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Food Server Career

Career Description

Food servers serve food to patrons outside of a restaurant environment, such as in hotels, hospital rooms, or cars.

Common Work Tasks

  • Monitor food distribution, ensuring that meals are delivered to the correct recipients and that guidelines such as those for special diets are followed
  • Clean and sterilize dishes, kitchen utensils,  equipment, and facilities
  • Examine trays to ensure that they contain required items
  • Place food servings on plates and trays according to orders or instructions
  • Load trays with accessories such as eating utensils, napkins, and condiments
  • Take food orders and relay orders to kitchens or serving counters so they can be filled
  • Stock service stations with items such as ice,  napkins, and straws
  • Remove trays and stack dishes for return to kitchen after meals are finished
  • Prepare food items such as sandwiches, salads,  soups, and beverages
  • Monitor food preparation and serving techniques to ensure that proper procedures are followed

Other Job Titles

Food servers are also known by other titles, including:

  • Cooks
  • Waiters and Waitresses
  • Hosts and Hostesses
  • Servers

Education, Training, and Experience

Education and Training
This occupation may require a high school diploma or GED certificate.

      No previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed in this occupation. Employees in this occupation need anywhere from a few days to a few months of training.


The median annual salary for a food server is $18,000. The top 10 percent earn more than $30,000, and the lowest 10 percent earn less than $14,000.  Median earnings in the industries employing the largest number of food servers are:

  • Traveler Accommodation - $22,120
  • General Medical and Surgical Hospitals - $21,770
  • Nursing Care Facilities - $19,670
  • Community Care Facilities for the Elderly - $18,670
  • Special Food Services - $22,740

Job Outlook

  • 2006-2016 Employment growth:  N/A
  • Number of new jobs created 2006-2016: N/A
  • Employment 2006 : N/A
  • Employment 2016:  N/A
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