Most organizations that offer food and beverage services to guests require staff to service those guests. These professionals are often referred to as servers. A lead server is a food and beverage service professional who has exceptional service skills and several years of experience as a server. These professionals work for hotels, restaurants, banquet facilities, casinos and other food and beverage service establishments.
Although there are no formal educational requirements for this occupation, employment opportunities may increase for those who obtain at least a high school diploma or GED. An associate degree in hospitality management is also preferred. Along with education, most employers require excellent customer service skills, as well as several years experience working as a server in a fast-paced food and beverage service establishment.
Along with other service staff, these professionals prepare dining and seating areas by cleaning the areas, providing clean linens and setting tableware. These professionals also review menus, beverage lists and food specials with other service staff to ensure the staff is properly prepared to attend to customers.
When a food and beverage establishment is receiving patrons, a lead server greets guests, seats guests at tables and give them a menu. After guests are seated and they make food and beverage selections, the lead server takes their orders, provides them with the selected beverages and takes their menu request to the kitchen staff and chefs. When the guests' food is prepared, the server delivers the food to the guests. Throughout the guests' dining experience, the lead server ensures their satisfaction until they leave the establishment.
Although most of these professionals do not have any supervisory responsibilities, they assist other servers by answering questions and providing assistance as needed. If a guest is unsatisfied with the service or food, the lead server may intervene and attempt to correct the situation.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects a 10 percent increase in food and beverage services occupations through 2018. Growth is expected due to increasing populations, but the increasing number of food and beverage establishments providing take-out services may slow growth for waiters and waitresses. As of August 2010, Indeed.com listed a national average salary of $41,000 per year for lead servers.