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Summary of occupation

Waiters serve food and drink in restaurants, cafes, hotels and other dining establishments all over the State. They also prepare tables, take orders, clear tables, calculate bills and take payments. Waiters are required to provide a high standard of service to customers as they are frequently the face of the business.

Different establishments require difference levels of service, so some waiters may provide professional silver service at black tie events, while others may need to be more friendly and outgoing at relaxed cafes.

ANZSCO description: Serves food and beverages in a hotel,  restaurant, club or dining establishment.
Alternative names: Food and Beverage Attendant
Specialisations: Commis Waiter, Drink Waiter, Formal Service Waiter, Maitre d', Silver Service Waiter, Sommelier, Wine Steward
Job prospects: Good
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

A waiter needs:

  • good personal presentation skills
  • to be friendly, polite and helpful
  • to be patient and diplomatic when dealing with complaints
  • flexibility and reliability, with a willingness to work weekends and evenings
  • stamina and efficiency
  • good memory
  • excellent communication skills
  • over 18 years of age to serve alcohol
  • able to work as part of a team
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Working conditions

Waiters work in front of house areas of dining establishments, frequently indoors but sometimes outdoors at alfresco restaurants, cafes or events. They spend most of their time on their feet, and are frequently required to respond quickly in noisy and demanding environments. There is a great deal of contact with the public and the job can be stressful due to the fast pace and demanding customers.

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Salary details

On average, waiters can expect to earn between $679 and $799 per week ($35 354 and $41 599 per year), depending on the organisation they work for and their level of experience. As a waiter develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.

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Tools and technologies

Waiters use pens and paper or digital devices and computer systems to take orders and bookings. They also use equipment to serve food, such as trays, trolleys, bottle openers and serving cutlery. Often they use cleaning equipment to clear tables and clean floors and other surfaces. They must be very aware of their public presentation and may be required to wear uniforms or make-up.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

You can work as a waiter without any formal qualifications and get training on the job. However, entry into this occupation may be improved by obtaining a qualification in hospitality.

The Certificate III in Hospitality is offered at TAFE Colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Western Australia.

You can also complete a traineeship in hospitality – food and beverage. The traineeship usually takes 24 months to complete.

To serve alcohol in Western Australia, you must be over 18 years of age and hold a Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) certificate. You can gain your RSA certificate through a number of registered training organisations. Contact the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries for more information.

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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Related links

Related videos

Wait Person Video Wait Person Occupation

Waiters serve food and drink in restaurants, cafes, hotels and other dining establishments. They also prepare tables, take orders, clear tables, calculate bills and take payments.

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