Every week we comb through the news to find employment trends affecting the hospitality industry so you don’t have to. This week’s topic: how to describe a restaurant job on a resume.  

When working at a restaurant, most employees don’t realize they can learn valuable skills that will be used for the rest of their lives. These skills, which include both technical skills and soft skills, can be transferred to a variety of other positions and industries – but will also help you further your hospitality career if you choose to stay in the industry.  

Although foodservice experience is versatile it can also be challenging to figure out the best way to describe your responsibilities in a way that translates well onto your resume. Keep in mind that while there are ways to improve how you describe your duties, you should never lie about your work experience. Below, we’ll talk about how to describe a restaurant job on a resume with some useful examples.  

How to Describe a Restaurant Job on a Resume 

When describing your hospitality experience, it’s important to figure out how to articulate your responsibilities in a way that illustrates how they’re transferable to another job. Consider the “made, saved, achieved” method.  

In other words, what did you do in a past job which increased revenue or profits for your employer? Did you create a new process? Modify a procedure? What do you accomplish on daily basis which saved your employer money or time? What recognition did you receive? When learning how to describe a restaurant job on a resume, remember that you’re essentially selling your skills to prospective employers. Here are a few ways to do that: 

Find a way to quantify the work you’ve done. 

Describing your day-to-day responsibilities with numbers has a greater impact than describing it with words. In doing so, management can better understand your revenue building potential. Try using “hard facts” when deciding how to describe a restaurant job on a resume. 

For servers:
Instead of saying, “Sold food and drinks to guests.” 
Try saying, “Facilitated the purchase of $xx worth of product each shift.” 

For cooks:
Instead of saying, “Worked on the line making food.”
Try saying, “Helped manage and facilitate the production of $XX worth of various food products each shift.” 

For bartenders:
Instead of saying, “Upsold drinks and shots.” 
Try saying, “Used selling techniques to grow guests’ checks by $XX on average.”  

Relate daily responsibilities with in-demand job seeker traits. 

Some of the most desired traits hiring managers seek out include strong integrity, communication, team oriented, and flexible. What are restaurant employees if not those things? By identifying key traits prospective employers are hiring for and then relating them to previous duties, you can demonstrate how your experience fits well within your desired job.  

For servers:
Instead of saying, “Willing to help out where needed.” 
Try saying, “Was adaptable and flexible when asked to take on different requests.” 

For cooks:
Instead of saying, “Worked with kitchen manager to make sure the line ran smoothly.”
Try saying, “Used communication skills to ensure a smooth and successful line.” 

For bartenders:
Instead of saying, “Didn’t over/under pour guests.”
Try saying, “Valued personal and professional integrity by following drink recipes closely.” 

Mention any relevant leadership-type responsibilities you took on. 

Knowing you’re willing to take on more responsibilities – especially ones related to leadership/management – can be the difference between getting hired or losing the position to competition. You may be thinking to yourself, “but I don’t have any management experience.” If you’ve worked at a restaurant, it’s likely you do! Have you ever helped put together the schedule, handle guest issues, or worked as a shift leader? These all count towards management experience.  

For servers:
Instead of saying, “Showed new servers what to do.” 
Try saying, “Managed new hire training.” 

For cooks:
Instead of saying, “Did product counts at the end of the night.”
Try saying, “Helped manage closing procedures including product inventory.” 

For bartenders:
Instead of saying, “Made the bar schedule.” 
Try saying, “Communicated closely with the team to create and manage bartender schedule.” 

Whether you plan to stay in the hospitality industry or are looking for something completely new, having an up-to-date and accurate resume is the best way to make a great first impression with a prospective employer. When learning how to describe a restaurant job on a resume, be thorough when evaluating your experience. Consider the different types of ways to articulate your time spent working at a restaurant so employers understand how your skills transfer.  


Did you know that LGC doesn’t just work with clients in the hospitality industry? We service a variety of businesses in retail, warehousing, and more. Contact us today to learn how we can help you find a great new side gig or permanent position.