How to be a good waitress with no experience

how to become a waiter without experience

If you want to know how to be a good waitress with no experience, you are probably at a crossroads in your life…

It doesn’t matter if you are 16 years old or 50 years old!

You can start working as a waiter/waitress if that is what you want or if that is what you see as your last resort!

Here is a summary of what you need to do and learn:

  • Ask your manager to send you the menu and the wine list and make sure you learn it through
  • Start carrying three or four plates around your house and serve it to your mom and dad
  • Find a tray and start carrying drinks around the table. Serve it and clear it until you feel confident
  • Stay in front of your family (or mirror) and greet them as if they are guests. Practice the steps of service with them
  • Buy a cheep bottle of wine and open it as a waiter! Try it few more time. Make sure you can do it
  • Set the table at home the way they are set up in the restaurant! Be fast and efficient
  • On your first day at work learn the table numbers in the first 5 minutes! No more!
  • Ask your manager or colleague to show you the computer and practice with it as long as you can
  • Ask your manager to let you be a food runner at least for a day so you can learn what every dish looks like and be able to recognize them and explain them before you start serving the guests
  • Ask specific questions for anything that is not clear but don’t ask annoying questions which answers you can find yourself
  • Be polite, friendly and humble with your colleagues and the kitchen staff.
  • Try to learn as much as possible by observing what the other people do and say
  • Work hard, learn fast and don’t give up!

I know that you have fear! Starting a new job is stressful and you have a lot of doubts but this is absolutely normal!

I have been a waiter for almost 30 years now and I train and supervise new waiters daily. If someone can tell you how to be a good waitress with no experience, that’s me!

In this article, I will give you all the tips you need to make your transition into a waiter/waitress much smoother and easier!

So, let’s start it!

sequence of service and becoming a top waiter

Be prepared mentally and physically!

The physical part is connected to working long hours on your feet and running around carrying heavy trays and plates! The feet will hurt, your back will hurt and your hands will hurt! The body will be exposed to a completely different kind of stress and it will take a week or two to get over the pain! Being in good shape helps! Ware the most comfortable shoes you can find also helps! Make sure you don’t buy new shoes and go to work! Spending 9 hours running around in new shoes will destroy your feet and if those shoes are fancy but not comfortable…you can damage your feet!

Be prepared to carry heavy loads of food trays or plates! Knowing the proper procedures of lifting and carrying trays will protect your back and body from injuries and pain! Learn how to carry three or four plates to the guests and serve them! Learn how to bus table and carry the load back to the kitchen the easiest way possible!

No matter what you do and how well you prepare yourself, you will have to deal with the pain and the soreness from the first few days of work! Stay strong and don’t break down! It will go away!

Mental preparedness ( how to be a good waitress with no experience )

Here it gets a little bit trickier! It is not easy to be a rookie! You most probably be the punching bag inside the restaurant and everyone from the guests through the wait staff till the kitchen staff will take advantage of you!

There are exceptions to this scenario, though! There are restaurants where the working environment is one of hard work and respect for each other! If you are lucky enough, you will have a great time and your transition will be much easier!

Those places are exceptions, keep in mind! In our industry, there are a lot of ignorant, rude, and aggressive people. You will find them within the wait staff, within the guests, and within the cooks! It is no different than in any other industry! There are a lot of great people too and those are the ones who you will look up to and pay attention to!  Put your head down and work hard! Also, try to learn fast! Learning fast and working hard will earn you the respect of the good people around you and it will make your life much easier!

Be prepared to make a lot of mistakes! Making mistakes is part of the process! The trick is to learn from those mistakes and don’t make it again! If someone tries to put you down because you have made a mistake, don’t get angry, just ignore them! Say “I am sorry. It won’t happen again” and move on, don’t blame yourself and let it stuck into your head! Move on!

Stress and Training (how to be a good waitress with no experience)

Those two are very well connected and the sooner you understand that the easier your life will be!

Hotels and restaurants are always trying to cut the cost and therefore the training of the staff is almost none existing nowadays! In America still, there are some great companies where you will get a month’s training before you even see the restaurant but this is rare!

Most of the time you will have one or two days to follow and watch someone while doing a bussing job and then you will hit the floor full time! This will bring a lot of stress to your head!
The waiter job is very stressful anyway, but when you have to perform it without the proper training and knowledge it gets really ugly! My advice is: train yourself! Don’t wait till the reality hits you in the face!

Watch this video to learn how to be a good waitress with no experience.

Now guys, imagine someone who comes on his first day to work and is very well prepared with all the things we discussed above! How do you think your colleagues and your manager will treat you from the day on?

Now imagine that you go to your first day of work not being able to perform anything of the things we mentioned above! What kind of treatment will you get?

The difference will be incredible! We don’t need more stress or rude people around us! We all want a better-quality life! By being prepared, you will achieve it much faster and much easier! That’s why you should know how to be a server with no experience from day one!

For a step-by-step tutorial on how to prepare for your first day of work click here! or keep reading!

Finding a job (how to be a good waitress with no experience)

There is one more thing! Finding your first waiter job! It won’t be easy but it is not impossible! This post is named: How to be a good waitress with no experience, so I assume you have a waitress interview, no experience, no nothing on your side but you want this waitress job!

If you are interested to learn, you can click here or just watch the video! You will never fail on waitress interview even with no experience.

Your first day at work (how to be a good waitress with no exeprience):

Do not wait to get to the restaurant and hit the floor to start learning everything you need to know about your new job! This is irresponsible to the company, but mostly it is bad for you because this attitude will bring you a lot of stress and suffering!

As soon as you know that you have the job, get the menu, the floor plan, and the wine list. No one will expect you to know everything perfectly but put an effort to learn the food and the wine you will serve and make sure you know the floor plan and the table numbers.

If you push yourself and learn the menu from A to Z, you will do yourself a great favor, and you will surprise everyone on your new team very pleasantly. Kind of becoming everyone’s favorite from day one by providing a great restaurant service!

Know your guests (how to be a good waitress with no experience)

Another thing you should do to prepare yourself is to learn about the people who visit the restaurant and the people who work there!

If it is a tourist place, where do most of the tourists come from? If they are Chinese, learn some habits and a few words in Chinese! This will impress your guests and your coworkers from day one! The same thing for every nationality that visits the restaurant.

Learn who is your head chef! You will deal with this guy a lot, and it is a good thing to know as much as possible about him! Use the restaurant website or ask some of the employees there. One thing you should know for sure: The chef loves the people who sell his/her daily specials, so try to do it from your first day!

Practice ( how to be a good waitress with no experience )

As a new waiter, you will do a lot of clearing and serving. Practice at home how to carry two, three, or four plates and how to buss tables with a lot of dirty dishes and silverware. 

Usually, the new waiters have a problem carrying trays! Drink trays and food trays are part of the food and beverage service, so you should be capable of carrying them! Get a tray home and practice! If you don’t have a tray, use anything that has similar dimensions and weight to practice. 

The last thing you want is to drop a drink on your guest’s head on your first day at work!

Learn the F&B terminology used in your restaurant! If it is a French kitchen, a lot of devices and utensils will have french names. Same with Italian, Chinese, and so on. Once you hit the floor, no one will have time to teach you what is this and what is that! The chef will scream at you to do “Supplement Service” and if you don’t know what’s that…you are in trouble!

Until now, we were talking about practical steps you can take to prepare yourself for your new job. 

Let’s talk about the mental side of the problems a new waiter encounters.

Most people quit after the first week because their expectations are completely off!

Be prepared to run a lot! Your whole body will hurt badly, and you will think you are going to die right there on the floor. I am not kidding! I have seen so many young people crying on their first day after 9 hours of work and no end in sight! That’s the reality! Restaurants usually hire new people when it is the busy season and should expect the restaurant to be full and crazy, and the working hours to be well over 9!

Emotions run high during peak hours in our business, and the conversations heat up. Don’t be surprised if people scream at you!

As the newest member of the team, you will be an easy target! Plus, you will make mistakes, or you will be slow, and that will take an opportunity for bad-minded people to vent on you and hurt your feelings! 

Be a team player, and don’t push back when someone is trying to take advantage of you! You are the new guy, and you have to prove yourself. So work harder than anyone else. That is how you earn respect. The time to push back and become a leader will come but not on your first day at work!

Setting the tables up! Be quick and efficient. With your first steps inside the restaurant, you should check a prepared table and quickly learn the setup! 

Side work! Don’t bitch about it! Don’t ask stupid questions like: “why do we have to do this?” – even if the old waiters act as they agree with you that this side work is stupid, the next thing they will do is to go and tell the managers and the other waiters that you are a crybaby and you have a big mouth!

Learn fast – believe it or not, this is what your managers want to see from you. If you show them that you are a quick learner, they will be happy with you.

Try learning by observing other waiters. Don’t ask too many questions and if you have to ask, make sure you find the right person to ask.

How do you handle stress? – during the busy hours, we all lose our cool at least a little bit. The thing is not to lose it completely, start screaming, start panicking, start blaming other people and fight. No one appreciates that! At the same time, no one wants to see you walking around like you are in the park while everyone is running like crazy and trying to do their best. Find the middle ground!

There should be no screaming, no panic, no running like a mouse. But make sure you are alert and working as fast as you can!

Sometimes in the middle of the rush, instead of running faster and faster is better to slow down and start thinking clearly! Prioritize and combine tasks, take a deep breath, and then start executing.

Prioritizing is probably the most important skill you have to learn as a new waiter. Who should you listen to, what should you do first, second, and third. Our job is a multitasking job, and we have to know which task is more important or urgent and should be done first. You learn that with experience, but it is good to know something in advance! Food is always first! So when the chef tells you to run the food for table 5, you don’t tell him I have to bring bread to table 6 first, or I have to serve the drinks for table 3 first! Run the food!

Another example is whose orders you should listen and follow! As a new waiter, you will hear a lot: Do me a favor and bring butter to table five. Set up table three! Pour some wine and water on table 8. Bring me the bread for table 6 right away! And the funny thing is that you will hear this in a matter of 30 seconds from three different people! What do you do?

First of all, remember your position and your role on the team! That is your priority! If you are a food runner and the kitchen is stuck with ready meals, would you go and pour some water and wine on table 8? It will be very unwise! 

Concentrate! As a new waiter, you will be scared, insecure, and anxious most of the time, and that will make you think about thousands of things that you don’t need to worry about while you are on the floor. Concentrate on the job in front of you. Forget the problems with your girlfriend/boyfriend or the game last night. It is not easy but keep reminding yourself that!

Mistakes – get this in your head: You will make mistakes no matter how well prepared you are. The thing is to minimize them by being prepared. Then when you make a mistake don’t feel embarrassed and don’t blame yourself! Don’t even skip a beat! Take it as a learning experience. Apologize sincerely to the guest or to the waiter you have done wrong and move on! That doesn’t mean you can keep making mistake after mistake and not giving a freak about it! Or do the same mistake over and over again and go on with your business! Frankly said you will get fired on your first day if you do that! That will mean that you are simply careless, and you don’t put your heart and mind into this job!

All those are waitressing tips for beginners but I know many experienced waiters that could have good use of them! Working in a new restaurant for the first time is very stressful even if you are someone with a lot of experience. For a girl who will go on her first day as a waitress is totally frightening! I hope that with this tutorial and the preparation you will put in, your first day will be much easier and successful!

Now that you have learned how to be a good waitress with no experience, you are much better prepared to hit the floor and start your career.

Best of luck and don’t hesitate to ask questions or comment!



  • Ali
    March 22, 2020

    It is really good ……

    • Ned
      March 28, 2020

      Thanks, Ali, I appreciate that!

  • Ssekazi Geofrey
    August 21, 2021

    Good lesson.

    • Ned
      June 5, 2022

      Thanks a lot, Geofrey

  • Gangadhar saw
    October 11, 2021

    I have been working in f&b 6 years never explain about what is waiter.
    Now read I very inspired sir !
    I have decided that I follow you and increase my memory .
    Because my culture is wilde man never think Not my family educated me for that . Now working in Mumbai .

    • Ned
      October 27, 2021

      Hello Gangadhar, I am glad you are ready to learn and grow in this business! I am always ready to help! Best of luck in the future and never stop learning and improving!

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