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The Career Path of a Waiter/Waitress: An Exciting Journey

by | CAREER TIPS

Everybody has to start somewhere in their professional life. Whether it be taking tickets and selling popcorn at a cinema or handing out flyers in the street, a first job can seem like nothing more than a temporary solution to your money problems.

A common first job for many young people, no matter which career path they take after, is working in front of house in a restaurant. Working as a waiter/waitress for a short time will let you develop your customer service, communication, and teamwork skills while you put some cash in your pocket. 

But what most people don’t realize is that this job is actually the first step on an exciting career path in the hospitality industry. 

Every restaurant front of house has a hierarchy to progress through but many people don’t stick around long enough to earn the first promotion. If you do stay with it, you could go from waiting tables and taking orders to creating schedules and managing budgets in just a few short years.

The Three Level Career Path for a Waiter/Waitress

The career path for a waiter/waitress is divided into three distinct levels: junior, mid, and senior.

The salaries for each level of the career path will vary depending on where you work, your experience level, and what type of restaurant you work in.

Junior Level (Average salary: €10,000 – €25,000)

The junior level includes all of the roles in the front of house at a restaurant, from host, to busser, to the waitstaff. This level is crucial as it allows you to become familiar with the F&B industry and how a restaurant operates. 

The skills that will help you succeed at the junior level are strong customer service and interpersonal communication skills like patience, attention to detail, and teamwork. Physical fitness is also important as waiters/waitresses work long shifts, constantly moving around a dining room without much time to rest. 

Mid Level (Average Salary: €15,000 – €30,000)

After one to three years at junior, you will progress to this level if you can master what it takes to be a top waiter by providing excellent customer service and proving you have the potential to be a good leader. 

The main job title in this level of the career path is head waiter/waitress. To excel in this role, you must continue to provide excellent service to the guests while also supervising their fellow waitstaff. In addition to all of the skills needed for the junior level, a head waiter/waitress must be able to make quick decisions with confidence, multitask, and delegate duties to the rest of the FOH (front of house) team.

Senior Level (Average Salary: €30,000 – €90,000)

After two to three years working in a mid-level role, an excellent head waiter/waitress with strong leadership skills will be ready to move up the career ladder to a senior level position.

Senior level restaurant jobs are supervisory roles like front of house supervisor, assistant manager, or general manager. These positions have much less contact with customers and require a different set of skills than the service oriented ones needed as a waiter or waitress. However, these skills can be developed as you move forward on your front of house career path from junior to senior level.

Restaurant managers need hard organizational skills as they are in charge of hiring for front of house, creating schedules, and managing budgets, just to name a few. They have to supervise staff as well as meet with ownership to discuss ways to increase profits. A top restaurant manager must be a strong leader, a great communicator, and a problem solver.

Ready to Take The First Step in Your Hospitality Career Path?

As you can see, with some determination and the right set of skills, the career path of a waiter/waitress can take you from an entry level job to a lucrative management position in the same amount of time it takes to get a university degree.  

If you think the waiter/waitress career path is right for you, get a head start by taking online courses with Hosco to develop your skills and help land your next hospitality job.

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