Food and beverage servers work in restaurants, hotels, bars, pubs, private clubs and banquet halls. They take food and drink orders and serve them to customers. They may also seat customers and assist with takeout orders.
Watch the video below to see what a day in the life of a food and beverage server is like.
Estimated median employment income based on 2021 Job Bank median hourly wage rate (median annual salary = hourly wage rate x 40 (hours per week) x 52.14 (weeks per year))
Note:Estimated median employment income based on 2021 Job Bank median hourly wage rate (median annual salary = hourly wage rate x 40 (hours per week) x 52.14 (weeks per year))
Source: 2021 Job Bank Wage Report
Source: B.C. Labour Market Outlook
10 year expected job openings: 10,220
Food and beverage servers perform some or all these duties:
Food and beverage servers work in a variety of places—from casual pubs to formal restaurants and even as a caterer for weddings, parties or company meetings. People in this job may work indoors or outdoors depending on their workplace and the season. Some food and beverage workers might work on patios during the summer in B.C.
Work hours can vary. Shift work and shifts split between regular mealtimes are common. Those in this career may need to work evenings, weekends and holidays when people are more likely to go out or attend events that are catered.
Food and beverage servers may need to work faster than usual during busy mealtimes or during a catered event. They may also have to deal with difficult customers or situations.
People with this job may risk injuries, such as hurting their wrists or arms from carrying orders or experiencing back pain from heavy lifting and standing for long periods of time. They may also be at risk for falls on slippery floors, burns from hot liquids, damage to hearing from loud noise, or illness from contact with the public. Additionally, people in this job may experience unwanted attention or even sexual harassment. They may also have to address problems that could happen because a customer has had too much alcohol.
In recent years, working conditions have greatly improved because of the introduction of new bylaws and restrictions through programs such as FOODSAFE, Serving it Right™ and organizations like WorkSafeBC. If a server’s supervisor or company is not able to ensure a safe work environment, WorkSafeBC’s Teleclaim is able to support the worker by advocating for their protection.
Source: 2016 Census
No standard training or education is required for food and beverage servers. Some secondary school may be necessary depending on the type of work or the company. Other training or job conditions may include:
Food and beverage servers who are certified for that occupation by a regulator elsewhere in Canada can apply for the same certification from the regulator in B.C. Under the terms of the Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA), most applicants who are transferring their credentials from elsewhere in Canada will not be required to complete additional training or testing. However, the B.C. regulator may ask applicants to provide further information such as a letter of good standing, references, or criminal record check.
For those who trained outside of Canada and never received certification from any Canadian jurisdiction, a full assessment is likely needed. Most occupational regulators have a process for assessment and recognize internationally trained applicants.
Contact Foodsafe or the Responsible Service BC for details on how to apply for certification in B.C.
For information about labour mobility in Canada, visit www.workersmobility.ca.
View a list of B.C. occupational regulators.
For more information about programs offered specifically for this career, visit EducationPlannerBC.
Every job calls for a certain set of skills. Knowing those skills is the first step in finding a good career fit.
Here, you will find the 35 most relevant workplace skills. Some are more important to achieving success in a certain career than others. These skills may come naturally to you or you may need to gain them through education, training and experience.
See the list of work-related skills below, ranked in order of importance for this career. You’ll also find the skill strength needed, letting you know how capable you must be in that skill.
Check out the list and see if this career matches your skills—take that first step!
As a result of some food and beverage server positions being part-time and entry-level work, this may be a good job for students who are paying for their education or who are trying to earn extra money. However, there are also many people who choose this as a career path and who see their role and the skills they use as an important part of a person’s dining experience.
People with excellent customer service skills are in higher demand for this job. Food and beverage servers who familiarize themselves with the food and drinks they serve will find it easier to be hired. A good memory is useful in this job.
Food and beverage servers should have strong communication skills. They will speak to a wide variety of people — with different personalities — and are expected to stay positive, upbeat and calm no matter what happens. They need to work well in a team and be proactive on their own. It is helpful if people in this job are organized and able to do many tasks while serving. It’s important to act and dress professionally for this job.
Servers often need to be strong enough to lift and carry heavy trays of food and beverages.
Food and beverage servers with experience can move into higher-paying positions at more formal or popular restaurants, pubs or other companies providing food and drinks. They may also move into supervisory or management positions, although this may require further education, such as the hospitality management program.
With additional experience, these workers may also choose to own and run their own businesses.