Soft Skills

Waiter Minute: 5 Transferrable Soft Skills

Did you know about the valuable soft skills you can learn from being a waiter? One of the most undervalued jobs any individual can have in their lifetime is the role of a waiter. The same applies to any hospitality role for that matter, whether you are a bartender, a barista, a hostess, a sculler, a kitchen assistant to the head chef or a front of house manager. Having a proven track record of working in a high-pressure environment while being able to multitask, communicate, serve, deliver and provide exceptional customer service, is quite an impressive quality to have. 


The soft skills acquired from a seasonal or permanent position at a restaurant in Cape Town is priceless. It adds immense value to your CV, especially for students who may not have extensive work experience. Soft skills are one of the first things hiring managers look for when recruiting candidates. Regardless of whether you are looking to stay in the hospitality industry or advance into a completely different industry, there are certain life skills that only waiter experience can teach you. 


Surv’s Selection of Soft Skills: 

Team Spirit:


In the hospitality industry, waiters and waitresses will find themselves working with a number of weird and wonderful characters. Colleagues, managers, chefs, general workers and customers. Hospitality exposes you to various personalities, facilitating teamwork.  


Teamwork allows wait staff to develop strong problem solving capabilities while learning how to collaborate with colleagues. It is a critical skill that can be applied to many career verticals, showing prospective employers your flexibility and cooperation. The ability to work and contribute to a team situation is appealing and highly conducive to a positive work culture.   


Customer Service: 


As a waiter, the amount of income you walk away with at the end of a shift depends on the customer service you deliver. This requires a number of soft skills such as attention to detail, careful listening and mastering the art of small talk.


Being able to connect and communicate with customers in an engaging and authentic manner without being overbearing is an artform in itself, not to mention, an extremely tactful skill to acquire. Providing good customer service teaches one how to negotiate better as well as how and when to upsell. 


Time Management: 


Prioritising and planning are critical life skills that waiters and waitresses can apply to both their personal and professional life. As a hospitality staff member, you will quickly learn how to manage your own time, figuring out which task to tackle first before moving onto the next. 


Prepping your daily duties also helps with strong organisation skills allowing you to prepare for any given situation. While you cannot always predict the worst, you can certainly be prepared for it. 




At any given point, a waiter / waitress may find themselves taking orders, welcoming new guests, bringing menus to a new table, serving drinks, punching large orders into the POS system, printing bills, dodging children and taking down very special requests. It’s a beautiful kind of chaos that somehow pays off when you still manage to get everything right. 


The art of multi-tasking shows that you are able to shift your attention where it’s needed while still getting everything done at 100% of your capacity.


Conflict Management: 


Being able to shift gears at any given moment is an exceptionally unique and valuable skill. Diffusing a bad situation and keeping the customer and employer happy is a great way to show recruiters and hiring managers your ability to navigate through fast-paced environments. 


For more tasty Surv’ings of our monthly blog, visit our blog page and subscribe. If you are a student looking for part time work in the hospitality industry, sign up to SURV so that we can position you with the most ideal employer for on-demand shifts.


From our blog:

Hospitality Trends and on-demand staffing solutions in 2022
How to Create a Positive Culture for Hospitality Staff


For employers or job seekers looking for more information about SURV and the official release. Sign up to SURV today or follow our journey on Facebook and Instagram.    


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