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Occupation Details

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Waiter / Waitress

Job Zone

Some of these occupations may require a Leaving Certificate or similar.

Related Experience
Little or no previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations.

Job Training
Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few days to a few months of training. Usually, an experienced worker could show you how to do the job.

Job Zone Examples
These occupations involve following instructions and helping others. Examples include taxi drivers, amusement and recreation attendants, counter clerks, construction laborers, and waiters or waitresses.

€17k > 23
Waiter / Waitress
Salary Range
(thousands per year)*
€17 - 23
Related Information:
Data Source(s):

Last Updated: March, 2017

* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
Shortage Indicator

Employment growth has been strong for these occupations; however, churn is also a significant factor resulting in an over-representation in the vacancy data. While demand has grown, no specific qualification is required for the majority of these roles and, therefore, supply can be drawn from the total labour market. Indeed, there were over 3,000 job ready job seekers in August 2018, who had previously been employed in these occupations.

National Skills Bulletin 2018

Occupational Category

Waiters & Waitresses

Also included in this category:

Head waiters; silver service waiters; stewards (catering).

Number Employed:


Part time workers: 66%
Male / Female: 22 / 78%
Non-Nationals: 23%
With Third Level: 18%
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At a Glance... header image

Works in a hotel, coffee shop, restaurant or any other place that serves food and drink. They prepare tables, take orders, serve food and drink, and clear tables.

Videos & Interviews header image

The Work header image

Before a restaurant is open or before the guests arrive at a function (such as a wedding) the waiting staff may have several jobs to do. They might have to lay out the tables. In some cases they may have to move tables around, but more often it will mean putting out tablecloths, napkins, cutlery, crockery and table decorations. The cutlery might have to be polished and in some cases the waiting staff might have to make table decorations. They must also ensure that each table has a full set of condiments, i.e. salt, pepper etc.  
If people have to sit in certain places, like at a function, the waiting staff might have to put out the name cards at each place. They will also have to check that there are enough menus available and that any other equipment they use (trays, serving trolleys, warmers) are clean and ready.  
Once the restaurant is open or guests start to arrive the waiting staff help to make sure people feel comfortable. They might show people to their tables and hang up their coats, though sometimes this is the job of a head waiter/waitress.  
When people sit down the waiting staff show them a menu and ask if they would like a drink. They will tell the customers what special offers or dishes are available for that day. The waiting staff takes orders for meals and explains any unusual items on the menu. The orders are written on a pad and handed in to the kitchen. A waiter/waitress usually looks after a set area or group of tables. This group is called a Station.  
A Waiter/Waitress should know the items on the menu and how they are prepared. They should also be able to recommend the appropriate wines/drinks to complement the meal.  
While people are eating, the waiting staff need to stay alert in case the diners ask for anything else, and they should be ready to refill drinks glasses. Once the meal is over the staff clear the table, serve teas and coffees, and present the customers with their bill. When the guests leave the staff may need to re-set the table. In some places the waiting staff may have to deal with payments for meals, in the form of cash or credit card payments.  
When the function ends or the restaurant closes the waiting staff clear the tables and put the linen aside for washing. They polish and put away the cutlery and generally help to tidy up.  
Some staff specialise in servi

Tasks & Activitiesheader image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported tasks and activities for this occupation


Check with customers to ensure that they are enjoying their meals and take action to correct any problems.


Collect payments from customers.


Write patrons' food orders on order slips, memorize orders, or enter orders into computers for transmittal to kitchen staff.


Prepare checks that itemize and total meal costs and sales taxes.


Take orders from patrons for food or beverages.


Check patrons' identification to ensure that they meet minimum age requirements for consumption of alcoholic beverages.


Serve food or beverages to patrons, and prepare or serve specialty dishes at tables as required.


Present menus to patrons and answer questions about menu items, making recommendations upon request.


Clean tables or counters after patrons have finished dining.


Prepare hot, cold, and mixed drinks for patrons, and chill bottles of wine.

Work Activities header image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported work activities in this occupation.


Performing for or Working Directly with the Public: Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.


Handling and Moving Objects: Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.


Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships: Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.


Performing General Physical Activities: Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.


Selling or Influencing Others: Convincing others to buy merchandise/goods or to otherwise change their minds or actions.


Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates: Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.


Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others: Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.


Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events: Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.


Getting Information: Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.


Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others: Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.

Knowledge header image

The following is a list of the five most commonly reported knowledge areas for this occupation.


Customer and Personal Service: Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.


Food Production: Knowledge of techniques and equipment for planting, growing, and harvesting food products (both plant and animal) for consumption, including storage/handling techniques.


English Language: Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.


Sales and Marketing: Knowledge of principles and methods for showing, promoting, and selling products or services. This includes marketing strategy and tactics, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.


Public Safety and Security: Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.

Skillsheader image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported skills used in this occupation.


Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.


Monitoring: Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.


Service Orientation: Actively looking for ways to help people.


Coordination: Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.


Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.


Social Perceptiveness: Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.


Learning Strategies: Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.


Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.


Judgment and Decision Making: Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.


Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Personal Qualitiesheader image

This can be a very busy job, full of pressure. Customers can sometimes be rude. As waiting staff you are the public face of a restaurant or cafe, so it can often be down to you whether people will come back or will recommend the place to their friends.  
With all that in mind you need to have energy and stamina for this job. You will be on your feet all the time, walking a lot and carrying plates and trays.  
A waiter/waitress should be able to think fast and have a good memory. It helps to have an outgoing personality, but at the very least you should be polite and friendly, and able to communicate clearly. You should like food as well as people - customers might ask for your recommendation so it helps to know something about what is on the menu.  
You need to have a good eye for detail, to ensure that tables are laid correctly and that the food delivered to the table matches the order of the customer. You need to be conscious of food hygiene and safety when lifting heavy or hot items.

Further Informationheader image

A detailed description of this occupation can be found on a number of online databases. Follow the link(s) below to access this information:

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Go..Waiting Staff - from: N.C.S. [UK]

Related Occupationsheader image

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Contactsheader image


Organisation: Fáilte Ireland
Address: Amiens Street, Dublin 1
Tel: (01) 884 7700
Email: Click here
Url Click here


Organisation: SIPTU (Services, Industrial, Professional, Technical Union)
Address: Liberty Hall, Dublin 1
Tel: (01) 858 6389
Email: Click here
Url Click here

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Career Guidance

This occupation is popular with people who have the following Career Interests...

...and for people who like working in the following Career Sectors:

Food & Beverages
Tourism & Hospitality

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