Social types who thrive in fast-paced work environments are well suited for cocktail waitress positions. College students and individuals with multiple jobs may also find this type of work appealing because night shifts are so readily available. Most waitresses and waiters earn minimum wage and supplement their earnings with tips. The gender-neutral term for cocktail waitress is server or, more specifically, cocktail server.
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The basic function of a cocktail waitress is to take drink orders and serve beverages. Additional duties may include cleaning off tables, ringing up totals at the register and checking identification to make sure customers are old enough to drink.
Training and Education
Some states require waitresses and other workers who serve intoxicating beverages to take alcohol awareness classes. Otherwise, no special training is required for entry-level positions. Most employers will consider applicants with a high school education or less. Upscale establishments may put more stringent prerequisites in place. Recruiters for these organisations prefer candidates with previous experience or vocational training.
Any establishment that serves alcohol is a potential employer, including bars, restaurants, dance clubs and casinos. The number of waiter and waitress positions is projected to grow 6 per cent between 2008 and 2018 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Turnover rates for these jobs are generally high, allowing new workers to easily find openings. However, competition is the most severe for positions at upscale establishments because they offer higher tip earning potential. Positions are most plentiful in larger cities and locations frequented by tourists.
Cocktail waitresses spend most of their time on their feet and often need to carry heavy trays filled with drinks. Employees who work in casinos or bars may be exposed to cigarette smoke as well. Casinos and upscale establishments generally require workers to wear uniforms. More casual restaurants and bars may not require special attire. Expect to work irregular hours. Evening and night shifts are the norm. Employers often ask waitresses to work more hours during the peak season and cut hours when business is slow. Most cocktail servers, approximately half according to the BLS, only work part time.
In additional to their regular pay and tips, some servers enjoy free meals as part of their salary, but this is not always the case. According to the BLS, the average waitress made a little over £5 an hour, including tips, in 2008. Workers living in Washington, Massachusetts and Hawaii made the most. Waitresses in these states took in more than £7.90 per hour on average the same year.
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