How to Be Head Waiter - Job Description, Skills, and Interview Questions

The role of a head waiter is crucial for the success of a restaurant because it affects the customer experience. Their primary responsibility is to ensure that the guests receive excellent service. They must be knowledgeable about menu items, be attentive to guests’ needs, and be able to manage a large staff.

A head waiter is also responsible for seating customers, taking orders, delivering food, handling customer complaints, and managing the restaurant’s financials. When head waiters are efficient and well-trained, customers are more likely to return and the restaurant will be successful. On the other hand, when the head waiter is inexperienced or not knowledgeable about the menu, customers may not have a good experience and may leave unsatisfied, resulting in a decrease in business.

the head waiter plays an important role in ensuring customer satisfaction and restaurant success.

Steps How to Become

  1. Obtain a high school diploma or GED. Most employers prefer to hire head waiters with a high school diploma or GED.
  2. Gain experience. To become a head waiter, you must have experience in the restaurant business. Most employers prefer to hire candidates with at least two years of experience as a waiter or waitress.
  3. Get certified. Most employers prefer to hire head waiters who are certified in food safety, customer service and hospitality.
  4. Pursue additional training. Many employers prefer to hire head waiters who have taken additional courses in the hospitality industry.
  5. Apply for the job. Once you have met all the requirements, you can apply for the job of head waiter. Make sure to include a cover letter and resume that highlights your experience and skills in the industry.
  6. Interview for the job. Once you have applied for the job, you will be asked to come in for an interview with the restaurant manager or owner. Be prepared to answer questions about your experience and qualifications.
  7. Demonstrate your skills. Once you have been offered the job, you will need to prove that you have the skills necessary to be a successful head waiter. This may include taking orders, maintaining a clean workspace and providing excellent customer service.
  8. Become a leader. As head waiter, it is important that you take on the role of leader within the restaurant. You will be responsible for managing wait staff, delegating tasks and ensuring that everything runs smoothly.

Staying ahead and competent in the field of a Waiter requires dedication and hard work. Cause: By consistently striving to increase one’s knowledge of the dining industry, such as learning about new menu items, staying current with restaurant trends, and understanding the expectations of customers, a Waiter can remain efficient and professional. Effect: Doing so can lead to higher customer satisfaction, increased tips, and better job security.

learning how to effectively communicate with co-workers, supervisors, and customers is an essential skill for a Waiter to possess. Effect: This will not only help them work more efficiently as part of a team, but also build better relationships within the workplace. Finally, maintaining a positive attitude and being proactive in seeking feedback from customers and coworkers can help a Waiter stay ahead and competent in their field.

Effect: Doing so will demonstrate their commitment to providing excellent service, resulting in greater customer loyalty and satisfaction.

You may want to check Room Service Attendant, Sommelier, and Food Expo for alternative.

Job Description

  1. Greet guests and provide seating arrangements
  2. Explain menu items and answer questions about menu selections
  3. Suggest food and beverage combinations
  4. Take orders and relay them to the kitchen or bar staff
  5. Serve food and beverages
  6. Check with guests to ensure that they are enjoying their meals
  7. Assist with clearing and resetting tables
  8. Process payments and handle cash transactions
  9. Ensure that dining area is kept clean and organized
  10. Monitor dining room to ensure all safety and sanitation standards are met

Skills and Competencies to Have

  1. Excellent customer service skills
  2. Knowledge of food and beverage products
  3. Knowledge of food safety and sanitation practices
  4. Understanding of restaurant business operations
  5. Ability to multitask and work in a fast-paced environment
  6. Strong communication and interpersonal skills
  7. Knowledge of the use of point-of-sale systems
  8. Understanding of proper cash handling procedures
  9. Excellent organizational skills
  10. Ability to handle customer complaints and resolve conflicts

Having excellent customer service skills is the most important skill for a head waiter to possess. Being able to professionally and courteously interact with customers and provide the highest level of service is essential for a head waiter to ensure a positive and enjoyable experience for guests. This includes being knowledgeable about the menu, wine list, and other offerings, as well as being able to answer questions and provide recommendations.

the head waiter must be able to take orders accurately, address any issues or complaints in a timely manner, and ensure that all orders are fulfilled according to the customer's expectations. The ability to manage a busy restaurant floor, delegate tasks to other wait staff, and manage any conflicts among staff is also a critical part of the job. Finally, having strong organizational skills is key to making sure that guests are served efficiently and quickly.

Having these skills will help ensure that customers have a pleasant dining experience and that the restaurant runs smoothly.

Food Service Supervisor, Bar Manager, and Waiter are related jobs you may like.

Frequent Interview Questions

  • What experience do you have in customer service?
  • How would you handle a customer complaint?
  • Are you comfortable managing a team of servers?
  • Describe a typical day as a head waiter.
  • What do you find most rewarding about being a head waiter?
  • How would you deal with a difficult customer?
  • How would you handle a situation where a customer is unsatisfied with the food or service?
  • What strategies do you use to motivate and manage staff?
  • What experience do you have in handling cash transactions?
  • Are you comfortable with learning new restaurant software applications?

Common Tools in Industry

  1. Waitron. Waitron is a hospitality software designed to help restaurants and other establishments manage their wait staff and table service operations. (eg: Waitron can be used to quickly assign tables to waiters, track orders, and monitor customer satisfaction. )
  2. Point of Sale (POS) System. A POS system is a computerized system used in retail and hospitality settings to process sales transactions. (eg: Many POS systems offer integrated payment processing, inventory management, customer loyalty programs, and more. )
  3. Reservation System. A reservation system is software used to manage the booking and scheduling of resources such as hotel rooms, event tickets, or restaurant tables. (eg: A reservation system allows customers to make reservations online and receive instant confirmations. )
  4. Table Management Software. Table management software is designed to help restaurants, bars, and other establishments manage their seating arrangements and waitlist. (eg: Table management software can be used to assign tables to guests, track orders, and optimize table utilization. )
  5. Menu Management Software. Menu management software is designed to help restaurants manage their menu items, prices, and availability. (eg: Menu management software can be used to quickly update menu items, adjust prices, and manage discounts. )

Professional Organizations to Know

  1. National Restaurant Association (NRA)
  2. International Food Service Executives Association (IFSEA)
  3. American Culinary Federation (ACF)
  4. National Association of Catering and Events (NACE)
  5. National Waitstaff Association (NWA)
  6. International Sommelier Guild (ISG)
  7. Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET)
  8. Court of Master Sommeliers (CMS)
  9. American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA)
  10. International Association of Conference Centers (IACC)

We also have Banquet Waiter, Line Cook, and Breakfast Server jobs reports.

Common Important Terms

  1. Maitre d'Hotel. The head waiter in a restaurant, responsible for seating guests and supervising the waitstaff.
  2. Waitstaff. The employees of a restaurant who serve and attend to customers.
  3. Pre-shift Meeting. A brief gathering of the waitstaff before the start of a shift, to discuss the day's events and assigned tasks.
  4. Menu Knowledge. An understanding of the menu items, ingredients, and specials offered by the restaurant.
  5. Table Setting. The arrangement of tableware and glassware to create a welcoming environment for guests.
  6. Bussing. The process of clearing tables after guests have finished their meals.
  7. Side Work. Assigned tasks completed between serving guests, such as restocking items or cleaning.
  8. Reservation Book. A book that keeps track of reservations, seating arrangements, and customer preferences.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the duties of a Head Waiter?

The duties of a Head Waiter usually include overseeing the service staff, coordinating the seating of customers, assisting with customer inquiries, and ensuring that the dining area is kept clean and organized.

How many staff members does a Head Waiter typically manage?

A Head Waiter typically manages a team of between 10-15 waiters and waitresses.

What qualifications are typically required to become a Head Waiter?

To become a Head Waiter, one typically needs to have at least two years of experience in a waiter or waitress role, and good customer service and communication skills.

What type of environment does a Head Waiter typically work in?

A Head Waiter typically works in restaurants and other food service establishments.

What is the average salary of a Head Waiter?

The average salary of a Head Waiter is around $31,000 per year.

Web Resources

Author Photo
Reviewed & Published by Albert
Submitted by our contributor
Waiter Category