Waiter/Waitress Kaitiaki Tēpu Kai

Waiters/waitresses serve food and drinks in restaurants, hotels, clubs and other eating places.

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Waiters/waitresses may do some or all of the following:

  • serve food and drinks
  • set and prepare tables for customers
  • hand out menus and wine lists
  • answer questions about the menu and take orders
  • clear tables and clean the restaurant
  • clean and polish cutlery and glasses
  • restock food and drinks.

Physical Requirements

Waiters/waitresses need:

  • to have a clean and tidy appearance
  • to be reasonably fit and healthy as they are on their feet all day.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for waiters/waitresses includes:

  • restaurant, cafe or catering work
  • work involving customer service
  • retail work.

Personal Qualities

Waiters/waitresses need to be:

  • friendly, helpful and polite
  • good at serving people
  • good at remembering things
  • able to work well under pressure
  • quick, efficient and organised
  • reliable and punctual
  • able to communicate and work well in a team.


Waiters/waitresses need to have:

  • knowledge about menu items and wine
  • food and drink service skills
  • knowledge of food health and safety
  • selling skills.



  • work full or part-time hours, and may work evenings and weekends
  • work in the dining areas of restaurants, hotels, clubs and other places where food and drink is served
  • spend a lot of time on their feet, in environments that can be noisy and stressful.

Waiter/Waitresss can earn around $23-$24 per hour.

Waiters/waitresses usually earn between minimum wage and $24 an hour.

They may also receive tips from customers, but the cafe/restaurant manager decides if the tips are kept by individuals or divided equally among staff.

Source: Trade Me Salary Guide, 2022.

Waiters/waitresses may progress to senior roles, such as cafe/restaurant manager or maitre d'hotel.

Years Of Training

There are no specific requirements for waiters/waitresses as training is done on the job.

Waiters/waitresses can also study towards a New Zealand Certificate in Hospitality (Food and Beverage) (Level 3) while working.

You can also train to be a steward (similar to waiter/waitress) with the Defence Force.