How Many Hours do Restaurant Waiters/Waitresses Work?

As a former chef who was had my fair share of arguments and used curse words at their blind stupidty….you may often find yourself in a restaurant, cafe, and hotel dining rooms seeing them running around like headless chickens.

You have probably noticed waiters and waitresses working tirelessly to offer you the best service possible.

Read on to discover an unbiased opinion on everything you need to know about the hours that restaurant waiters and waitresses work.

Restaurant Waiter and Waitresses Shifts

Waiter serving food at a restaurant.
Waiter serving food at a restaurant.

Many restaurants provide a flexible working schedule for their waitstaff, as you could hardly find an able bodied server that would show up and work!

The shifts available for restaurant servers include breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, and other occasional extended shifts during busy holiday seasons or events.

A typical restaurant shift range from 4-8 hours. A shift might begin at the opening of the restaurant and end near the close.

The most common shift times are 7 am- 2 pm for breakfast or brunch, 11 am – 4 pm for lunch, and 4 pm- close for dinner.

How Long Do Waitresses and Waiters Typically Work?

Servers at the pass.
Servers at the pass.

Wait staff typically work between 25-30 hours per week, but this varies according to the restaurant size, volume of customers, availability of staff, days of operation, and restaurant management policy.

Some restaurants also offer split shifts where the servers work in the morning and the evening, with a few spare hours during the day.

Others prefer that their staff work only during peak hours, which may include weekends and holidays.

The Average Working Hours

According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average working hours for a restaurant waiter is 26.4 hours per week.

This equals approximately 4-5 shifts per week, with each shift lasting for about 5 hours on average.

Additional Duties

Wait staff also perform additional duties delegated to them by their restaurant manager, including cleaning, setting up the restaurant, preparing tables, and other restaurant chores that need to get done before and after shifts.

In some instances, waitstaff may be asked to promote special deals or to sell certain specials to guests.

Breaks During Shifts

Most restaurant owners provide mandatory breaks, but the time length varies depending on the restaurant’s policy and location.

Many restaurants follow the federal and state break requirements, which stipulate a 30-minute unpaid break for every six hours of work.

A hell of a lot longer than chefs would ever get – we were basically starved half the time! Sorry, I said I would be unbiased…

FAQs

How long do restaurant waitresses and waiters work?

Wait staff typically work between 25-30 hours per week, but this varies according to the restaurant size, volume of customers, availability of staff, days of operation, and restaurant management policy.

What are the additional duties of restaurant wait staff?

Wait staff perform additional duties including cleaning, setting up the restaurant, preparing tables, and other restaurant chores that need to get done before and after shifts.

Do restaurant waitstaff get breaks during their shifts?

Most restaurant owners provide mandatory breaks, but the time length varies depending on the restaurant’s policy and location.

Summary

In summary, restaurant waiters work between 25-30 hours per week, with each shift ranging from 4-8 hours.

This is influenced by the restaurant size, volume of customers, availability of staff, days of operation, and restaurant management policy.

Waitstaff perform additional duties apart from serving customers and get mandatory work breaks as required by federal and state laws.

Norah Clark

Norah Clark

Norah Clark, the founder and editor of YummyTasteFood! She's a seasoned food writer and editor with over a decade of experience in the hospitality industry as a former pastry chef, sous chef, and barista. When not writing about food, she explores new recipes or travels the world for culinary inspiration.