12 Transferrable Skills You Learn After Working as a Restaurant Server
Deb Ward / APRIL 28 2021

Don’t be too quick to dismiss what you learn when you work at a restaurant or behind a bar. Many of those skills are prized by recruiters and hiring managers in hospitality whether you want to stay in the food and beverage department or move to hotel operations or revenue. Showing that you can work effectively under stressful conditions and deliver excellent customer service, handle multiple orders and still be accurate will translate to any number of roles.

Here’s a list of skills that you can showcase for future opportunities:

1. Teamwork: This is such a critical skill in all types of jobs. When you can work well with others and be flexible, cooperative and adaptable, the team wins and so will you.

2. Communication: No matter what job you choose, good communication is essential in all departments. You need to be able to give clear directions, listen carefully and ensure that what you’re doing is just what is needed… and it’s a vital skill when you’re required to negotiate. Being a good communicator can avoid misunderstandings that result in needless work and expense.

3. Numeracy: Numeracy is your ability to work with and understand information conveyed in numbers. You gain this type of skill when you’re making change, handling money, dealing with inventory and other tasks in a restaurant or bar.

4. Customer Awareness: This skill comes into play with the ability to understand what the customer wants and can deliver it in a way they prefer. This is really important if switching to a front desk or management positions where you can solicit feedback and incorporate that information to increase revenue in the future.

5. Time Management: All types of positions require good time management skills as well as the ability to prioritize effectively. When you can plan your workload sensibly, you’ll get more done and be more successful in meeting deadlines.

6. Resilience: Working in a restaurant means rolling with changes and chaos. Being able to bounce back from a difficult customer/shift and continue smiling shows a determination to do your job well and succeed. Recruiters and hiring managers want to know that you can cope with setbacks and keep going.

7. Multitasking: Being able to juggle a variety of guests, food orders and special requests, keeping it all in mind and getting it right while checking on the status of the order and handling complaints, is definitely a special skill. It shows that you are able to shift your attention where it’s needed, be nimble and still get everything done.

8. Great Work Ethic: When you’re income depends on tips (which is like working for “commissions”), you learn to go the extra mile and provide amazing service. You’re used to working hard every day in the hopes of getting great tips and that work ethic goes a long way toward being successful in any number of roles.

9. Customer Service/Building Relationships: Learning to provide great customer service translates well into building client relationships and that’s the core of many positions. Everyone wants to make the customer happy and when you do that, the business builds a loyal clientele and revenue grows.

10. Crisis Management: Restaurant work can be chaotic and stressful. You’re ability to deal with cancellations, overbooking, spilled food and short staff can all lead to a crisis. So what do you do? You shift gears and make it right, keeping the customer happy. That skill is unique and valuable. You will be well-prepared for a fast-paced environment.

11. Diplomacy: You’ve likely worked alongside a variety of people from other cultures and walks of life. Your customers are also likely to be visiting from other parts of the country or the world. Your ability to work with those differences and manage diverse relationships is a prerequisite to working in any sales or service position.

12. Patience & Attitude: Attitude is almost more important than hard skills in many jobs. You have to be patient and positive, willing to learn and help teach if necessary. Being the “calm in the storm” in the midst of busy times helps the team succeed and you can bring this skill to any position in the future.

Interested in becoming a server? Find opportunities here