General Question

Carly's avatar

Where is a good place to start working as a waitress/waiter?

Asked by Carly (4550points) September 22nd, 2010

What kind of a restaurant would be good to work at if you’ve never been a waitress/waiter before?

I’m looking into a job that gives good tips, but nothing too stressful.

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21 Answers

CyanoticWasp's avatar

If you have no experience, then any place that will hire you is a good place to start. And it will be stressful. It’s not an easy job.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Popular franchise restaurants that are a bit on the expensive side. Think about some of these:

Red Lobster
Ruth’s Chris steakhouse
Morton’s steakhouse
Olive Garden
Outback steakhouse

isuppose's avatar

I’ve heard that family chains such as O’Charley’s and Ruby Tuesday’s are usually good places to start out.

chels's avatar

Outback Steakhouse.

If you’re in a good area you can walk away with $150+ a night.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

Macaroni Grill

JilltheTooth's avatar

As @CyanoticWasp said, don’t think it isn’t stressful. It’s hard physical work, you will run into pissy unpleasable customers, and in-store politics can be pretty harsh. There is good money to made, but it ain’t easy! (I spent a lot of years in the restaurant business.)

camertron's avatar

What about the Cheesecake Factory?

Gamrz360's avatar

A place with high paying tips… I’m not sure of a place though.

blastfamy's avatar

I started waiting tables at Famous Dave’s. Their training is really good.

SamIAm's avatar

I think big chain places may be less inclined to hire someone without experience… i could be wrong but i don’t know. i would try smaller, popular mom and pop type places that will give great recommendations and have regular customers who you can develop a relationship with!

BarnacleBill's avatar

Pick a place with a limited menu to start with. If you work at a chain, you’re required to memorize all of the food and the drinks as well. If you’re too young to serve alcohol, you will do better to start out bussing at a better restaurant. That’s hard work, too, but you’re filling water glasses, setting tables, clearing tables, getting things for people, etc. Depending on the restaurant, the waitstaff may share their tips. Once you’ve done a few months bussing you will be in a better position to move up to a better waitstaff position.

MissAnthrope's avatar

Not to be a poop, but you may not be able to aim too high to start out with, particularly if the economy is bad where you live. In good times, there’s fairly high turnover and you’d have a much better chance of getting hired wherever you like. I speak from 10 years of serving experience; you may have to pay your dues at Applebee’s or something before you try Olive Garden or Outback. They can be a bit selective about who they hire (I worked at OG for 3 years and my best friend works at Outback) and if times are tight, jobs are scarce, and they’ll be less likely to hire someone with no experience.

That’s kind of how it works in the restaurant business, you start low and work your way up. I got my start at Applebee’s, now I’m near the top of the ladder doing fine dining and banquets. By the way, if you can get started in banquets (like at a hotel or country club), that is the way to get started. The money is awesome, it’s less stressful than restaurant work, you get some change and diversity because the events differ, you get to eat free, and sometimes you get to take home great free stuff. They also don’t seem to care as much if you have no serving experience at all. Total win.

jaytkay's avatar

I worked as a busboy, then a waiter in family chain restaurants which don’t exist anymore. I guess they would be like Chilis and Olive Garden today. Then I worked in a fine dining place. I made good money at all of them. Eight years in all.

The best preparation I had was the place which made us write out the menu from memory before we could be a waiter. It made me twice as good & a much better earner.

filmfann's avatar

Denny’s. They train more waitresses than anyplace else, and anywhere you work afterwards will seem much better.

GladysMensch's avatar

I’ve got to agree with @MissAnthrope on the banquet idea. You’ll get accustomed to carrying things and dealing with people, but you won’t be responsible for individual receipts. Plus the cash is good.
However, I don’t think you need to pay any dues to get into a chain restaurant. I started my waiting career (5+ years) at an Olive Garden. They basically took anyone who could speak English and carry a tray. And they started everyone off with lunch shifts; where you made nothing for the amount of work you did. Damn that all-you-can-eat Soup, Salad and Breadstick combo.
The real money lies in a nice steakhouse. Expensive food, lots of wine and booze, businessmen with expense accounts. But you’re not starting there.

Carly's avatar

@MissAnthrope would working for a catering company count? Or would it really just be hotels and country clubs that I should look into?

MissAnthrope's avatar

@Carly – Catering would be good, as well, as it’s essentially the same thing. The main difference is that you will probably be involved in the schlepping of food and equipment, which can kind of be a pain in the ass unless that’s something you don’t mind. I personally prefer to work at a facility with a minimum of outside catering jobs to avoid the hassle. How good the money is working for a catering company also depends on how much business they do and how upscale they are (how much they charge, as you get a portion of the service charge included in the total).

Jeffinohio's avatar

I will agree with MissAnthrope, Let me add though, what I’ve found out through my experiences, 27 years bartending, the last decade full time, is in order to choose a place to work, you have to go into these establishments and take it all in.

This will allow you to ask questions of the wait staff, bartenders, bussers as to what kind of place it is. It’s amazing what you learn by keeping your eyes and ears open. What your really looking for, in my opinion, is to see how you could fit in, blend, and deal with the customer base of the business. You might find one of those nice little franchise restaurant’s, but the bar is loaded with no tipping thugs. Do you really want to work here?

You could walk into what appears to be a rugged, biker bar, and you may come to find that this little dingy, hole in the wall place, is amazing, and you may find that to be more to your liking, or compatible with YOUR personality. I believe that it helps to work in an establishment that is compatible with your personality, but don’t even think for a minute that any of this is easy, and it can be amazingly stressful no matter where you work.

As another thought, the local party centers generally just hope you breath, no experience required, you don’t make alot, there are no tips, or very few, it’s generally weekends, but you can get a good idea of what it takes to serve as a starter. And you really only get a limited dose of the public, could be a good break in. Restaurants are the real world, and you will deal with all types of people, all types of interactions, and none of it is the same, unless you deal with regulars. And building your own customer base reaps rewards.

If you live in Ohio, I currently have a need for a server, I’m not kidding, at a little, hole in the wall biker bar. If you’re at least 19, and you can handle it, you can earn a good living, even in this depressed economy. I’ve been here going into my 8th year as manager/bartender/whatever it takes guy to make it happen. Amazing place. Not just biker’s, just our original moniker.

Good luck, but if low to no stress job is what you seek, you may want to choose another field.

Carly's avatar

@Jeffinohio thank you! Unfortunately I don’t like anywhere near Ohio, but if I did, I’d actually consider taking up your offer. :)

Jeffinohio's avatar

@Carly, I wish you all the luck in the world.

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