What Makes a Good Restaurant Worker Overall?

Jul 1, 2021

3 restaurant workers laughing together on the job

If you’re interested in getting into the restaurant business, a good first step is to start at the beginning of the career ladder (you could begin with an app for restaurant jobs). The best way to do this is by entering the industry as an hourly restaurant employee before you move up the ranks.

However, knowing what makes a good restaurant worker is the key to success in climbing the career ladder. Unfortunately, many people don’t know what it takes to be a great restaurant worker. This means they don’t even know the first steps to ensure that “restaurant staff” is part of their career path.

Here’s a guide to making sure that you’re a great restaurant worker from the beginning.

1. An Ability to Get the Right Job

It can be harder than it seems to get the right job for your needs. Restaurant staff is a very general term, one that can encompass a variety of experiences, so you need to know what types of jobs will work with your specific skill set.

If you want to move up to being involved with restaurant managers or even a restaurant owner, you need to make sure you’re actively seeking out skills that will help you do so. Those skills aren’t just going to fall into your lap; you should talk to the owner or manager of the restaurant you’re working at to learn more about how to move up, regardless of what types of restaurant jobs you’re interested in.

2. Knowledge of How to Apply for Jobs

Obviously, if you’re going to be a restaurant worker, you need to know how to get a restaurant job. That means a lot of things, so first off you will need to make sure you:

  • Have a great cover letter
  • Are prepared so you can do well in interviews
  • Find job listings for jobs that you’re going to be good at

If you’re not sure how to do these things, you might want to consider looking up cover letter examples and a resume example or two, so you can see what other people applied for the same type of job you’re looking into. When a hiring manager sees a well-crafted cover letter or resume, they’re more likely to give it a second look.

3. A Desire for Upward Growth

To succeed as a restaurant worker, you don’t necessarily need to be more than just a staff worker. However, it is absolutely beneficial to desire upward growth.

When you’re interested in working at a successful restaurant, ideally as someone who’s driving that success, you’re more likely to put everything into your job. Even as just a general restaurant employee, you’re probably going to think more about customer experiences and customer satisfaction than you would if you thought of it as just a dead-end job.

Plus, the management tips that you can get from the restaurant managers can help you in your goal, and moving up through a single company helps cut down on job searching in the future.

4. Prior Experience

This one isn’t something you can just create, but it can be helpful nonetheless. If you have previous experience in the restaurant business, you can use that experience to apply for jobs in the future. Remember that even if this is your first-ever job in the restaurant industry, you’re building experience right now. If you ever need to apply for another job, you’ll be able to use the job you’re searching for now as prior experience.

The job searching process can feel frustrating, but rest assured knowing that this will help your resume template in the future if you ever have to get a new position.

5. Problem-Solving Skills

This is something that’s easier to create yourself than something like prior experience. Problem-solving skills can be immensely important even when you’re just a general restaurant staff member.

For example, if you notice that you’re regularly having problems with the way the line cooks receive information from your tables, you might talk to a supervisor, or you might see whether you can fix the problem on your own.

When you choose to take matters into your own hands and work things out on your own, both staff and customers will likely notice because you’ll be able to do more with your job. That in and of itself can make you more likely to get a promotion within the company.

6. Attention to Detail

When you pay attention to detail, you’re less likely to make silly mistakes. These silly mistakes won’t always cause huge problems, but they can negatively impact your day-to-day operations anyway.

Instead of worrying about mistakes that you might make due to a lack of attention to detail, you want to plan ahead and make sure you’re thinking about the ways in which problems can arise during your work as an employee.

Your attention to detail can significantly increase audience insight and customer satisfaction.

7. Leadership Skills

Even if you’re just working as a regular staff member, leadership skills can still be crucial when it comes to ensuring a high-quality experience for yourself, the members of your team, and your customers.

Even when you lead by example, you can make sure that your customers feel valued. Seeing you do this will encourage your coworkers to do the same.

Of course, if you want to do even more you can also ask your manager to give you management tips and information about effective management without intruding on their job.

8. The Ability to Communicate

Great communication definitely isn’t a skill that everyone has honed, but it can be uniquely crucial when you’re working in the restaurant industry.

Communication skills are an important part of many jobs, but when you have to store and/or access information, then tell your coworkers about that information in a way they can all understand, communication skills become even more important.

Make sure you do whatever you can to increase your communication skills to improve the dining experience.


There are many things that feed into being a better restaurant worker. From a positive attitude to a drive to succeed, restaurant workers need a lot to be the best at their job. Hone your skills in all of these areas to show the restaurant owner your desire to be the best worker possible.