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Cafe Waitress Duties

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Being a waiter or waitress means so much more than serving food. In a cafe setting, waiter or waitress duties can include the making of specialty drinks yourself, counter duties and working the cash register. Smaller restaurants often don't have the funds for people to bus tables, so you may have to clear your own tables, too. Mastering all of these duties and more will make you successful in your job.

Counter Duties

You may be asked to do various counter activities, including preparation of food on display, taking counter or breakfast bar orders, keeping the area clean and working the cash register. Keep the food displayed fresh and orderly, swapping out older food so it's not under the lights for too long. As customers arrive and want just a quick snack or order to go, take those orders and get them to the kitchen. Wipe down the counters frequently and keep the floors clean and the garbage under control to improve visual appeal. When customers pay for their meals at the counter, accept the money and dole out correct change.

Making Drinks

Serving in a cafe often means that may customers will be stopping by just for a quick cup of coffee. A coffee shop waitress job description can include anything from making a regularly dripped brew to a variety of sweetened espresso drinks. You may be called upon to froth up a latte or cappuccino or serve steaming espresso from the bar area. A waiter job description is the same and for that reason, a gender-neutral term like 'server' is becoming more commonly used.

Taking Orders and Bringing Food

The main duty of a waiter and waitress, of course, is taking the customer's order and bringing out the food in a timely fashion. Give the patron a few moments after being seated, then approach for a drink order. While you are preparing that drink, the customer will have time to peruse the menu and most likely will be ready to order a meal when you return. Always carry a pad and pen with you, even if you memorize the orders instead of writing them down. This way, in case anything gets overly complicated, you can take notes to fall back on. Get the order back to the cook as quickly as possible, and as soon as the food is prepared, bring it out to the customer to limit wait time.

Cleanup Duties

Cafes usually have a smaller waitstaff than full-fledged restaurants, and you may find you are required to bus your own tables. This means that after the customer has cashed out and left, you will pick up the dishes and food messes on the table, bringing the ware to the dishwasher. Wipe down the table and chairs carefully, so that the next customer to sit down sees no remnants of the person before her. If there is a visible mess on the floor, sweep it quickly, and mop up any spills.

A Server's Resume

A waiter or waitress job description for a resume should include all the duties performed in any previous related positions. Any time you go to work for a new coffee shop or restaurant, there will things to learn, such as how to operate a different kind of cash register or make a unique specialty drink. The consistent factor for good restaurant employees is their ability to provide friendly, courteous and efficient service to customers.


Darlena Cunha has been a writer and editor since 2003. She has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and a Bachelor of Science in biology from the University of Connecticut. Cunha is also completing her master's degree in mass communication.

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