Last modified on April 9th, 2021 at 1:13 pm
When you open up your restaurant, you may think that it’s all about the food. While having great food is critical to the success of your restaurant, customer service may be just as important – or even more so. After all, it doesn’t matter if you have the best fried chicken in the state if your servers deliver it to the table soggy, greasy and cold.
There are few things that can tank your restaurant’s reputation faster than poor quality of service. According to one analysis of more than 330,000 online restaurant reviews, “service” is the keyword used most often by customers. This tells us that while having a great concept, incredible food, and other amenities are important, your customers won’t leave happy if your servers are inattentive, forgetful, or rude.
This can put a lot of pressure on restaurant owners to hire exactly the right people for the job. While there will always be some trial and error in the process (a great interview doesn’t always lead to an ideal employee), starting with a solid job description can help you land the kind of person you want for the role. Below, we outline how to go about writing a top notch job description for servers at your restaurant.
Create a Job Title
The first step in the process is to create a job title. This may seem self-explanatory when you are looking for a waiter or waitress. You can simply write “restaurant server” and be done with it…right?
While “server” is an accurate description for the job, by spending a few minutes on this task, you may be able to come up with a job title that attracts the best candidates. Think about the nature and duties of the job, the necessary skill level, and how other restaurants typically describe these positions.
Remember, this job title isn’t just about how you classify your employees internally. It also can help to catch the attention of qualified candidates. Adding just a few descriptive words, like experienced, outgoing, or capable, can make a world of difference.
List Job Duties
Once you have come up with a job title, write down what you will expect the person you hire to do. Try to keep the list as short as possible, with no more than 10 tasks and no more than 2 sentences per task.
For example, you may write:
- Engage with customers in a positive way
- Learn the menu, and be able to make suggestions to customers
- Take accurate food and drink orders from customers
- Use order slips or computer to transmit the orders to the kitchen
- Deliver food to the tables
- Make sure that customers are enjoying their meals and that their needs are being met
- Prepare checks, deliver bills to customers, and collect payments
Depending on your business model, you may also require your servers to help with food preparation, seat customers, or even bus tables. Be sure to include these duties as part of the job description.
Determine What Skills Are Necessary for the Job
In addition to job duties, you will want to list the basic skills and competencies that the ideal candidate must have to be successful at the job. For this step, you may want to focus on personality traits, rather than specific skills that can be learned relatively quickly (like entering orders into a point of sale system).
For example, you may write that you are seeking a server who:
- Has a positive attitude and an ability to work well under pressure
- Can multi-task in a fast-paced environment
- Is friendly and able to get along with a range of people, from customers and colleagues to vendors
- Able to work independently
- Capable of handling money accurately
- Able to respond with grace in demanding situations
- Has prior experience as a restaurant server
- Has a food handlers’ license
A word of caution: when listing experience requirements, be sure to avoid capping the amount of experience that a server may have, which may be viewed as age discrimination. Instead of writing something like “3 to 5 years of experience serving, but no more than 5,” you could write, “3+ years of experience.”
A good job description will typically include who the candidate will report to and work with if hired. While this may seem obvious in a restaurant, you may choose to include to note that the server will work under the direction of the manager, and will work closely with fellow servers, the host/hostess, bussers, and the kitchen staff.
Typically, restaurant servers are paid at an hourly rate, so you won’t need to specify a salary rate. However, you may choose to list the hourly wage, particularly if it is above average for the area. This may attract better, more qualified candidates who will be a great fit for your restaurant.
It can be tempting to simply dash off a server job description without putting much thought into it. Keep in mind that your front-of-house employees are the face of your business. Putting some time into crafting a well-written, eye-catching job description can help you hire a server who helps your business soar.
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Being a restaurant owner can be challenging in the best of times. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it may seem impossible to stay profitable through shut-down orders and virus surges. Whether you are focusing on food delivery or finding creative ways to continue to serve customers in-person, we are here to help.
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