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Not surprisingly, some aspect of the natural sciences will run through the Naturalist's interests - from ecological awareness to nutrition and health. People with an interest in horticulture, land usage and farming (including fish) are Naturalists.

Some Naturalists focus on animals rather than plants, and may enjoy working with, training, caring for, or simply herding them. Other Naturalists will prefer working with the end result of nature's produce - the food produced from plants and animals. Naturalists like solving problems with solutions that show some sensitivity to the environmental impact of what they do. They like to see practical results and prefer action to talking and discussing.

Salary Range
€18k - €24k
Career Zone

In Brief...

Works in a hotel, coffee shop, restaurant or any other place that serves food and drink. They prepare tables, take orders, serve food and drink, and clear tables.


  • Customer and Personal Service Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Sales and Marketing Knowledge of principles and methods for showing, promoting, and selling products or services. This includes marketing strategy and tactics, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
  • Food Production Knowledge of techniques and equipment for planting, growing, and harvesting food products (both plant and animal) for consumption, including storage/handling techniques.
  • Administration and Management Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.


  • Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Service Orientation Actively looking for ways to help people.
  • Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Social Perceptiveness Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
  • Coordination Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.

In Summary - Waiter / Waitress

Career Sectors

Waiter / Waitress s typically work in the following Career Sectors:

Restaurants and Nightlife
Food & Beverages
Restaurants and Nightlife
Tourism & Hospitality
Events and Conferences 
Tourism & Hospitality
Seasonal Work in Tourism
Tourism & Hospitality

Videos on the Web

Further Information

The Work - Waiter / Waitress

Before a restaurant is open or before the guests arrive at a function (such as a wedding) the waiting staff may have several jobs to do. They might have to lay out the tables. In some cases they may have to move tables around, but more often it will mean putting out tablecloths, napkins, cutlery, crockery and table decorations. The cutlery might have to be polished and in some cases the waiting staff might have to make table decorations. They must also ensure that each table has a full set of condiments, i.e. salt, pepper etc.  
If people have to sit in certain places, like at a function, the waiting staff might have to put out the name cards at each place. They will also have to check that there are enough menus available and that any other equipment they use (trays, serving trolleys, warmers) are clean and ready.  
Once the restaurant is open or guests start to arrive the waiting staff help to make sure people feel comfortable. They might show people to their tables and hang up their coats, though sometimes this is the job of a head waiter/waitress.  
When people sit down the waiting staff show them a menu and ask if they would like a drink. They will tell the customers what special offers or dishes are available for that day. The waiting staff takes orders for meals and explains any unusual items on the menu. The orders are written on a pad and handed in to the kitchen. A waiter/waitress usually looks after a set area or group of tables. This group is called a Station.  
A Waiter/Waitress should know the items on the menu and how they are prepared. They should also be able to recommend the appropriate wines/drinks to complement the meal.  
While people are eating, the waiting staff need to stay alert in case the diners ask for anything else, and they should be ready to refill drinks glasses. Once the meal is over the staff clear the table, serve teas and coffees, and present the customers with their bill. When the guests leave the staff may need to re-set the table. In some places the waiting staff may have to deal with payments for meals, in the form of cash or credit card payments.  
When the function ends or the restaurant closes the waiting staff clear the tables and put the linen aside for washing. They polish and put away the cutlery and generally help to tidy up.  
Some staff specialise in servi

Most commonly reported Work Tasks

  • Check with customers to ensure that they are enjoying their meals and take action to correct any problems.
  • Collect payments from customers.
  • Write patrons' food orders on order slips, memorize orders, or enter orders into computers for transmittal to kitchen staff.
  • Prepare checks that itemize and total meal costs and sales taxes.
  • Take orders from patrons for food or beverages.
  • Check patrons' identification to ensure that they meet minimum age requirements for consumption of alcoholic beverages.
  • Serve food or beverages to patrons, and prepare or serve specialty dishes at tables as required.
  • Present menus to patrons and answer questions about menu items, making recommendations upon request.
  • Clean tables or counters after patrons have finished dining.
  • Prepare hot, cold, and mixed drinks for patrons, and chill bottles of wine.

Most commonly reported Work Activities

  • Performing for or Working Directly with the Public Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
  • Performing General Physical Activities Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.
  • Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
  • Selling or Influencing Others Convincing others to buy merchandise/goods or to otherwise change their minds or actions.
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
  • Handling and Moving Objects Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
  • Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
  • Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
  • Training and Teaching Others Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.

Interests - Waiter / Waitress

This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:


The Social person's interests focus on interacting with the people in their environment. In all cases, the Social person enjoys the personal contact with other people in preference to the impersonal dealings with things, data and ideas found in other groups.

Many will seek out positions where there is direct contact with the public in some advisory role, whether a receptionist or a counsellor. Social people are motivated by an interest in different types of people and like diversity in their work environments. Many are drawn towards careers in the caring professions and social welfare area, whilst others prefer teaching and other 'informing' roles.


Enterprising people like situations that involve using resources for personal or corporate economic gain. Such people may have an opportunistic frame of mind, and are drawn to commerce, trade and making deals. Some pursue sales and marketing occupations. Many will eventually end up owning their own business, or in management roles in larger organisations. They tend to be very goal-oriented and work best when focused on a target. Some have an entrepreneurial inclination.


Administrative people are interested in work that offers security and a sense of being part of a larger process. They may be at their most productive under supervisors who give clear guidelines and while performing routine tasks in a methodical and reliable way.

They tend to enjoy clerical and most forms of office work, where they perform essential administrative duties. They often form the backbone of large and small organisations alike. They may enjoy being in charge of office filing systems, and using computers and other office equipment to keep things running smoothly. They usually like routine work hours and prefer comfortable indoor workplaces.


This can be a very busy job, full of pressure. Customers can sometimes be rude. As waiting staff you are the public face of a restaurant or cafe, so it can often be down to you whether people will come back or will recommend the place to their friends.  
With all that in mind you need to have energy and stamina for this job. You will be on your feet all the time, walking a lot and carrying plates and trays.  
A waiter/waitress should be able to think fast and have a good memory. It helps to have an outgoing personality, but at the very least you should be polite and friendly, and able to communicate clearly. You should like food as well as people - customers might ask for your recommendation so it helps to know something about what is on the menu.  
You need to have a good eye for detail, to ensure that tables are laid correctly and that the food delivered to the table matches the order of the customer. You need to be conscious of food hygiene and safety when lifting heavy or hot items.

Entry Requirements - Waiter / Waitress

Pay & Salary - Waiter / Waitress

Salary Range (thousands per year)* €18k - €24k

Data Source(s):
Excel Recruitment Hotel and Catering Salary Survey 2019

Last Updated: May, 2019

* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.

Labour Market Updates - Waiter / Waitress

Employment growth has been strong for these occupations; however, churn is also a significant factor resulting in an over-representation in the vacancy data. While demand has grown, no specific qualification is required for the majority of these roles and, therefore, supply can be drawn from the total labour market. Indeed, there were over 3,000 job ready job seekers in August 2018, who had previously been employed in these occupations.

National Skills Bulletin 2018

Useful Contacts - Waiter / Waitress

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