Filling restaurant jobs is one of the most challenging aspects of running your business. High turnover rates and intense competition mean that restaurant staff are constantly coming and going. In fact, the average tenure of a server is just 56 days!
Knowing what roles you need, why they’re important, and how to advertise them will help you find the right people for your restaurant.
In this guide to restaurant jobs you’ll learn:
Are you ready to form your dream team?
No industry is immune to automation. Chicago dim sum chain Wow Bao has a fully automated outpost. In Boston, machines replace cooks at Spyce. Fortunately, these restaurants are notable exceptions rather than the norm, for the time being. People are still an essential part of the hospitality experience.
Why? For starters, you need the correct restaurant staff to provide an adequate guest experience. If your full service restaurant (FSR) didn’t have bussers, your servers would have to play double duty and would inevitably neglect their number one purpose, which is making sure guests’ needs are met.
Missing roles do more than impact the guest experience – they also slow down operations. Let’s say that one of your line cooks calls in sick and you don’t have any replacements you can call on short notice. Without enough cooks in the kitchen, your customers might have to wait half an hour for “fast” food at your quick service restaurant (QSR).
Efficient restaurant staffing can really make or break the guest experience!
So who do you need in your restaurant? We’re sharing all of the restaurant roles you’ll ever need, plus job descriptions for each one.
For your convenience, we’ve divided our list into three categories: general restaurant roles (ones that apply to any type of venue), QSR roles, and FSR roles.
These are the restaurant jobs that are universally relevant.
Why the role is important: A restaurant’s general manager makes sure that business operations run smoothly. This role serves as the glue that brings together the restaurant owner and employees.
Sample restaurant manager job description: A restaurant’s general manager, or GM, is responsible for overseeing operations. Duties include hiring and training staff, performing employee evaluations, bookkeeping, ordering inventory, and leading initiatives to grow the business, like marketing campaigns and partnerships.
Top characteristics for a restaurant general manager:
Why the role is important: The assistant manager serves as the general manager’s right hand ally.
Sample restaurant manager job description: The assistant manager supports the general manager through a variety of tasks. Assistant managers may be asked to lead internal initiatives like running staff meetings, creating employee schedules, keeping track of inventory, assisting with hiring. Assistant managers also support external initiatives like executing marketing campaigns and interacting with customers.
Top characteristics for an assistant manager:
Why the role is important: The executive chef is in charge of the kitchen!
Sample executive chef job description: The executive chef is responsible for all aspects of the food that comes out of the restaurant’s kitchen. This includes overseeing kitchen operations, planning the menu, developing recipes, and hiring back-of-house (BOH) staff.
Top characteristics for a Chef:
Why the role is important: The sous chef is to the executive chef what an assistant manager is to the GM.
Sample sous chef job description: While the executive chef is the kitchen’s strategy mastermind, the sous chef is responsible for executing the daily activities that are necessary in order to make that vision come to life. These tasks can include training and overseeing BOH staff, managing inventory, and preparing food, as needed.
Top characteristics for a Sous Chef:
Why the role is important: Prep cooks do the groundwork in the kitchen to make the jobs of their teammates easier.
Sample prep cook job description: A prep cook’s responsibilities include preparing food by washing produce and raw goods, chopping ingredients, and setting up cooking stations. Prep cooks are also responsible for storing food safely and cleaning up workstations.
Top characteristics for a prep cook:
Why the role is important: A line cook picks up where the prep cook leaves off by executing orders.
Sample line cook job description: Line cooks are assigned to a cooking station (grilling, sauteing, frying, etc.) and are responsible for working with their teammates to execute orders in a timely manner.
Top characteristics for a Line Cook:
Why the role is important: Dishwashers are the unsung heroes of the kitchen. They make sure that your guests have something clean to eat off of.
A sample of a job description for the role: A restaurant dishwasher’s main role is cleaning dishes, silverware, and glassware after guests have used it. They are responsible for keeping the dishwashing station clean and safe to use. Dishwashers may also play a role in cleaning food preparation surfaces, setting tables, keeping dishes organized, and managing dish inventory.
Top characteristics for a dishwasher:
QSRs require roles that aren’t needed in other restaurant settings. These are the roles you need at a quick service restaurant and sample job descriptions for them.
Why the role is important: As the primary front-of-house role, cashiers are the face of the business at QSRs.
A sample of a job description for the role: Cashiers are responsible for serving customers by greeting them, taking their orders, and answering questions about menu items. Cashiers are also in charge of financial duties like processing payments, manning the POS system, and managing the cash box.
Top characteristics for a cashier:
Why the role is important: Baristas give the people what they want (coffee!) while working a back-of-house role that is uniquely positioned at the front of the house.
Sample barista job description: Baristas are responsible for fulfilling orders at cafes, often in high-pressure environments. They must be able to operate an espresso machine and prepare coffee and espresso beverages (bonus points for latte art). Baristas may also be required to heat up food for customers.
Top characteristics for a barista:
Why the role is important: As the faces of the full service restaurant industry, servers are responsible for the customer experience.
Sample server job description: A restaurant server has many responsibilities including welcoming customers, taking beverage and food orders, conducting satisfaction checks, placing orders using the POS, serving as liaison between the kitchen and customers if there are any problems, and collecting payments for meals. Servers should be knowledgeable about menu items and be able to answer questions about ingredients and dietary restrictions.
Top characteristics for a server:
Why the role is important: The host, known as the “maître d’” in fine dining establishments, is the first person a customer interacts with when they enter a restaurant, so they set the tone for the customer’s meal.
A sample of a job description for the role: Hosts are responsible for creating an excellent first impression for guests. They need to greet customers warmly and promptly find them seats, usually by using the POS or reservation management system. Hosts must also answer any questions for walk-ins. They take reservations over the phone and handle incoming online reservations. Hosts also manage the waitlist, which involves setting guest expectations during busy wait times.
Top characteristics for a host:
Why the role is important: Bartenders fulfill lucrative drink orders… and sometimes play the role of therapist to guests.
Bartender job description: A bartender, or bar manager, is responsible for developing and executing your bar’s beverage program. They must have classic cocktail recipes memorized in order to fulfill beverage orders quickly. Bartenders fulfill orders from customers seated at the bar and orders that are placed by servers.
Top characteristics for a bartender:
Why the role is important: The barback assists the bartender to ensure that bar operations run smoothly and the bartender never runs out of supplies.
A sample of a job description for the role: Barbacks assist bartenders by preparing garnishes, keeping track of ice, restocking inventory, and washing glassware. While this role is customer-facing, barbacks do not typically interact with customers.
Top characteristics for a barback:
Why the role is important: Bussers are behind-the-scenes magicians that make servers look good.
A sample of a job description for the role: A busser’s main duty is clearing dishes off of tables after customers have finished eating or between courses. A good busser will clear a table as unobtrusively as possible. Sometimes bussers are also responsible for refilling glasses of water.
Top characteristics for a busser:
Why the role is important: Runners are the unsung heroes of the front of the house. They bring customers their meals and beverages.
A sample of a job description for the role: Runners are responsible for taking food and drinks from the kitchen or bar and bringing them to customers. Runners should be familiar with the menu in order to be able to correctly identify dishes and serve them to customers.
Top characteristics for a runner:
Why the role is important: The expeditor is particularly important at busy times. While they don’t take orders, they help keep food flowing from the kitchen to hungry diners!
A sample of a job description for the role: The expeditor – or the expo – is responsible for ensuring that food is prepared and delivered well and efficiently. Not only do they deliver the food, but also ensure it has been properly prepared. Expeditors should work well in a fast-paced environment and be familiar with the menu to ensure dishes are up to standard.
Top characteristics for a runner:
Restaurants are dynamic businesses that employ many people. In fact, there are a whopping 15.3 million restaurant employees in the U.S. alone!
Even with so many people in the industry, it can still be a challenge finding the right people to work at your restaurant. Whether you are building your dream team from scratch or are looking to add or replace several roles, understanding what roles you need, and being able to write comprehensive job descriptions for them will help you get on the right track.