Being a waiter or waitress is one of those jobs that a lot of people either consider taking on or actually end up doing during their lives.
One of the reasons for this is that it's often an entry-level position that doesn't always require you to have had prior experience. However, as with any type of job, if you can show you have some previous experience, you could well be more likely to get a job.
Another reason that waiting is something a lot of people consider doing is that there are a lot of places that employ these kind of staff, and it's a very visible sort of position.
Even people who have never worked in hospitality jobs, or who have never been in a professional kitchen, will have eaten in restaurants and feel they have some idea of what the waiting staff's job involves, even if they don't see every aspect of it.
As always, it's a good idea to ask people you know who are in this sort of work what it's really like and read some job listings to get a deeper insight into what the role usually involves if you think it might be a job option for you.
But what kind of attributes does a good member of waiting staff possess?
Here are just a few of the basics.
This is one of the biggies, of course. You'll be dealing with the public – not only when they're happy, but sometimes when they have a complaint to make. You'll ideally need to be the sort of person who enjoys meeting people you don't know and is good at being super polite, no matter what.
It's not good enough to simply serve food efficiently, if you're doing your job well you should be able to build just the right level of rapport with customers -friendly, but also with an instinct of when they want to be left alone!
Not easily flustered
What's sometimes hard to appreciate when you're sat, relaxed in a restaurant, and being served your food, is that the member of staff looking after you may well have many other tables to deal with at the same time.
Being organised and having the ability to keep an appearance of complete calm when things become busy and you have a lot of tasks to do at once are both very important attributes for waiters or waitresses.
Remember, just when you're on the way to do one thing, a customer may suddenly ask you to do something else. It's all about keeping in mind all the things you need to do and carrying them out efficiently.
Like or love restaurants
If you love the catering and restaurant trade, this is a good start if you want to wait. You'll be in a restaurant environment throughout your working day – and this could help teach you about how the trade works, which may be beneficial for those looking to move into the kitchen later in their careers and become a chef, for example.
In any public facing role, it pays to be presentable. Nails that aren't neat and unkempt hair could well see you rejected at interview stage and most certainly won't be accepted on the restaurant floor. You should know how to keep your appearance at its best, even if in your downtime you prefer to forget about such things.
Berkeley Scott provides specialist advice and support to help you find hospitality jobs