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 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 do the Hospitality Team Member Level 2 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 to develop your skills. 

You can also find more volunteering opportunities through Do IT.

Direct Application

You can apply for waiter jobs without experience as you'll get training on the job. 

You might have an advantage if you've worked in customer service before. 

More Information

Further information

You can find out more about working in hospitality from Careerscope.

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

As a waiter you could:

  • greet customers, give out menus and take food and drink orders
  • answer questions about the menu and give advice on ingredients
  • serve food and drinks, handle bill payments and clean tables
  • handle any complaints and make sure customers are happy

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

With experience you could:

  • specialise in fine dining at formal events like wedding and banquets
  • progress to head waiter, restaurant supervisor or restaurant manager
  • move into 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: £9,984 a year Annually

Apprentice Kitchen Porter

  • Wage: £11,648 a year Annually

Courses In England

Diploma in Food and Beverage Service Supervision

  • Start date: 01 September 2024
  • Location: NUNEATON

Food and Beverage Level 2

  • Start date: 09 September 2024
  • Location: Consett

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