The job description for a hotel waitress

Updated February 21, 2017

A hotel waitress /waiter, may work hotel, motel, inn or resort dining room. Although hotel waitresses have common functions across the board, duties vary depending on the type of establishment. According to the government of Michigan, generally food and beverage servers make minimum wage but their tips end up being several times more than this. The University of Missouri-St. Louis adds that often waitresses working for large hotels belong to unions, including the Hotel and Restaurant Employees International Union, which could account for higher wages.

Training and Requirements

For some hotel dining rooms, no experience is required. In fact, certain establishments prefer no previous experience so that they can train waitresses to meet their dining room’s style. Other busy or fine dining establishments prefer previous experience with handling table sections and wine service. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, many employers prefer hiring waitresses with a high school diploma or those who are of legal age to serve alcohol. The Bureau adds, however, that in 2008, 20 per cent of food and beverage servers were between the ages of 16 and 19. On the job training consists of learning safe food handling, the hotel’s specific service requirements and the use of an electronic Point of Sales system.

Customer Service

Hotel waitresses often are the face of the dining room and are responsible for providing a customer-friendly first impression. In hotel establishments, guests will choose to revisit the dining room if they are provided with quality service. Waitresses greet customers at the door, escort them to a table, explain the menu, take orders and deliver food and beverages in a timely manner. In an upscale dining room, formal service is required which includes anticipating guests’ needs before they are asked, presenting food and service in a non-rushed manner and clearing and replacing glassware and utensils according to a specific regime.

Food and Wine Knowledge

Before a shift, hotel waitresses may meet with the food and beverage manager or chef to discuss specials of the day and items on the menu. They need to be prepared to describe dishes and answer any questions guests may have. They also need to know the ingredients that go into a meal in case patrons have food allergies. In formal hotel dining rooms, waitresses must have knowledge of the wines the establishment serves and which pair well with certain dishes

Physical Requirements

Waitressing can be physically demanding as servers spend most of the time on their feet. They also do a lot of lifting of heavy trays filled with dishes and drinks. Multitasking is a major part of the job as often table seatings are staggered and waitresses have to keep track of what stage each table is at.


Although larger dining rooms usually have bussers, in smaller establishments hotel waitresses usually need to clean and reset the tables in their sections. Even in larger hotels, however, usually waitresses are responsible for some dining room or kitchen cleaning duties before or after their shift.


Hotel waitresses need to prepare itemised bills, receive payment and make change.

Room Service

Many hotel dining rooms provide room service. It often falls on the hotel waitress to set up the room service trays, deliver them and receive payment or a signature from guests.

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About the Author

Michelle Brunet has published articles in newspapers and magazines such as "The Coast," "Our Children," "Arts East," "Halifax Magazine" and "Atlantic Books Today." She earned a Bachelor of Science in environmental studies from Saint Mary's University and a Bachelor of Education from Lakehead University.