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Learning to grow while on the job

9 Skills You Learn As A Restaurant Server That Are Essential For Most Careers

No one can deny that working as a restaurant server is a good way to earn extra money while you’re in college or as a side job. It may not be your life long career but did you know that 9 of the skills that you learn while serving tables are essential for almost any career?

These essential skills are also known as transferrable skills and are skills that employers look for on your resume. If you master these skills, you can become a valuable asset on almost any team in any environment.

Here are the top 9 skills that you can develop to help you move forward in your career and how you can master them in the hospitality industry.

#1 Numeracy

Numeracy is the use and understanding of numbers. It can refer to simple addition and subtraction, estimating numbers, rounding up and down, measurement, analyzing numbers, and budgeting. It may or may not include using a calculator

How It Is Learned In The Hospitality Industry

As a server, you give change and you need to be able to make sure it is accurate. You also need to cash out at night. This entails tipping out your support co-workers (bartenders, dishwashers, kitchen, host/hostesses, etc.) and making sure that you have the correct amounts for your sales.

#2 Oral Communication

Oral communication includes relaying thoughts, ideas, and information through speech. It can mean giving an explanation, instructions, or information.

How It Is Learned In The Hospitality Industry

In your job as a server, you will relay specials to customers, describe menu items, and give them information. You may also need to tell managers about a problem or give other servers information about their tables. If you are unable to communicate effectively, misunderstandings can arise.

#3 Working With Others

The ability to work as part of a team and work with others is essential to almost any job. This can include getting along with people or solving problems or dealing with conflict with other staff, management, and customers.

How It Is Learned In The Hospitality Industry

Servers have to learn to work as a team. Without teamwork, a restaurant does not run well. Cooks, servers, hosts/hostesses, and management all must learn to get along. This means that you need to work well with everyone.

#4 Continuous Learning

As a continuous learner, you must know where to get information and how you learn new information best. You must also be able to recognize learning opportunities.

How It Is Learned In The Hospitality Industry

The hospitality industry is constantly changing. New equipment is introduced and new positions open up. Frequent menu changes mean that servers need to be responsible for learning new ingredients on the fly. If you work on learning new information you can grow and become better at your job each day.  

#5 Writing

Writing is the communication of information via words on paper or on digital media. Email and text are a form of writing that is commonly used in many careers, but writing can extend to sharing info vial groups, forums, or even text.

How It Is Learned In The Hospitality Industry

Servers sometimes need to relay information to other staff or managers in writing. In the hospitality industry, this is most often done in an app specially created for restaurants. Servers may have to communicate shift change information or ask questions.

#6 Reading Text

The ability to read and understand text includes reading small blocks of text as well as larger blocks. You may read to be informed or to gain instruction. It can involve reading digital media or on paper.

How It Is Learned In The Hospitality Industry

Managers often relay information to staff via memos that can be read on a memo board. More commonly, information is shared in an app or another digital source. Servers must be able to read, understand, and remember the information that is shared by managers.

#7 Thinking

Thinking skills often involve decision making and solving problems. It can also include planning, organize, finding information, multi-tasking, and memory.

How It Is Learned In The Hospitality Industry

Restaurant servers rely heavily on memory skills and organization to be efficient at their jobs. They multi-task as they try to remember several things at once and manage multiple tables. They often have to solve problems with customers or other staff members on their own. Managers may not be available all the time to solve a problem or to make the decision so servers must be able to use the knowledge and information that is available

#8 Document Use

Filling out forms, understanding tables, graphs, and signs, and communicating via documents are all a part of document use.

How It Is Learned In The Hospitality Industry

Servers must be able to understand information that is provided to them in policy manuals and guideline materials. Sometimes this may include reading a table or using a graph to learn how to use a new piece of equipment, like a cappuccino machine.

#9 Digital

Digital skills are needed to learn to use apps, point of sale terminals, and computers.

How It Is Learned In The Hospitality Industry

As restaurants become more and more technologically advanced, being able to learn new technology is essential for servers. A point of sale terminal, such as Square, or Clover, is used to input information and to gain insights. Servers must be able to adapt to new technology as the hospitality industry advances.

Danielle has been working in restaurants for about 15 years. She's currently a server but has also worked as a cook, hostess, and dishwasher. Her daily motto is "It's a great day to serve some smiles." She also spends a great deal of time writing and reading everything she can get her hands on while her 3 cats try to distract her. Danielle has also worked as a freelance writer for 15 years. She's written about a wide array of topics and is currently accepting new clients. Send an email to to discuss your project!

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