Give yourself a waiting work-out!

Waiting involves a lot of different skills – but it's actually one of the retail-type jobs that most relies of reasonable coordination and a range of physical abilities.

Whether it's a tray of drinks or several hot plates, you might well find yourself having to take awkward cargo across a busy restaurant environment and set it down with grace.

This sort of thing is something that you'll likely pick up as you go along at work and training could well be provided.

But if you feel like you could do with some extra practice at certain waiting skills, why not give yourself some waiting 'workout' sessions at home?

The tray trail

A member of waiting staff who is serving drinks to a table will likely have to get the knack of carrying a tray with glasses on it across the room.

You can easily recreate the experience at home using a tray similar to those you have at work. Start with one or two plastic cups to avoid the risk of breakages, but aim to use cups that will recreate some of the weight of glass. And be sure to fill them, as the chances are you'll often be serving full glasses.

Take a trip across your kitchen, tray in hand – carrying it in the way your workplace prefers – and try placing each cup onto a surface while keeping those still on the tray in place.

It's not too tough a challenge – after all, thousands of waiting staff do it day in, day out – but it might take some practice.

When you're ready, you might want to move to glasses rather than plastic cups – but be careful as these are obviously that bit more breakable!

Note what the best ways of placing objects on the tray are so that it's easier to carry. You want to create balance, so that your job is no harder than it ought to be.

Plate practice

Plates: You could well have to carry several at once, although it's important not to take on more than is manageable.

You can easily practice plate-handling skills at home, again using less-breakable objects to start with.

Remember that there will be food on the plates you carry at work, meaning you'll need to balance them expertly as you walk. Use some non-breakable objects that replicate the sorts of food you'll have on your plates to practice with.

You'll want to be able to set down and pick up plates in an elegant and unobtrusive way in order to impress diners and not get in the way of their experience – another point that it could be useful to practice.


Being an efficient table-wiper is a waiting must. You want to be able to leave that table surface perfect, without getting debris onto the floor. Use your own table at home as a training ground, sprinkling dry bread crumbs onto the top, and trying to get all of them wiped away without getting dirt onto the floor.


Use other waiting staff to help you in your quest to be as good as possible at your job – do they use techniques you've not been using? Where appropriate, it might be good to work these into the way you do your job.

Berkeley Scott provides specialist advice and support to help you with your career in hospitality.

[Image: Thinkstock.]