The job of a food server is quite demanding and stressful, you get to stand for hours waiting for customers, attending to them, taking their orders, and serving them. It requires a high level of patience to be a waiter because customers can get on your nerves sometimes, but you have to keep your cool and handle the situation calmly.
As a waiter or waitress, your main aim is to render excellent services to the customers irrespective of class, status, or background. You are expected to treat all customers with respect and make sure your appearance speaks volumes about you and the fast-food restaurant you represent.
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What Are Waiter or Waitress Skills?
These are necessary skills for someone working in a fast-food restaurant to enable him or her to carry out specific duties within the working environment. These skills can either be soft skills or hard skills, soft skills like customer service and communication are required if you want to succeed at your workplace. Also, hard skills like handling money, the operating point of sale system, safe food handling procedures, calculating change, and many others are required.
Food Servers Skills.
There are relevant skills a food server must possess, among which the following are among
Knowing fully well that the job of a food server is quite demanding, as a waiter or waitress you must have energy towards work because laziness is not an option and sluggishness would not be accepted.
Your job may require long shifts and it will also require you to stand throughout your shift, that is why you should have a large energy reserve or the long shifts will drain you completely.
Energy skills are further subdivided into the following;
- Physical Endurance: This requires you to adapt to your working environment and the working conditions of the workplace, your ability to persevere the pressure that comes with working in a fast-food restaurant gives you an advantage. Experience is also helpful in this kind of work, with experience you must have been exposed to all areas of the work and it makes you psychologically prepared.
- Motivation: This is what keeps you going at work, it is a drive that pushes you to achieve your daily task. Without a motivating factor, the job may be tiresome and boring. Some motivating factors are personal goals, financial benefits, good working conditions, etc.
- Resilience: As a worker in a fast-food restaurant, resilience is key to your success. You must have a strong will to fight through difficult situations. Challenges will come but you must be strong emotionally to withstand them.
- Flexibility: As a server, you must adapt to changes in the work environment. You must be ready to adapt to time changes and you should be willing to participate in job rotation. Being flexible is your acceptance to learn new skills and gain new experience on the job. As a food server, being static and rigid is never an option for you because change is constant and you must move with the change.
- Confidence: A food server must be composed when carrying out his or her duties. You cannot be less confident and dispatch your duties well, you should be bold and outspoken when attending to customers.
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The first point of call in the fast-food work environment is communication, it is the ability to relate with customers on a formal note and it is a means of establishing a working relationship with customers.
Communication can occur in either a positive way or a negative way. Positive communication is when you relate and talk to customers with respect. The negative aspect of communication is when you make use of abusive words or words that will make the customers feel insulted, when you engage in such activities you are liable to be punished. Here are basic skills under communication;
- Active Listening: You must pay rapt attention to what the customers have to say, take their orders, and their preferences. Talking while they are talking is not a good representation of you, they take note of what you do and if you continue this way there is a tendency they will stop coming. Make valid suggestions to them when they are confused about the menu in a calm and friendly manner.
- Verbal Communication: To relate well with customers and colleagues alike, you must possess strong verbal communication skills, so that when you talk people listen to you and not the other way round.
- Note Taking: You must take notes when customers are making orders so as not to get confused along the line. You may be at the services of many tables at a time and each table gives its orders, the only way not to forget and mix up the whole thing is for you to take notes.
- Teamwork: This is a key to success at work, only you can not do the work alone, partner with others to make your work easier. Team spirit should be your driving force, you must hold up for others when they are not around and help out anywhere work is lacking to ensure efficiency and effectiveness in the work process.
- Memory: As a food server you should have a long memory and you shouldn’t be prone to forgetting things easily. A high level of concentration is needed to achieve long memory, you should not be a person that is distracted by little happenings around you. So long you are in the work environment, forget everything outside at that moment and concentrate on your job
3. Problem Solving:
This is part of the responsibility of a food server and good communication skills are necessary for this job. At some point, you will have to make certain decisions on your own, and such decisions should move the organization forward and solve problems within the working environment. You should have a good sense of judgment in whatever situation you find yourself in. Decision-Making skills are as follows;
- Problem Sensitivity: As a food server, you should be able to foresee danger and avoid it by all means. The ability for you to avoid danger is a key to avoiding problems that will occur in the future.
- Proactive: You should have the ability to respond quickly to the sudden occurrence of events. Quick responses avoid the great problem and save the organization from unforeseen danger.
- Logical Thinking: Thinking logically is a good skill and as such you must possess it. This requires you to think deeply and deeply at the same time, to solve issues about work.
- Integrity: As a food server, you should hold in high esteem the value of your workplace, and make sure your reputation as well as that of the fast-food you work for is not tempered.
4. Food Safety:
As a food server, you are responsible for the health of the customer within the workplace. Food safety skills are as follows;
- Safe food handling procedures:You are expected to demonstrate your knowledge of food safety by being committed to customers’ health and well-being. This can be achieved by making sure food passes through the necessary procedure before it is sold out, for people to consume.
- Proper Hygiene: Personal hygiene, as well as workplace hygiene, should be taken into cognizance and applied in the working environment. Personal hygiene is very important if you are a food server because customers need to appreciate or accept your appearance first before what you offer, which is the services you render.
- Cleaning and Sanitation Procedures: The working environment needs to be kept clean and as a food server you are responsible for that. This skill you must possess is to be clean.
- Careful Interaction With Food And Cooking Utensils: Being careful with food and cooking utensils should be a part of a food server, you should be careful so that the food is contaminated by any means.
- Commitment To Customer’s Health and well being: As a waiter or waitress, your primary duty is to the well-being of your customers and to ensure the safety of their health.
6. Social Perceptiveness:
A food server must take note of what happens within and around the workplace. This involves being aware of people’s reactions and understanding why they read the way they did. It involves the following;
- Ability to assess their reactions after every meal: You should be sensitive enough to know how they feel after every meal. Watching their facial expressions and the way they respond to you is how you find out if they are happy with your services or not.
- Know when customers need your attention: You shouldn’t be carried away with work that you wouldn’t be aware of when customers need attention. You should always be ready to serve customers when they need you.
- Ability to gauge customers satisfaction: As a food server, customer satisfaction should be your priority. You should know when the customers are happy and satisfied with the general welfare package of the organization and the service you offered.
7. Management skills:
A good server must have management skills to enable him or carry out management duties efficiently. Here are some management skills you must have as a food server;
- Time management: You must know how to manage your time properly, to meet up with the time you must first be time conscious. Time management is key to delivering tasks efficiently.
- Ability to offer immediate service: Some customers might want a quick service because they are in a hurry, as a food server you must be able to offer such services with high quality.
- Know how long it takes the kitchen to prepare a meal: You should know the time duration it takes for different types of meals, and also be able to communicate with the customers about the time. The reason for this skill is to ensure that customers are updated on time so they would be aware.
- Not many people like to work such shifts, but there are a few of them who would love to work night shifts. the limited time you still deliver quality service.
- Attention to detail: A good food server must pay attention to the slightest details when carrying out his or her duties. Below are some of the skills required;
- Know what your menu entails: At some point, customers might seek your opinion about a particular menu. As a good food server, you should know every detail of the menu to be able to do so. Also at some point even without them asking you should be able to give valid suggestions.
How To Improve Servers Skills
You may have these skills but you may want to improve on them, here are some tips on how to improve your skill.
- Exercise your Memory: A good server must have a good memory and as such, there is a need for improvement.
Whenever you are free at work play memory games, When you are at home play games that will help you enhance your memory. You can also repeat orders back to your customers, and visualize what you are to do. This will go a long way in helping your memory.
- Work on your communication skills: If you want to achieve success as a server you must be an excellent communicator. To achieve this, always have a smile on your face, stay positive and talk to your customers.
- Get to know your customers: Regular customers are often excellent tippers, and the more you know about your customers the more they will appreciate what you do for them. For example, A regular customer comes in at the same time every day and orders the same thing.
- You can have the order ready so they don’t have to wait or have their drink made just the way they like when they walk through the door. Make sure your relationship with them doesn’t go beyond the limit.
In conclusion, working in a restaurant is a great job and an excellent source of income. The list of server skills needed to perform the job is extensive, but once you learn how it is something you can always do, and it is a skill set you can take anywhere, whether it is working at a server in a new city, or using the skills in a different job.