Restaurant Attendant  What They Do

Just the Facts


Facilitates food service. Cleans tables, removes dirty dishes, replaces soiled table linens; sets tables; replenishes supply of clean linens, silverware, glassware, and dishes; supplies service bar with food; and serves items such as water, condiments, and coffee to patrons.

This career is part of the Hospitality and Tourism cluster Restaurants and Food/Beverage Services pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Wipes tables or seats with dampened cloths or replaces dirty tablecloths.
  • Sets tables with clean linens, condiments, or other supplies.
  • Locates items requested by customers.
  • Scrapes and stacks dirty dishes and carries dishes and other tableware to kitchens for cleaning.
  • Performs serving, cleaning, or stocking duties in establishments, such as cafeterias or dining rooms, to facilitate customer service.
  • Carries food, dishes, trays, or silverware from kitchens or supply departments to serving counters.
  • Cleans up spilled food or drink or broken dishes and removes empty bottles and trash.
  • Serves food to customers when waiters or waitresses need assistance.
  • Serves ice water, coffee, rolls, or butter to patrons.
  • Maintains adequate supplies of items such as clean linens, silverware, glassware, dishes, or trays.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 20 lbs., sometimes up to 50 lbs. You might do a lot of lifting, carrying, pushing or pulling.
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves making repetitive motions more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves standing more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves walking or running more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Bending, stretching, twisting, or reaching
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person
  • Exerting oneself physically over long periods of time without getting out of breath
  • Lifting, pushing, pulling, or carrying objects
  • Using abdominal and lower back muscles repeatedly or over time without tiring

Work Hours and Travel

  • Rotating shift work
  • Weekend work

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Bartender -- Mixes and serve alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.
  • Bartender Helper -- Cleans bar and equipment, and replenishes bar supplies, such as liquor, fruit, ice, and dishes.
  • Bus Person -- Cleans and resets tables, assists servers wherever needed, runs food and upholds the standards of guest relations.
  • Cook -- Prepares and cooks a wide variety of foods in restaurants, hotels, hospitals and other health care institutions, central food commissaries, educational institutions and other establishments.
  • Host/Hostess -- Greets arriving guests, welcomes them into the establishment and seats them.
  • Kitchen Helper -- Cleans kitchen areas and perform various other activities to assist workers who prepare or serve food and beverages.
  • Lunchroom Aide -- Watches over the students in the lunchroom and ensures that students behave in an orderly fashion.
  • Waiter/Waitress -- Takes orders and serves food and beverages to patrons in dining establishments.
  • Lunchroom Attendant --
  • Server --