Head waitresses are employed in a range of eating establishments and oversee the work of other serving staff. They serve customers, lead customers to tables and delegate tasks to junior staff members. Some head waitresses help create menus and plan banquets. Many head waitresses are promoted to the position after working as servers.
No formal education is required to become a head waitress. Many gain experience beforehand by working in a serving position. Although many waitresses have some post-secondary education, those who have a limited education can still be promoted.
A head waitress should have good leadership qualities, as she is responsible for supervising a team of waiters and waitresses. The ability to multitask is especially useful when dealing with numerous customers and orders at one time. Personal cleanliness and awareness of health safety issues are important among all food workers. Those employed in a customer-facing role should have a neat appearance, work well with others and have a helpful, professional manner.
The responsibilities of a head waitress can vary between establishments. The head waitress is often responsible for training new employees, making reservations and handling complaints regarding service or food. Although supervising other workers, head waitresses also serve customers and escort customers to their tables.
Head waitresses spend much of the day working on their feet. The role at times can be stressful, particularly if dealing with an irate customer. While part-time workers do not receive benefits, full-time waitresses often do. Many waitresses receive meals in addition to their wages, but employers may deduct meals from their salaries.
The salary of a head waitress varies widely, depending on the size of the establishment. For example, those working in an exclusive city restaurant will earn considerably more than those working in a small cafe. According to the National Careers Service, the average annual wage of a serving supervisor in November 2013 was £18,500. Senior waiting staff can earn up to £20,000 a year plus tips and perks.