Waiting staff, wait staff, waitstaff or serving staff are those who work at a restaurant or a bar, and sometimes in private homes, attending customers—supplying them with food and drink as requested. An individual waiting tables is commonly called a server, waitperson, waitress (females only), waiter (referring to males or either gender), or less commonly the 1980s American neologism waitron. Archaic terms such as serving girl, serving wench, or serving lad are generally used only within their historical context.
Waiting on tables is (along with nursing and teaching) part of the service sector, and among the most common occupations in the United States. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that, as of May 2008, there were over 2.2 million persons employed as servers in the U.S.
Duties of waiting staff
The duties of waiting staff include preparing tables for a meal, taking customers' orders, serving drinks and food, and cleaning up before, after and during servings in a restaurant. Silver service staff are specially trained to serve at banquets or high-end restaurants. They follow specific rules of service and it is a skilled job. They generally wear black and white with a long, white apron (extending from the waist to ankle).
The head server is in charge of the waiting staff, and is also frequently responsible for assigning seating. The functions of a head server can overlap to some degree with that of the Maître d'hôtel. Some restaurants employ busboys or busgirls, increasingly referred to as bussers, to clear dirty dishes, set tables, and otherwise assist the waiting staff.
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- "Waitron." Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1). Random House, via dictionary.com website. Retrieved on 17 September 2007.
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- Reg Butler; Carole French (2011). Tips on Tipping: A Global Guide to Gratuity Etiquette. Bradt Travel Guides. pp. viii–ix. ISBN 978-1-84162-210-1.
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- "Emotional labour: a comparison between fast food and traditional service work". Sciencedirect.com. 2000-06-30. Retrieved 2014-01-22.
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