What Are The Traits of Excellent Waiting Staff? - The Talent Kitchen

What Are The Traits of Excellent Waiting Staff?

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Impeccable General Presentation and Grooming

Waiting staff should always be well presented. Your waiting staff are the closest, and often first, in contact with your clients. You have probably been put off by people who aren’t the tidiest. First impressions do count and it’s important that your staff get this right for you.

You will have a certain vibe that you wish to give off as well, so it’s important the waiting staff fit into this. Issue guidelines on dress and presentation before hand to ensure you maintain the standards across the business.

Top Class Communication Skills

Communication forms one of the most significant pillars of exceptional waiting staff. They need to be able to make the customers feel comfortable using professional language. Besides the spoken language, the nonverbal cues of wait staff should be well coordinated and professional.

To assess this during the interview, you can simulate a situation where a customer just came in, and the applicant has to talk to them. In communication, confidence also needs to be assessed, and fluency is a must.


Dealing with customers is not always a walk in the park. Sometimes, they can get on your nerves. As they say, the customer is always right. Your employees need to be calm and composed, even under pressure or in difficult situations. To get round this, situational interviewing is great. This gives you a chance to understand how someone works in these scenarios, and by all means ask this of their referees too.

Respect and Humility

Your employees represent you and your brand. Treating the customers with respect is just part of a good service. Again, test for this at interviews, and really drill on down how they have handled themselves with the customers. Ask questions such as “tell me how you handled a situation when you had made a mistake” or “how would you react if one of your team made a mistake and the customers complained”. It’s important to understand the type of person that works for you and whether they share your core values too.

A Good Observer

A good waiter should be observant. We have all been in restaurants – how frustrating is it when your waiting staff don’t notice that you need more drinks, or want to order something. The best waiting staff will know who has just arrived, who has been served and who will need more. They are attentive without being over the top.

Along with observation skills, intuition is key. Understanding when customers need something is a great skill to grasp.


Flexibility is an essential attribute, especially when dealing with customers. Things don’t always pan out the way you want them. Waiting staff who are flexible can cope with different situations well. They should be able to go beyond the limits to ensure customer satisfaction. For example, if a customer on a table assigned to another waiter needs their attention, they will not hesitate to attend to them.

Above all, your wait staff should be smart. This gives them the ability to handle business professionally and adapt to different conditions.

We’ve just shared with you what we look out for when finding waiting staff for our clients. Using them as guidelines can help you do your own recruitment. Structure your interview to cover the several aspects, and you will get the best talents to work for you.