What Skills Do I Need as a Cocktail Waitress?

A.E. Freeman

The most important skill to have as a cocktail waitress is the ability to communicate with people in a friendly manner. You should also have a good memory so that you can remember orders and faces. Good balance and an ability to move quickly are other essential waitressing skills. In some instances, you may need to know how to prepare some cocktails or drinks.

Martinis are a common drink that a cocktail waitress might serve.
Martinis are a common drink that a cocktail waitress might serve.

When you work as a cocktail waitress, in a lot of cases your income comes from tips left by customers. You need to be friendly and helpful to customers so that they want to leave you tips. Having the ability to chat with people at the restaurant or bar and learn frequent customers' names are two other important skills to have. Learning customer's names increases the likelihood that they will return to your restaurant.

Politeness is a key factor for a cocktail server to have.
Politeness is a key factor for a cocktail server to have.

Politeness is another key skill for a cocktail server to have. Even if a customer is extremely rude to you, you should stay calm and remain polite to him. As you are most likely working with alcohol, you need to know how to handle situations when a customer has had too much to drink or when a customer who is under age wants to drink.

A cocktail server should have good math skills as well as an upbeat personality.
A cocktail server should have good math skills as well as an upbeat personality.

As a cocktail waitress, you also need to have good memory skills. You not only need to remember each customer's drink order long enough to place it, but you need to remember who ordered what when you deliver the cocktails to avoid embarrassment. A good memory also helps you learn regular customers' names and faces.

Some cocktail servers work at a night club, casino or similar establishment.
Some cocktail servers work at a night club, casino or similar establishment.

As part of the job is carrying trays of beverages to customers through an often crowded area, you need to have balance, strength, and agility to work as a cocktail waitress. You want to avoid knocking over the tray you are carrying or spilling a drink on a customer. Trays of glasses full of liquid can become very heavy, so you need to be able to lift a certain amount of weight. If serving food is part of the job, you will need to lift trays loaded down with plates and other dishes.

Waitresses often highlight specialties of the chef.
Waitresses often highlight specialties of the chef.

You also need to be familiar with alcoholic beverages and the menu of your establishment to work as a cocktail waitress. If a customer asks you what is in a drink or what is in a food item, you should be able to tell him easily. At some restaurants, cocktail waitresses may also be responsible for getting simple drinks, such as bottled beer, draught beer, or wine. In other cases, you may be expected to mix the cocktails yourself.

A cocktail waitress should be familiar with wine pouring and serving techniques.
A cocktail waitress should be familiar with wine pouring and serving techniques.
Once on the job, the server needs to learn about various types of seasonal and craft beers.
Once on the job, the server needs to learn about various types of seasonal and craft beers.

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