How to Become a Restaurant Server?

Are you thinking of becoming a Restaurant Server or already started your career and planning the next step? Learn how to become a Restaurant Server, what skills you need to succeed, how to advance your career and get promoted, and what levels of pay to expect at each step on your career path. Explore new Restaurant Server job openings and options for career transitions into related roles.
"Server" was the nearest match for you query "Restaurant Server".

Steps to Become a Server

Before pursuing a career as a server, make sure you're ready for a job in the foodservice industry. A restaurant is a fast-paced workplace, and you have to be prepared for anything. Keep in mind that servers are the point people between a restaurant kitchen and diners. If something goes wrong in the kitchen or a diner is displeased with their order, you'll be the one to hear about it, and the diner will expect you to resolve the issue. Make sure you're ready to handle stressful situations, as well as being on your feet all day. Then, prepare to take the following steps on your path to becoming a server.

Apply for an entry-level restaurant position.

If you don't have previous experience in a restaurant, you'll need to apply for an entry-level position, such as a dishwasher, busser, or barback. These positions will give you a chance to acclimate to working in a restaurant, and you can observe the servers and familiarize yourself with the establishment's processes. Plus, you can show management why you're an excellent candidate, should a server position open up. Never hesitate to pitch in when assistance is needed.


Consider pursuing a degree.

While servers aren't required to have any formal training outside of the workplace, a degree in foodservice management can help you advance in the industry. It isn't uncommon for a server with the proper education to become a food and beverage manager, kitchen manager, or assistant manager. If you have an interest in eventually working in the kitchen, consider enrolling in a culinary school.

What type of degree should you pursue to become a Server?

98% of people working as a Server earned a Bachelor's Degree

What skills do you need to be a Server?

  • VERBAL Communication
  • Writing
  • Excellent Communication
  • Modifications
  • Requests
  • English Language
  • Excellent Customer Service
  • Positive Attitude
Based on resume data from Glassdoor users who reported working as a Server in the United States.

Start applying for open server positions.

Once you have some restaurant experience under your belt, it's time to start applying for open server jobs, either at your current place of employment or with another restaurant. Depending on the restaurant, when you become a server, the establishment will typically place you on a probationary period to ensure that you're a good fit for the position. During this period, you'll train with a veteran server who will observe how you interact with customers and how well you know the menu. Once you pass probation, you will become a full-fledged server.


Continue to develop your career.

After gaining experience as a server, there are several ways to advance your career within the server position, especially if you work in a fine dining establishment. You can work your way up to head waiter or dining room supervisor. Some fine dining establishments even have their own customer service classes where trainees can learn skills in a classroom setting before going on to work with actual customers. Veteran servers often teach these classes, sharing best practices and tips they've learned from years in the industry. Always keep an eye out for opportunities to advance.

Restaurant Server Career Path


8+Years of Experience
$43K - $78K /yrMost Likely Range
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Senior Server

2 - 4Years of Experience
$49K - $88K /yrMost Likely Range
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Lead Server

5 - 7Years of Experience
$44K - $77K /yrMost Likely Range
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Total Pay Trajectory

Restaurant Server Career Path

Server I
Assistant Manager of Food Service
Senior Server
Server Manager
Lead Server
Server V
Director of Food Service
Senior Director of Food Service
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Related Careers in the Retail & Food Services Industry

Interested in other Retail & Food Services careers? Below are occupations that have high affinity with Restaurant Server skills. Discover some of the most common Restaurant Server career transitions, along with skills overlap.

Catering Coordinator
25% skills overlap
7% transitioned to Catering Coordinator