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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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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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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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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Assistant Manager Job Description

post a jobAssistant managers have a lot of responsibility, and this job requires great leadership skills. Whether you’re managing a group of sales people in retail or dishing out orders to servers in a restaurant, you'll need to keep a level head, be able to multitask and have excellent people skills.

Assistant Manager Job skills

The good news is that your training will teach you everything you need to know to succeed on the job. But here are a few skills you should have from the get-go:

  • Leadership: You will have several people you need to supervise in addition to handling general complaints, last-minute schedule changes, kitchen mess-ups and inventory problems. Assistant managers are leaders and should represent their company and themselves well by acting as a role model to the people reporting to them.
  • Organization: There will be a million and one things going on as an assistant manager and everyone will assume that you have it all worked out for them. You should be able to stay focused during busy times and delegate tasks to employees to keep business running smoothly.
  • Recruiting and training: Assistant managers are usually the ones responsible for recruiting and interviewing quality people to staff your location, as well as making sure these new employees transition as smoothly as possibly into their jobs. You should be a good teacher who tries to help employees who are having difficulty picking up new skills.
  • Being friendly and outgoing: People skills and customer service are a must in this job. Not only will you interact with your employees every day, but you will also need to assist customers when they have questions, concerns or complaints. Put on a happy face and address these issues in a professional manner.
  • Staying attentive: This is not a position where you can sit back, forget about the people around you and do your own thing. Your job is to be attentive to your employees by motivating them to succeed and improve. Even if business is slow, keep your staff in high spirits and be as helpful as possible to customers and clients.

Assistant Manager Salary

  • Average hourly wage: $18.81
  • Median annual wage: $34,900

Extra Perks

  • Discounts: If you work in the retail or restaurant industries, you may be entitled to an employee discount on merchandise or food. Other industries have some great perks too, which might include discounted hotel rooms/suites, free phones and gas cards.
  • Sales incentives: In many sales environments, managers who have the best sales month or bring in the most revenue are given incentives like bonuses, gift certificates or even a paid day off.
  • Great chance for promotion
  • Earn valuable leadership skills

Expected hours

Shifts vary depending on the location, but most assistant managers can expect to work a full 40-hour week. Availability on nights, weekends and holidays is also usually required.

Dress the part

Depending on the establishment, work attire varies. Many clothing stores require employees to wear that company's brand or dress business casual (example: dress pants and a nice shirt). Other companies, like auto shops, restaurants and entertainment establishments, will provide you with a uniform. If you're unsure of what's appropriate to wear in this position, ask others in management for a copy of the dress code. Remember that you are setting the standard for your employees, so it is better to dress up than down.

Job myth

“Assistant managers just shout orders at the employees they manage.”

While this job does require you to take control and delegate responsibilities to other workers, assistant managers get their hands just as dirty as their employees. One of the main requirements for this position is people skills, and ordering people around like servants doesn't fit the bill. You'll be so busy dealing with customers, answering phones, filing paperwork, training new employees, cleaning the store/office and covering shifts when you're shorthanded, you won't have time to sit back and relax while telling other people what to do.

Career path

  • Restaurant manager (Averages $40,000 to $45,000/year)
  • Office manager (Averages $50,000/year)
  • Medical clinic manager (Averages $50,000 to $70,000/year)


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Bartender Job Description

What bartending jobs are likeBartenders can make up to $14 an hour - before tips (and tips usually make up most of a bartender's pay). Bartender jobs are great for outgoing multi-taskers.

What do bartenders do?

So you wanna be a bartender? OK. Make me three dirty martinis, four margaritas (one frozen, three on the rocks, one with no salt), a black and tan, two pina coladas, a manhattan, a scotch (neat), and seven orange crush shooters.

Oh, and I need those all in less than five minutes. Still sound like a job you might want to do? Then read on.

Bartending can be a great job. You get to laugh, joke and have fun with people who come to you to have a good time. You make a few drinks, chat with people and maybe even get to dance a bit. Almost all bartenders are extroverts who don't mind being the center of attention - but you've got to have a long fuse, especially with people who have had a bit too much to drink.

Different types of bartenders:

Show bartenders are the kind you think of when you think of the movie "Cocktail." There is a lot of bottle flipping, tossing and even setting things on fire. Show bartenders typically work in large restaurants and are frequently found in Las Vegas or at resorts.

Educated bartenders (who have extensive knowledge of wines, scotches, whiskeys and bourbons) can work at high-end restaurants or specialty shops, pairing foods with drinks and recommending $100 cocktails.

The average bartender, though, works at a restaurant or bar. You'll be required to quickly make drinks for your guests, serve food and make drinks for the servers to serve to their guests.

Bartending isn't all fun and games. Every so often a person will vomit, and you may be the one cleaning it up. If you're a girl, you will get hit on by drunk guys - and it won't always be pretty. Guys, you too will have your fair share of girls flirting with you, which I promise is not as fun as it might sound. People will grab your arm as your working to get your attention, causing you to spill drinks. You will have bar patrons yell at you for not putting enough alcohol in a drink, others who tell you you're making their drink wrong and many who won't even tip you at all.

You have to be able to tell people "no" and mean it. If someone has had enough, you have to stop serving them, make sure no one else serves them and deter them from driving. Not only can you be held legally responsible if they cause an accident, but stopping someone from hurting themselves or others is the right thing to do. You absolutely cannot serve anyone who is underage. Law enforcement officials routinely hire teenagers to come into bars. If you serve them, don't check their IDs or don't recognize a blatantly fake ID, you will lose your job, if not go to jail.

As fun as bartending can be, it comes with some very serious responsibilities. Bartenders are on the frontlines of what can sometimes be a brutal world. You will see normally nice men and women showing the ugliest sides of themselves. If you ever witness a domestic situation, someone attempting to drug another person or someone taking advantage of someone who has had too much to drink, it is your responsibility to step in. If you can't stomach it, then don't become a bartender.

How much do bartenders make?

Depending on where you work, you can make up to $14 an hour - and that's before tips! But on average, bartenders make $9 an hour. You'll also receive tips from your customers and depending on the restaurant, you might even get a tip out (a percentage of the tips the servers get from their tables).

On a busy Friday night, you can walk out with a few hundred dollars in your pocket (unless you work alone, you'll split the tip jar with your fellow bartenders) on top of the check you'll take home later. On a slow night? Well, let's just say it's a good thing you make $9 an hour.

What are the education requirements?

Depending on where you want to work, none. Many restaurants don't mind hiring an aspiring bartender and training them. It never hurts to do a little research on your own before applying to bartender jobs. Buy a bartending recipe book ("Mr. Boston: Official Bartenders Guide" is a great place to start) and start testing out your bartending skills on your friends.

If you aspire to tend bar in an upscale restaurant, you should consider attending a mixology school. Bartending school will give you the knowledge you need to snag a job at a place where you'll have to know the difference between a bottle of a prohibition-era Macallan re-bottled in 2002 and a Macallan 12-year scotch (what's the difference? about $54,000).

Career paths for bartenders

After improving on your beer pouring skills (and yes, there is a right and wrong way to pour beer) you'll work your way up to the coveted weekend shift - that's where all the money is. After that, you can either work your way into a management position or find a more upscale or better paying place to tend bar.

The future of bartender jobs

According to the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics), the bartending industry is expected to grow at a rate of 10 percent of the next decade. This is about average for all jobs in America.

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