Find your next favorite book

Become a member today and read free for 30 days
The Waiter & Waitress and Waitstaff Training Handbook: A Complete Guide to the Proper Steps in Service for Food & Beverage Employees Revised 2nd Edition

The Waiter & Waitress and Waitstaff Training Handbook: A Complete Guide to the Proper Steps in Service for Food & Beverage Employees Revised 2nd Edition

Read preview

The Waiter & Waitress and Waitstaff Training Handbook: A Complete Guide to the Proper Steps in Service for Food & Beverage Employees Revised 2nd Edition

4.5/5 (2 ratings)
386 pages
2 hours
May 25, 2017


Packed with new information, the revised edition of this best selling manual was designed for use by all food service serving staff members. The guide covers all aspect of customer service for the positions of host, waiter or waitress, head waiter, captain, and bus person. Step-by-step instructions cover hosting, seating guests, taking/filling orders, loading/unloading trays, table side service, setting an elegant table, folding napkins, promoting specials, upselling, handling problems, difficult customers, tips and taxes, and handling the check and money.

May 25, 2017

About the author

Atlantic Publishing is a small, independent publishing company based in Ocala, Florida. Founded over twenty years ago in the company president’s garage, Atlantic Publishing has grown to become a renowned resource for non-fiction books. Today, over 450 titles are in print covering subjects such as small business, healthy living, management, finance, careers, and real estate. Atlantic Publishing prides itself on producing award winning, high-quality manuals that give readers up-to-date, pertinent information, real-world examples, and case studies with expert advice. Every book has resources, contact information, and web sites of the products or companies discussed

Related to The Waiter & Waitress and Waitstaff Training Handbook

Related Books

Related Articles

Book Preview

The Waiter & Waitress and Waitstaff Training Handbook - Lora Arduser


Copyright © 2017 Atlantic Publishing Group, Inc.

1405 SW 6th Avenue • Ocala, Florida 34471 • Phone 800-814-1132 • Fax 352-622-1875

Website: • Email:

SAN Number: 268-1250

No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, scanning, or otherwise, except as permitted under Section 107 or 108 of the 1976 United States Copyright Act, without the prior written permission of the Publisher. Requests to the Publisher for permission should be sent to Atlantic Publishing Group, Inc., 1405 SW 6th Avenue, Ocala, Florida 34471.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Arduser, Lora.

The waiter & waitress and waitstaff training handbook : a complete guide to the proper steps in service for food & beverage employees. — Revised 2nd edition.

pages cm

Includes bibliographical references and index.

ISBN 978-1-62023-056-5 (alk. paper) — ISBN 1-62023-056-9 (alk. paper) 1. Table service — Handbooks, manuals, etc. 2. Waiters — In-service training — Handbooks, manuals, etc. 3. Waitresses — In-service training — Handbooks, manuals, etc. I. Brown, Douglas Robert, 1960- II. Title. III. Title: Waiter and waitress and waitstaff training handbook.

TX925.A72 2015



LIMIT OF LIABILITY/DISCLAIMER OF WARRANTY: The publisher and the author make no representations or warranties with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the contents of this work and specifically disclaim all warranties, including without limitation warranties of fitness for a particular purpose. No warranty may be created or extended by sales or promotional materials. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for every situation. This work is sold with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional services. If professional assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. Neither the publisher nor the author shall be liable for damages arising herefrom. The fact that an organization or Web site is referred to in this work as a citation and/or a potential source of further information does not mean that the author or the publisher endorses the information the organization or Web site may provide or recommendations it may make. Further, readers should be aware that Internet Web sites listed in this work may have changed or disappeared between when this work was written and when it is read.

TRADEMARK DISCLAIMER: All trademarks, trade names, or logos mentioned or used are the property of their respective owners and are used only to directly describe the products being provided. Every effort has been made to properly capitalize, punctuate, identify, and attribute trademarks and trade names to their respective owners, including the use of ® and ™ wherever possible and practical. Atlantic Publishing Group, Inc. is not a partner, affiliate, or licensee with the holders of said trademarks.

Printed in the United States



Table of Contents


Chapter 1: The Serving Staff

How to Hire a Good Service Staff

What Makes a Good Server?

Job Lists

Server Job List

Chapter 2: Types of Service and Table Settings

Types of Restaurants

Chapter 3: Hosting

Duties of the Restaurant Host/Hostess

Inspecting the Dining Room

Providing Excellent Service

Supervising the Service

The Nature of Host Work

Performing Clerical Work

Making Arrangements for Special Parties

Serving Special Parties

Receiving Customers

Chapter 4: Table Service

American Service

French Service

English Service

Russian Service

Buffet Service


Left or Right?

Table Side Service

Table Settings

Setting the Table

General Rules for Table Service

Setting an Elegant Table

Folding Napkins


Chapter 5: Taking Orders

Giving and Collecting Orders

Approaching the Table

Giving a Friendly Greeting

Giving Prompt Attention

Taking a Drink Order

Serving the Drinks

Explaining the Menu

Taking the Food Order

Delivering the Food

Checking Back


Presenting the Check

Clearing the Table

Serving Multiple Tables

Tips for Serving Customers

Chapter 6: Carrying Trays

Food Trays

Loading Trays

Cocktail Trays

Arm Service


Chapter 7: Suggestions and Suggestive Selling

Suggesting Selections to the Customer

Making Substitutions

Purposes of Suggestive Selling

Suggesting Additional Items

Suggesting Higher-Priced Items

Value-Added Service

Chapter 8: Take Care of the Kids

Speedy Service

Kid-Friendly Menus

Healthy Choices

Kids’ Specials

Kid-Friendly Cups

Games and Play Spaces

Talk to the Kids


Keep an Eye out for Messes

Changing Stations

Step Stools

Chapter 9: Server Side-Work Duties

Setting Up Coffee Service

Setting Up Bread Baskets

Handling Customer Complaints

Dealing with Difficult Customers

Remember These Golden Rules

Chapter 10: Menu Knowledge

Cooking Terms and Methods on Preparation

Chapter 11: Restaurant Technology

New Technology

Electronic Ordering

Handling Money

Writing Orders

Presenting the Check


Guest Tickets and the Cashier

Getting Orders to the Kitchen

Chapter 12: Tipped Employees

The Tip Rate Determination and Education Program

Additional Information on Tip-Reporting

Employee Tip-Reporting Frequently Asked Questions

Tips-Reporting Policies

Chapter 13: Beverage Service

Alcohol Sales Policies

Alcohol Safety

Chapter 14: Bussing

Chapter 15: Sanitation and Safety

Red Cross

Fire department


Preventing Accidents


Slipping and Falling



Exposure to Hazardous Chemicals

How to Read the MSDS

What is HACCP?

Avoid Bacterial Cross-Contamination

Online Information Resources

Bacteria Primer

Dangerous Forms of Bacteria

Controlling Bacteria




In many countries, waiting on tables is considered an honorable profession and a respectable way to earn a living. There are even schools to educate people on how to become professional servers. This is not the case in the United States. When interviewing servers to join your team, you will most likely see students, working parents, or people looking for part-time or in-between employment. And since most of these servers skipped the fancy European waiter universities, you will need to invest in training and education in order to reduce turnover and increase productivity.

Technology is important in training, but getting through to your employees is even more important. Of course, the different types of food service affects the duties assigned to waiters, but certain fundamental duties are common in all food operations.

Fast Fact

In America, one in three people found their first job in a restaurant.¹

The precise dining room procedures may differ somewhat between one food service unit and another. A waitperson’s efficiency is measured by the carefulness and completeness with which his or her duties are performed — before the meal service, before the customer’s order is taken, after the meal service, and after the customer has left the table.

Numerous industry surveys show that waitstaff service is often the primary factor in a customer’s decision to return to the restaurant or go to a competitor instead. Offering great food is not enough to stay competitive. It is up to you, the manager, to train, motivate, and supervise the staff to ensure that customers return and spread the word about your establishment.

This newly revised and updated training handbook was designed for all food service serving staff members. It covers every aspect of restaurant customer service from hosts and head waiters to waitresses and wine stewards. The detailed performance of each position is described for different types of establishments and service — including French, American, English, Russian, Family-Style, and Banquet. It also provides step-by-step instructions on subjects like hosting, seating guests, table-side service, service techniques, getting customers to order quickly, handling problems, promoting specials, food safety, and much more.

1. The National Restaurant Organization, 2016

Chapter 1

The Serving Staff

How to Hire a Good Service Staff

The key to hiring good, competent employees is to put aside personal prejudices and select applicants only because you feel they will have a better chance of being successful at the job. Some applicants may have excellent experience but be sorry workers, and sometimes a fantastic employee will come to you without any prior server experience at all. You have to make a judgment call. Reviewing and choosing potential restaurant employees not an easy task, but this section is here to provide you with the information necessary to discover the perfect candidate.

What Makes a Good Server?

Servers are essentially the internal marketing tools of your restaurant’s brand. They are the link between your customers and sales, so you want a server who is going to be successful at marketing both the menu and the establishment to your guests.

Fast Fact

More than half of all adults have worked in the food industry at some point in their lives.²

Obviously, knowledge and experience make a person a good server, but what character traits should you look for? If you want an employee that shines, here are some qualities to look out for:

Effective communicator

One of a server’s main jobs is to communicate with customers and the rest of the staff. Servers should be able to verbally communicate with a wide range of personalities — anywhere from overwhelmed chefs to moody customers. This communication extends to facial expressions and body language as well. For example, if a server is scowling at a guest, he or she is communicating negative emotions, and the customer may feel unwanted. On the other hand, a natural smile implies that the customer is welcome.

High energy

Restaurant serving is a tough job that requires long hours of walking and talking without a minute’s rest. Servers need to be able to maintain a high level of positive energy throughout their shift.


Servers should be flexible and able to deal with sudden, unexpected rushes that require them to extend their shift. They also need to be flexible and tolerant in dealing with the public.

Can handle stress

The restaurant world is an extremely stressful one. A 2016 study out of Southern Medical University in Guangzhou, China, found that restaurant servers often endure more stress than neurosurgeons. Servers have to deal with physical and mental strain on a daily basis, which can take the form of annoying customers, a thankless kitchen crew, another server that won’t pull his or her own weight, or simply dealing with the challenges of a full restaurant. Coupled with the burden of low wages, this is not an environment for the faint of heart.


Restaurants are like battleships. They require a good deal of teamwork, compliance, and vigilance. Therefore, all servers should be willing to pitch in and help whenever they can. For example, a good server will help the salad person when he or she is backed up; a less than ideal server will stand and think, Eh . . . not my job.


Servers should be polite and courteous with their managers, guests, and fellow employees. Workers are more efficient when they aren’t irritated with each other, and customers are more likely to return if they are treated with respect.

Desire to please others

The job of server is aptly named. A person working in such a position should get satisfaction from pleasing other people. A server must be able to put his or her ego in check for the good of the customer (and for the good of the tip).


Good servers can read a customer quickly to see if they want to be alone or are interested in chatting. This ability to feel and reflect another person’s mood is helpful for setting the right tone for a guest. If a solitary diner is reading, the server shouldn’t assume the person is lonely. If the guest encourages conversation, that’s fine. Otherwise, he or she may simply be interested in the book they’ve brought along!

Neat appearance

Servers need to be neat and clean. Your server indicates to your guest how clean and organized your facility is. If the server runs up to the table frantically searching for a pen, wearing a dirty apron and shirt, the customer is going to feel that this reflects how much you care about the rest of your operation.

Job Lists

Before you can teach someone a job, you must be able to break that job down into discrete steps. A job list is a list of all the duties a person in a particular position must perform. These lists can help managers in hiring, training, and evaluating employees.

To develop these lists, you should break all jobs down into broad categories, such as customer service, opening duties, and kitchen duties. Then you should group tasks associated with the job under these categories. Think about every single thing you can that is associated with a particular job function when developing these lists. Remember, for someone who has never preformed the job before, no task is too small to mention. You might consider having an employee or employees help you with these lists or you might want to trail an employee while creating the lists yourself.

You’ll need to make a determination of how detailed you want these lists to be. Taking an order may be too general of a term to use for your training list. For example, you may need to break this task down into several stages. How detailed your lists are partially depends on your establishment. If you have an extremely varied menu, your cook’s job list may be very detailed and extensive, for example.

Fast Fact

Jobs change over the course of time — make sure your job lists change as well!

For training purposes, you can make these lists checklists, putting a blank before each task so you can check it off as the employee masters that particular skill. These duties should be listed as specifically as possible so there is no confusion about the actual duties you want employees to perform.

A sample server and busser job checklist follows.

You've reached the end of this preview. Sign up to read more!
Page 1 of 1


What people think about The Waiter & Waitress and Waitstaff Training Handbook

2 ratings / 0 Reviews
What did you think?
Rating: 0 out of 5 stars

Reader reviews