What do line cooks do?

Liking to cook dinner for your friends and loved ones might be a good starting point, but it won't be enough if you want to make it as a line cook. Cooking the same dishes for strangers for a lengthy shift requires more than just a general "like" of the kitchen, you've got to love it.

Line cook job descriptionFor someone looking to get into the restaurant business, especially the "back of the house," a line cook job is a great stepping stone. Line cooks are usually responsible for prepping ingredients and assembling dishes according to restaurant recipes and specifications.

Kitchens can be hot, noisy and stressful places, so you'll need to be able to work efficiently and quickly to be successful as a line cook. It can be a dangerous job, with minor cuts, bruises and burns being a part of the daily (or nightly) routine.

How much do line cooks make?

The average salary for all line cooks is about $14 per hour. Experienced line cooks at high-end restaurants can earn up to $18.25 per hour. The awesome benefit of free meals is not included in your hourly wage. Many line cooks can eat for free during their shifts.

Education requirements to be a line cook?

More and more line cooks and chefs are required to have two and four year degrees. These culinary programs provide basic training on cooking techniques, health and safety procedures, and other various aspects of restaurant management. Most community colleges offer technical classes in culinary arts, with the potential for job placement after completion.

Career paths for line cooks

Career paths for line cooks are often determined by the size and type of restaurant. Some potential promotions in the kitchen include line supervisor, sous-chef, chef and executive chef. Many chefs decide to open their own restaurants or catering businesses. Many advancement opportunities involve moving to bigger or busier restaurants, which may require moving to larger cities.

The future of line cooks

The BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) expects a slower than average increase in line cook positions over the 2008-2018 decade. This slow growth will result in fierce competition for available positions, making education and experience important for success.

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Chef or cook

Almost 40 percent of cooks are under the age of 24. One-third of cooks work part time, and chef and cook job opportunities are expected to grow.

What do chefs and cooks do?

post a jobThe short answer? It all depends. Prep cooks, who are at the bottom of the kitchen totem pole, spend their time getting food items ready for the other chefs. They chop vegetables, prepare meats for cooking and weigh and measure ingredients. Line cooks are responsible primarily for cooking the food along with the sous chefs, who are the head chef's second in command. Sous chefs cook, help out the head chef whenever needed and stand in for the head chef during an absence.

A head chef or head cook is the kitchen boss. He or she not only has to be able to cook food and lead a team of kitchen workers but also has to figure out how much food will be needed for the week and order food and supplies. Yes, that means there will be math involved. At some restaurants, head chefs create the restaurant's menu and adjust it depending on the seasonality or availability of food - so being able to cook amazing dishes from scratch is a must.

Chef and cook job descriptionAs fun as that might sound, being a chef is not all glitz and glamour. Chefs and cooks work in a potentially dangerous environment and spend most of their time covered from head to toe in whatever food they happen to be cooking. That means if you end up at a seafood restaurant, you'd better get used to smelling like old shrimp. You'll also be doing more than just cooking - you'll be cleaning and disinfecting many of the items you work with, including grills, fryers and counter surfaces. It's messy work, but someone has to do it.

The hours can be brutal as well. As a chef, you'll be working weekends, early mornings, late evenings and holidays. Almost 33 percent of chefs and cooks work part time.

How much do chefs and cooks make?

We hate to break it to you, but the odds of becoming a celebrity chef and making millions of dollars a year are pretty slim. According to the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics), chefs and head cooks make an average of $34,000 a year. But depending on where you work and how much experience you have, you could make up to $60,000 a year.

What are the education requirements?

You might not need an education to get into the restaurant industry , but it certainly doesn't hurt. A vocational school, trade school or training program is a great place to learn the basics. If you really want to learn everything you can about the biz, attend a culinary school or a four-year degree program.

Career paths for chefs and cooks

It's not the easiest job in the world, but it certainly can take you places. If you're a hard worker with a flair for creating food, you could be promoted from line cook to sous chef to head chef within a matter of years. With hard work, a passion for cooking and a little education, chefs and cooks can choose almost any food service career path they like.

The future of chef and cook jobs

It's a pretty good time to be a chef. According to the BLS, chef and cook jobs are expected to increase by 11 percent by 2016, which is about average for all jobs. However, it's going to get tougher for those of you looking to work in high-end restaurants. Culinary school or a college degree program will be necessary if you want to score one of these jobs.

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Barista Job Description

post a jobOn average, baristas make around $8.50 per hour. Barista positions are great part-time jobs for those with flexibility, and you'll need to be able to multi-task for this job.

What do baristas do?

Fun fact: almost 60 percent of adults living in the U.S. drink coffee every day and that number is only growing. That's good news for you, because that delicious white chocolate mocha isn't going to make itself. Nope, it takes a skilled hand and a passion for beverage perfection to really deliver the goods.

You could be that skilled hand. Baristas are the friendly worker behind the counter at your favorite coffee shop or bookstore, serving up your favorite thirst quenching beverages all day long. As a barista, you'll need to make beverages in an extremely fast paced environment by following the standard recipes. You'll need to be a great multi-tasker and be able to get it right the first time. People are grumpy in the morning before their coffee, and they only get grumpier when their order is wrong.

How much do baristas make?

Coffee shop job descriptionsThe average hourly pay for all baristas is about $8.50 per hour including tips, but will vary by experience and location. Experienced baristas who work in high volume coffee shops can earn up to $12 per hour (that includes tips).

What are the education requirements?

While there aren't any strict education requirements for baristas, most employers prefer a high school diploma or GED. While students in high school are able to perform the functions of the job, the hours aren't great for high school students. Remember, people love coffee early in the morning and late at night, and that doesn't fit well in the average high school schedule.

Career paths for baristas

Many people choose barista positions as part-time jobs because they offer flexible scheduling for people with morning availability. Working as a barista also offers great customer service and food service experience. It's a great entry-level job for someone looking to get into the restaurant industry. If you discover you have a passion for coffee beans, you could move into shift supervisor roles or other management positions.

The future of baristas

The BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) expects average growth for barista positions and will correspond to growth in population over the 2008-2018 decade.


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Baker job Description

Baker job descriptionOn average, bakers make around $11.50 per hour. Bakers usually start working very early in the morning, and most bakers get their careers started with apprenticeships.

What do bakers do?

Any chef worth his salt will tell you baking is a science. A successful baker uses precise measurements of ingredients and their knowledge of how heat affects them to execute recipes perfectly.

Once everything is baked, bakers use a variety of tools and techniques to decorate each item to company or customer specifications. It takes a skilled hand and a lot of patience to be successful.

It's not all cupcakes and cookies either. Bakeries are often extremely hot from the constant use of high temperature ovens, so if you can't stand the heat, you'll literally need to get out of the kitchen. They can also be very noisy from all the banging and clattering of pans and mixers throughout the day. Bakers work very early mornings to have the day's baked goods ready for the breakfast rush and morning shoppers. If you're looking for a "low stress" job, this just isn't it.

How much do bakers make?

The average salary for all bakers is about $11.50 per hour. Experienced bakers at high-end retailers can earn up to $18 per hour. The largest percentage of bakers have jobs in craft and specialty bakeries or grocery stores.

What are the education requirements?

Because there are so many technical skills bakers need to learn, nearly all start under the watchful eye of a more tenured person. In craft bakeries and specialty stores like high-end cake artisans or pastry shops, this training period is known as an apprenticeship. In a large supermarket chain, it's a less formal training period.

Career paths for bakers

Bakers can be certified by the Retail Bakers of America. The optional four-level certification can be attractive for potential employers and ranges from certified journey baker to certified master baker. Each level requires a combination of formal education, work experience and varied work experience.

The future of bakers

The BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) expects a very slow increase in baker positions over the 2008-2018 decade. This slow in growth stems from the automation and outsourcing of baking especially in large retail chains.

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