Traits of Great Waitstaff: What Restaurant Managers Should Look For

By July 12, 2016For Companies

The saying goes, “if you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen”. Well, it’s worth extending “kitchen” to the entire  restaurant, because a waiter or waitresses’ job can sometimes be just as stressful and demanding as a Chef’s. And with the reputation of a restaurant largely depending not just on the quality of food but quality of service also, finding waitstaff who can balance the pressures of the kitchen with the demands of the customer can be tricky. 

In this day and age, the expectations of customers have risen. Simply serving food is no longer enough; patrons expect a delightful, memorable, and personalised experience from restaurants. Waiters and waitresses are at the front lines, so delivering these expectations rests largely on their shoulders. So when the time comes to hire, these are the traits of great waitstaff you should look out for.

Traits of Great Waitstaff

Neat Personal Presentation

Although your waitstaff’s attire will depend on the style of your restaurant, it’s important that they come to the interview looking polished and well-groomed. It goes without saying that cleanliness is important to customers, so this should be conveyed by the waiters and waitresses. Also, look for waitstaff who can personify and represent the style of your restaurant.


No one at a restaurant likes to be kept waiting, whether you’re the customer or another server who is waiting to get off their shift. If an interviewee shows up late, warning bells should immediately start sounding. 

Traits of Great Waitstaff

Excellent Communicator

As interactions with customers are arguably the most important aspect of a waiter’s role, it’s important to find an individual who can communicate in a confident and positive manner. Test this by doing a role play during an interview, where you take on the role of an unhappy customer and see how they are able to turn around a negative situation.

Works Well Under Pressure

Lots of things can go wrong during a shift, and customers might react angrily at these issues. One of the traits of great waitstaff is the ability to remain polite and level-headed even during the most trying situations. You can gauge how well someone works under pressure by asking them questions in an interview such as, “What was one of the most stressful situations you’ve encountered at work and how did you deal with it?” or “Have you had any problems working in a team and if so, how did you manage them?”

Goes the Extra Mile

As previously mentioned, customers are not just satisfying hunger cravings when going to a restaurant – they’re searching for an experience. Look for staff who are willing to go above and beyond to deliver. It might be difficult to ascertain this in an interview, but look for an individual who is passionate and excited to work with your business. Have they won any Employee of the Month awards? Such accolades are often good indications of those willing to go the extra mile.


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