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What Requirements Do You Need to Be a Cocktail Waitress?

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Because alcoholic beverages carry a higher price tag than milkshakes and soft drinks, a cocktail waitress has the potential to make a good amount of money, most of it from tips. While you don’t need formal education to be a cocktail waitress, you should have certain traits and skills. Mostly, you just need to be a friendly face to offer a cold drink to your patrons.

Food Service Experience

The position of cocktail waitress is highly desirable among restaurant staff. Due to the level of competition, restaurant managers usually allow a waitress to move up to alcohol service only after she has gained experience serving food and non-alcoholic beverages. While the promotion is partly a reward for seniority, the position is such that an entry-level server will find its execution difficult. Time as a regular waitress allows a server to familiarize herself with the workings of a restaurant gradually as opposed to starting in the faster-paced job of cocktail waitress.


One of the most important aspects of being a cocktail waitress is having a friendly, outgoing personality. Whether a person is drinking to celebrate, to unwind or to sulk, a cocktail waitress should provide efficient, friendly service. If a customer wants conversation, she should be willing to accommodate him while remaining attentive to the other patrons. If he simply wants to be left alone, she should keep her distance, occasionally checking to see if he needs anything. Whichever situation she encounters, she should remain friendly and professional in her interaction with the customer.

Multitasking Ability

If a bar is doing well, a cocktail waitress will make more money, but she will also work much harder. She must be able to handle multiple customers and their drink orders simultaneously. If she is able to provide accurate and expedient service, she will do better with tips. If she makes mistakes and takes too long to serve drinks, her tips will suffer.

Ability to Handle Pressure

A downside of serving customers alcohol is that the product has an adverse effect on patrons. It is inevitable that at some point, a cocktail waitress will have to handle belligerent customers. She must do so cautiously and responsibly. It is part of her job to recognize the signs of intoxication and know when to stop serving a patron. This responsibility in itself adds extra pressure to the job.


Carl Carabelli has been writing in various capacities for more than 15 years. He has utilized his creative writing skills to enhance his other ventures such as financial analysis, copywriting and contributing various articles and opinion pieces. Carabelli earned a bachelor's degree in communications from Seton Hall and has worked in banking, notably commercial lending, since 2001.

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