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Are you a teenager and you are looking for a job with a position of waitress? If you are, this article is for you. BestLifeTips will help you have a comprehensive view of this job and help you solve the question how old do you have to be to be a waitress.
About the waitress job
Waitresses and waiters, also known as servers in the food and beverage industry, play a key role in determining the quality of a customer’s dining experience. They set the mood by greeting customers with a friendly smile and a warm welcome.
Waitress responsibilities are:
- Greeting and escorting customers to their tables
- Presenting menu and provide detailed information when asked
- Preparing tables by setting up lines, silverware and glasses
- Informing customers about the day’s specials
- Up-selling additional products when appropriate
- Taking accurate food and drink orders, using a POS ordering software, order slips or by memorization
- Make sure customers meet the minimum age requirements for consumption of alcoholic beverage
- Communicating order details to the kitchen staffs
- Serving food and drink orders
- Checking dishes and kitchenware for cleanliness and presentation and report any problems
- Delivering checks and collect bill payments
- Carrying dirty plates, glasses, and silverware to the kitchen for cleaning
- Following all relevant health department regulations
- Providing excellent customer service to guests
- Proven work experience as a Waiter or Waitress
- Basic math skills
- Attentiveness and patience for customers
- Excellent presentation skills
- Active listening and effective communication skills
- Team spirit
- Flexibility to work in shifts
- Hands-on experience with cash register and ordering information system
- Strong organizational and multitasking skills, with the ability to perform well in a fast-paced environment
- High school diploma; food safety training is a plus
See more: 20 Best Jobs for Teens
How to become a waitress?
As a waitress, you will probably have to deal with difficult customers, it’s those days that make this job stressful.
Most waitress jobs are entry level, and no formal education or previous work experience is required to enter the occupation.
You may have to serve alcohol in most restaurants and drink shops, so you must be familiar with state and local laws concerning the sale of alcoholic beverages.
Most waitresses learn their skills through short-term on-the-job training, often lasting for a few weeks. Trainees will work with an experienced waiter or waitress. They’ll teach them basic serving techniques.
Some full-service restaurants provide new employees with some form of classroom training combine with periods of on-the-job work experience. They also discuss customer service situations and the proper ways to handle unpleasant circumstances or unruly customers.
Training for waitresses in establishments that serve alcohol typically involves learning state and local laws concerning the sale of alcoholic beverages.
Here are some important qualities that you need to become a waitress.
- Communication skills
You must listen to customers’ specific requests carefully, ask questions, then relay the information to the kitchen staffs.
- Customer-service skills
Waitresses spend most of time of their work serving customers. They must be friendly, polite, and be able to develop a rapport with customers.
- Memorization skills
A waitress presents the menu to customers, offers explanations when necessary and also makes recommendations. Good memorization skills allow a waitress to understand all aspects of a menu.
- Time management skills
Waitresses can work in fast-paced environments in which they need to manage their time wisely. They should be able to manage several tables at once, ensuring each customer receives quick service.
- Interpersonal skills
Waitresses should be courteous, tactful, and attentive as they deal with customers in all circumstances to resolve any issues that arise. They also need to interact with coworkers and managers in a friendly manner.
- Physical stamina
Waitresses have to spend hours on their feet carrying heavy trays, dishes and drinks.
And remember to follow these serving tips to become a good waitress.
- The customer is always right
- Be friendly but professional
- Know the menu forward and backward
- Practice good hygiene
- Always upsell, but not in an obnoxious way
How old do you have to be to be a waitress? – Q&A
You can choose to become a waitress at teens. However, you must know the minimum age that the laws require to work at this position since sometimes you might have to serve alcohols too.
According to the Federal Child Labor Laws, the minimum age to work most job, including as a waitress, is 14. Once a child reaches the age of 16, there is no limit to the amount of hours per week or times at which a waitress may be scheduled.
However, Child Labor Laws are different among states. So minors who wish to work as waitresses may face much stricter regulation from their state when they seek for this position.
Some states require minors to receive work permits, or work during traditional school hours or for general employment, before they may work in any capacity.
Others place restrictions on shift times and lengths for all workers under 18. Consult your state department of labor for details about youth employment in your state.
As for serving alcohol, there is no federal liquor law legislation exists. According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, most states require that waitresses be at least 18 to serve alcoholic drinks.
In some states, restaurants work around these laws by allowing underage waitress to wait tables with an adult temporarily stepping in to serve to customers.
If your parents open a restaurant, you can work there from 13. The Fair Labor Standards Act offers exemptions to family businesses that employ children under the age of 16 in positions declared non-hazardous by the U.S. Department of Labor.
However, family restaurants usually don’t receive an exemption to minimum-age requirements to serve alcohol.
Does restaurant/bars check your age when you apply as a waitress or waiter?
The answer is yes. You have to give the owner your driver’s license and your social security number, both for identification and for tax purposes.
No ID, no job. They want to make sure that you meet the minimum age to work as a waitress/waiter and serve alcohol. And most managers aren’t even huge fans of hiring 18-year-olds as waitresses/waiters.
Is it possible for a 16-year-old to work as a waiter/waitress? Are they able to sell alcoholic beverages to customers? Can they only work in establishments that don’t serve alcohol?
The laws on this can vary from state to state. You can work as a waiter/waitress at the age of 16. However, you cannot sell or serve alcoholic beverages to customers.
In many cases, you may be able to work in establishments that serve alcohol. But you need to have an adult waitress/waiter to take alcohol beverages to the customers for you. You can simply call a restaurant that serves alcohol and ask them about that.
How do I look for a job in a restaurant/bar? Do I just walk in and talk to the waiter or should I ask for the manager?
Always ask for the manager. Take a copy of your Curriculum Vitae, driver’s license and social security card with you. Be prepared to start. You can apply at several restaurants and just about be guaranteed to snag a job immediately.
After reading this article of BestLifeTips, you can get the answer for the question how old do you have to be to be a waitress. You can do this job at the age of 14. However, you need to consult the laws of your state to have a suitable choice.