Competition is tough for upscale server and bartender positions because employees at more expensive restaurants stand to earn more in tips. Studies by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) suggest tips usually average between 10 and 20 per cent of a guest's total bill. Larger tabs mean larger tips. Since jobs at upscale establishments are so desirable, successful candidates tend to have more education and experience.
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Upscale servers and bartenders perform most of the same duties as their casual counterparts. Basically, bartenders prepare cocktails and other drinks while keeping the bar area stocked. Servers take orders and hand out beverages and food items. What distinguishes upscale workers is their level of service. Upscale restaurant patrons require attentive service and care about proper protocol. Not only must a server get the job done, she needs to approach guests on the correct side, take away only the appropriate silverware and do it quickly.
Nationwide, projections by the BLS show bartender jobs increasing 7 to 13 per cent between 2008 and 2018. This growth rate is on par with other occupations. Projections show the number of server positions increasing 3 to 6 per cent during the same time.
Although creation of new jobs is not happening at an accelerated rate, job prospects are still good. People in these positions change jobs frequently, creating openings for newcomers. However, the higher earning potential available at upscale establishments means stiffer competition for open positions.
According to the BLS, the median hourly wage for servers, including tips, was about £5 in 2008. The top 10 per cent of earners in the field took home at least £9.40 every hour on the job. Basic salaries for servers and bartenders do not vary greatly. Wage gaps occur due to tip income. It's likely the report's top earners worked at extremely busy or upscale restaurants.
According to the BLS, the median hourly wage for a bartender in 2008 was about £5.50, including tips. The top 10 per cent of earners in this field took home nearly £9 an hour, according to the study.
Most server and bartender positions require a high school education or less. However, workers usually need vocational training and relevant experience to earn an upscale position. Culinary schools and community colleges offer the appropriate classes.
Superior customer service skills and a neat appearance are necessary. Upscale businesses generally enforce strict dress codes prohibiting outrageous hairstyles, heavy make-up, excessive jewellery and visible tattoos. Foreign language skills are useful if you wish to work somewhere that serves foreign cuisine.
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