What does it take to become a pro waiter?

Becoming a pro waiter requires hardwork and patience. Since you will be dealing with hundreds of customers on a daily basis and handling different situations as well, your skillset will be put to the test every time. From greeting the customers to taking the order, there is a lot that could go wrong. However, if you have the right skills, you will end each day with a good success rate.

If you are someone who loves being a waiter and wants to become a professional, you need to remember that it has a lot to do with skills other than experience. Therefore, in this article, we are going to share some qualities that you should develop to become the best in business. Let’s begin.

Top Qualities to Become a Pro Waiter

Develop the habit of listening

You might have heard people suggesting others about develop the habit of listening. While it may seem a minor factor to your but in reality, it can do you wonders, especially if you wish to become a pro waiter. One of the common mistakes people tend to make even in their personal lives is that they react first and think later. This causes them to come up with ineffective and hurtful remarks. And this is something you should avoid at all times when dealing with customers.

Every customer that walks into a restaurant is different from the other. You never know what they have been through or are going through. Therefore, even if a customer pounces on you upon asking a question, you immediately need to realize that something is wrong. As a result, you need to step back and maybe come back later. Apart from the customers, you need to first listen to your teachers, supervisors, and experienced writers as well. They will make you learn things you have otherwise never even heard of in life. Such things are not found in books.

Developing a “know it all attitude” will halt your success and pro-long your struggling years. Therefore, on the very first day as a waiter, you need to develop the habit of listening so that you are able to gather as much information and knowledge as possible. This quality will help you beyond your professional experience as well.


Another quality is more of a skill rather than quality. Being patient is a skill that is one of the hardest to develop but if you manage to do it, it will definitely take you places. Then again, as you will be dealing with different customers everyday, you do not know their personalities and temperament. Some customers will take quite a lot of time to order meals.

While others will have multiple demands. In both cases, you need to be calm and patient. Know that they are paying for their meal and possess the right to enjoy their meals. Sometimes customers are engaged in conversations while you are about to step in to take the order. In such cases, you will have to wait. Once they are finished with their meals, customers will again spend a few minutes engaged in conversation. You should not be asking them to leave just because others are waiting.

Even though it is the responsibility of the customers to leave the table as soon as they are finished but unfortunately we do not live in a perfect world. Therefore, practice patience and remain calm during the most stressful situations as well.

Be Accommodating

Consider your restaurant as a community where people from different backgrounds gather to enjoy meals. The needs, demands, and preferences will differ so you will need to accommodate them. Customers feel irritated when they request the simplest of things and immediately receive “No” as a response. Therefore, you should try your level best to accommodate different types of customers. Foreigners for instance who are visiting for the first time will have a hard time adjusting to the local taste. As a result, they will put forward unique and different requests that you are bound to cater to.


If patience is one of the hardest skills to develop, then memory is the hardest. Since customers sat at the table will order different things and you will be nothing them down but things could go wrong when different demands start jumping in as well. For instance, some customers prefer a rare steak while others will ask for a medium. When multiple orders are piling up, mixing things becomes easy. A customer waiting half an hour for his/her order will not be delighted when you serve the wrong dish. To avoid such situations, develop a strong memory. This will reduce the chances of mixing things up when the day is stressful and the restaurant is packed with customers.

Concentration on Details

One of the qualities of a pro waiter is the concentration on details. These include the minor details usually ignored by many people. The thing is that customers sometimes like their orders to be very specific. If the order is not exactly what they had demanded, the customer will definitely be upset. While noting down the details, ask any questions if you may have. Furthermore, if the demand happens to be very important due to health concerns, write something like “Note” or “Very Important” next to the order. Furthermore, inform the chef personally as well.

Ability to Take Criticism

Part of being patient requires the ability to take criticism. Not every day is supposed to be perfect and after all, we are all humans. We are bound to make mistakes and it is perfectly normal. Sometimes we often do some things that we consider normal but to the other, it might look awkward and wrong. If you are working in a restaurant there could be several things that you can often do unintentionally. However, in other cases, customers will simply criticize you just because they are upset. Regardless of the situation, develop the ability to take criticism. If it is constructive and positive, work on it. But if it was done out of sheer frustration, remain calm and move on.

Ability to Hide Your Moods

Some days you will walk in with your personal issues affecting your mood. Although it is going to be difficult concentrating on the work when something is constantly banging in your head but you have to hide your emotions and moods. It might not seem right but the customer does not care about what you are going through. For him/her it is a matter of being served right. If he/she doesn’t, they will not wait to complain.

The best possible solution is to carry a fake smile even if you are stressed. It is a weird thought but it will only make things worse for you if you present yourself as an unhappy individual. The ability to hide your moods and emotions for the entire day is a tough task to pull. However, then again, it does not settle well with the customers.

Final Word

Although it might seem a daunting task but as long as you are committed and dedicate to the idea, success is not going to be far. As you develop skills, your customer dealing and handling of situations will automatically become better. You are bound to become more efficient and effective. Therefore, if you wish to climb the ladder, make sure you give this article a thorough read.