Food and Beverage Servers

(NOC 6513)

in All Sales and Service

Food and beverage servers take patrons' food and beverage orders and serve orders to patrons. They work in restaurants, hotels, bars, taverns, private clubs, banquet halls, and similar businesses.

Job Outlook

Good

Read more

  • Estimate Stable employment change, 2019-2021
  • Estimate 120 openings due to growth and retirements, 2018-2020
  • Estimate Moderate rate of unemployment in 2019

Compared to: All Sales and Service

  • Estimate -505 employment change, 2019-2021
  • Estimate 6125 openings due to growth and retirements, 2018-2020
  • Estimate rate of unemployment not available for these occupation.

From March until June, dining rooms, bars, and other drinking businesses were ordered to close. Restaurants could continue to sell delivery or takeout meals. Under this model, most servers were laid off, with a reduced staff remaining to complete takeout transactions. Many servers were rehired when bars and dining rooms were permitted to reopen in early June. However, occupancy and physical distancing restrictions often reduce the amount of revenue a business can generate, which may negatively affect staffing levels. As of November 2020, dining rooms in the Halifax region were forced to close for a second time due to community spread of the virus. This is expected to result in a temporary increase in the number of unemployed food and beverage servers. Employers in some communities have encountered a shortage of servers and other restaurant staff, in some cases forcing them to reduce operating hours.

Prior to COVID-19, the number of workers in food services rose during the previous several years. Demand has increased with population and income growth, as well as the rising popularity of food delivery services. There are typically many vacancies due to high turnover in this occupation. Some employers have reported occasional difficulty in filling vacancies. Going forward, employment in this occupation will be linked to the health of the food services industry overall. Many restaurants have indicated an inability to recover financially from the closure in the spring. Those normally reliant on seasonal summer revenue were particularly hard-hit by the decline in tourism. Opportunities also arise due to the turnover of businesses. While the challenges of the pandemic have caused several bars and restaurants to permanently close, there have been many announcements of new ones opening.

The median employment income for the 22% of Food and Beverage Servers who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $20,266. Across all occupations in Nova Scotia, the 59% of those who worked full-time, year-round had a median employment income of $43,600. (Source: 2016 Census)

Hourly Pay

$12.95

Minimum

$13.00

Median

$18.00

Maximum

Annual Pay

$2,992

Minimum

$11,065

Median

$24,708

Maximum

Compared to: All Sales and Service

Hourly Pay

$12.55

Minimum

$18.36

Median

$22.50

Maximum

Annual Pay

$2,949

Minimum

$16,629

Median

$45,086

Maximum

About the job

Nature of work

Food and beverage servers take patrons' food and beverage orders and serve orders to patrons. They work in restaurants, hotels, bars, taverns, private clubs, banquet halls, and similar businesses.

Job duties

Food and beverage servers:

  • Greet patrons, present menus, make recommendations and answer questions regarding food and beverages.
  • Take orders and relay to kitchen and bar staff.
  • Recommend wines that complement patrons' meals.
  • Serve food and beverages.
  • Prepare and serve specialty foods at patrons' tables.
  • Present bill to patrons and accept payment.
  • Order and maintain inventory of wines and wine glassware.
  • Perform sensory evaluation of wines.

Sample job titles

  • banquet server
  • bar service waiter/waitress
  • cocktail waiter/waitress
  • food and beverage server
  • headwaiter/headwaitress - food and beverage services
  • sommelier
  • waiter/waitress - food and beverage services
  • wine server
  • wine steward

Skills

You should be friendly, well-spoken, well-groomed, and enthusiastic about the service. Good organizational and mathematical skills are necessary. You must be pleasant to both your customers and co-workers, even when working under pressure. The ability to remember details and orders is essential. You must also be able to move gracefully and quickly. Food and beverage servers are on their feet most of the time and often have to carry heavy trays of food, dishes, and glassware, requiring physical fitness and stamina. For some positions, knowledge of a second language is an asset.

Job requirements

  • High school may be required.
  • Formal waiters/waitresses may require completion of a one- or two-year apprenticeship program or college or vocational school courses.
  • On-the-job training is usually provided.
  • Wine stewards may require courses in wine selection and service or experience as a captain waiter/waitress or formal waiter/waitress.
  • Responsible beverage service certification is usually required for employees serving alcoholic beverages.

Other considerations

These jobs are heavily influenced by tourism activity; therefore, employment levels tend to vary throughout the year and peak in the summer months. Also, many job openings are created each year as workers in these positions change jobs. However, due to the limited entry requirements, there are often many people available to fill these positions. They may work 40 hours or more per week, and many are expected to work evenings, weekends, and holidays. Tips usually supplement the wages of people employed in these jobs.

By the numbers

Quick look

5,945

employed in 2016

42.1%

employed full-time

0.8%

self employed

82.4%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
17.6%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
26.6

median age

Compared to: All Sales and Service

102,605

employed in 2016

56.4%

employed full-time

5.8%

self employed

60.1%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
39.9%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
37

median age

Where will I likely work?

51.5%

Halifax

13.1%

North Shore

13.0%

Cape Breton

11.8%

Southern

10.7%

Annapolis Valley

Compared to: All NS Occupations

47.0%

Halifax

15.6%

North Shore

12.9%

Annapolis Valley

12.7%

Cape Breton

11.8%

Southern

Top Industries of Employment

95.7%

Accommodation and food services

3.3%

Arts, entertainment and recreation

0.3%

Health care and social assistance

0.2%

Transportation and warehousing

0.2%

Educational services

What is the age of Employment?

44.0%

15-24

26.0%

25-34

12.0%

35-44

11.0%

45-54

7.0%

55-64

1.0%

65+

Compared to: All Sales and Service

30.0%

15-24

17.2%

45-54

17.2%

25-34

16.1%

55-64

13.8%

35-44

Top levels of education

46.0%

High school

$10,406 median annual income
17.2%

Bachelor

$10,598 median annual income
15.7%

College Diploma

$14,528 median annual income
13.0%

Less than high school

$8,211 median annual income
3.6%

Apprenticeship

$13,913 median annual income

Compared to: All Sales and Service

39.8%

High school

$15,705 median annual income
19.7%

Less than high school

$9,866 median annual income
19.5%

College Diploma

$20,644 median annual income
9.9%

Bachelor

$21,262 median annual income
8.0%

Apprenticeship

$21,234 median annual income

Education & training

Adult High School Siploma or Equivalent

High School Program

The Nova Scotia School for Adult Learning (NSSAL) administers, coordinates, and supports the development and delivery of adult education programs through learning partners in Nova Scotia. Our learning partners include the Nova Scotia Community College, Adult High Schools, Université Sainte-Anne, and community-based learning organizations that offer tuition-free programming across the province. NSSAL offers clear, accessible pathways from adult basic education to a high school credential or GED, empowering Nova Scotians to achieve their learning and employment goals.

Institutions providing this program

Universite Sainte-Anne

Pointe-de-l'Église, NS

Nova Scotia Community College - Adult Learning

Various, NS

Adult High Schools

Various, NS

Community Learning Organizations

Various, NS

Employment requirements & contacts

No regulating bodies were found under this occupation profile

Contacts

Restaurant Association of Nova Scotia
Halifax, NS
Nova Scotia Tourism Talent
Halifax, NS
Nova Scotia Tourism Human Resource Sector Council
Halifax, NS

Additional resources

There are no additional resources for this occupation.