Alternative titles for this job include Waitress, waiting staff, server

Waiters serve food and drinks to customers in restaurants and cafes, take orders and handle payments.

Average salary (a year)

£12,000 Starter


£22,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

39 to 41 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends / bank holidays on shifts

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become a waiter

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • volunteering
  • applying directly


You could prepare for this job by doing a college course to get some of the skills you'll need. Courses include:

  • Level 1 Award in Introduction to Employment in the Hospitality Industry
  • Level 1 Certificate in Food and Beverage Service
  • Level 2 Diploma in Professional Food and Beverage Service

Entry requirements

You may need:

  • 2 or fewer GCSEs at grades 3 to 1 (D to G), or equivalent, for a level 1 course
  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course

More Information


You could get into this job through a hospitality team member intermediate apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship

More Information


You could volunteer in a cafe run by a local community organisation or a charity like the Royal Voluntary Service. This will help you to develop your skills before you apply for paid work.

You can find more volunteering opportunities through Do It.

Direct Application

You can apply for jobs without experience, though you'll have an advantage if you've worked in customer service before. Your employer will train you on the job.

More Information

Further information

You can get more details about working as a waiter from the Hospitality Guild.

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • customer service skills
  • the ability to work well with others
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • a desire to help people
  • active listening skills
  • a good memory
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

In this role you could:

  • greet customers as they arrive and show them to their table
  • give out menus and take orders for food and drinks
  • answer questions about menu items and give advice on ingredients
  • take food orders to kitchen staff
  • serve food and drinks
  • make sure customers are happy with their meals and handle any complaints
  • clear away used dishes and cutlery from tables
  • deal with bill payments
  • make sure tables are clean and tidy for the next customers

Working environment

You could work at a restaurant.

Your working environment may be hot, humid and noisy.

You may need to wear a uniform.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

You could specialise in fine dining and silver service waiting at formal events like weddings and banquets.

With experience you may be able to progress to head waiter or restaurant supervisor.

You may also be able to go into related areas of work like restaurant and kitchen management or stock purchasing.

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Hospitality Team Member Apprentice

  • Wage: £10,140.00 Annually
  • Location: Leeds

Front Of House Apprentice

  • Wage: £11,700.00 Annually
  • Location: ROYSTON

Courses In England

An Introduction to Hospitality, Cabin Crew & Customer Service Industries

  • Start date: 04 September 2023
  • Location: Waterlooville

Diploma in Professional Food and Beverage Skills

  • Start date: 11 September 2023
  • Location: PLYMOUTH

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