Start My Family Tree Welcome to Geni, home of the world's largest family tree.
Join Geni to explore your genealogy and family history in the World's Largest Family Tree.
view all


  • Annie Lou King (1955 - 2018)
    HAMPSTEAD — Mrs. Annie Lou Tyndall King, 63, of 685 Landing Drive, passed away Friday, July 6, 2018 at Kitty Askins Hospice Center in Goldsboro. Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. Tuesday, July 1...
  • Ruby Leonard Toon (1889 - 1972)
    Ruby Leonard Toon was born on September 13, 1889 in Fancy Farm, Kentucky. He was the son of George William and Annie May Toon nee Hobbs. He had four brothers Odie, Roy, Orville, Leon and five sisters L...
  • Annie Elizabeth Higginbotham-Benson (1927 - 2005)
  • Aletha Pauline Cobb (1926 - 2015)
    Aletha Pauline (Parsons) Cobb, 88 years old and a happy resident of Home Sweet Home in Nampa passed away early Saturday morning, January 10, 2015. Memorial services will be held at 5:00 p.m. Monday, Ja...
  • Amanda L. Cappelle (1917 - 1999)
    Amanda L. "Mandy" DiTomasso Cappelle Age 82, of Clayton Road, Wilmington, DE.Died Thursday November 25th, 1999 in the Christiana Hospital.Mrs. Cappelle was the wife of the late Raymond J. Cappelle who ...

Waiting staff (British English), waitstaff (North American English), waiters/waitresses or servers (North American English), are those who work at a restaurant or a bar and sometimes in private homes, attending to customers by supplying them with food and drink as requested. Waiting staff follow rules and guidelines determined by the manager. Waiting staff carry out many different tasks, such as taking orders, food-running, polishing dishes and silverware, helping bus tables and restocking working stations with needed supplies.

Waiting on tables is 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 people employed as servers in the U.S.

Many restaurants choose a specific uniform for their waiting staff to wear. Waiting staff may receive tips as a minor or major part of their earnings, with customs varying widely from country to country.


In large luxury establishments, there are often multiple ranks of waiting staff in the dining room:

  • Maître d'hôtel, responsible for dining room as a whole, greets guests
  • Floor manager
  • Headwaiter
  • Expeditor, or "Expo", responsible for ensuring accuracy and completeness of orders. The expeditor is also often responsible for preparing the tray for the servers so they can bring all of the plates of that course to all of the table guests at the same time
  • Captain, responsible for several tables
  • Waiter
  • Front waiter
  • Back waiter, who helps waiters refill water, replenish bread, etc.
  • Bar back, who helps a bartender by bussing, and restocking glassware and alcohol
  • Runner, who brings cooked dishes to diners
  • Busboy, busser, clears tables, sets tables

In such restaurants, the captain is typically responsible for interacting with the diners and overseeing waiters.

There are also specialists, notably a sommeliers for wine service, and occasionally a maître fromager for the cheese service. A host or hostess may be responsible for seating diners if there is not a maître d'hôtel.


The duties of waiting staff can be tedious and harsh but are vital to the economic success of restaurants. Such duties include the following: preparing a section of tables before guests sit down (e.g., changing the tablecloth, putting out new utensils, cleaning chairs, etc.); offering cocktails, specialty drinks, wine, beer, or other beverages; recommending food options; requesting the chef to make changes in how food is prepared; pre-clearing the tables; and serving food and beverages to customers. In some higher-end restaurants, servers have a good knowledge of the wine list and can recommend food–wine pairings. At more expensive restaurants, servers memorize the ingredients of the dishes and the manner in which the food is prepared; for example, if the menu lists marinated beef, the customer might ask what the beef is marinated in, for how long, and what cut of beef is used in the dish. Silver service staff are specially trained to serve at banquets or high-end restaurants. These servers follow specific rules and service guidelines, which makes this a skilled job. They generally wear black and white with a long, white apron (extending from the waist to the ankles). At expensive restaurants, waiting staff also keep blacklists of rude customers. Some waiting staff, are trained to deal with aggressive customers and how to restrain them, until security or police arrive. Also they are trained at first aid, specifically the Silver service staff.

The head server is in charge of the waiting staff and is also frequently responsible for assigning seating. The head server must insure that all staff do their duties accordingly. The functions of a head server can overlap to some degree with that of the maître d'hôtel. Restaurants in North America employ an additional level of waiting staff, known as busboys or busgirls, increasingly referred to as bussers or server assistants, to clear dirty dishes, set tables, and otherwise assist the waiting staff.

Emotional labour is often required of waiting staff, particularly at many high-class restaurants.