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Career and Education Opportunities for Waiters in Chicago, Illinois

Waiters can find both educational opportunities and jobs in the Chicago, Illinois area. About 79,930 people are currently employed as waiters in Illinois. By 2016, this is expected to grow 16% to 92,360 people employed. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for waiters are expected to grow by about 6.4%. In general, waiters take orders and serve food and beverages to patrons at tables in dining establishment.

Waiters earn approximately $7 hourly or $16,470 yearly on average in Illinois. Nationally they average about $8 hourly or $16,660 annually. Incomes for waiters are not quite as good as in the overall category of Service in Illinois, and not quite as good as the overall Service category nationally. People working as waiters can fill a number of jobs, such as: cashier and waiter/waitress, cocktail waitress, and room service waiter.

The Chicago area is home to 180 schools of higher education, including two within twenty-five miles of Chicago where you can get a degree as a waiter. Waiters usually hold a high school diploma or GED, so it will take only a short time to learn to be a waiter if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Waiter

Waiter video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, waiters take orders and serve food and beverages to patrons at tables in dining establishment.

Waiters check with patrons to insure that they are enjoying their meals and take action to fix any problems. They also remove dishes and glasses from tables or counters, and take them to kitchen for cleaning. Equally important, waiters have to stock service areas with supplies such as coffee and linens. They are often called upon to clean tables or counters after customers have finished dining. They are expected to fill salt and napkin containers. Finally, waiters ready hot and mixed drinks for customers, and chill bottles of wine.

Every day, waiters are expected to be able to listen to and understand others in meetings. They need to articulate ideas and problems. It is also important that they speak clearly.

It is important for waiters to take orders from customers for food or beverages. They are often called upon to garnish and decorate dishes in preparation for serving. They also write customers' food orders on order slips or enter orders into computers for transmittal to kitchen staff. They are sometimes expected to describe and recommend wines to patrons. Somewhat less frequently, waiters are also expected to perform food preparation duties such as preparing salads and cold dishes, portioning desserts, and brewing coffee.

Waiters sometimes are asked to explain how various menu items are prepared, describing ingredients and cooking methods. and escort patrons to their tables. And finally, they sometimes have to bring wine selections to tables with appropriate glasses, and pour the wines for patrons.

Like many other jobs, waiters must have strong self control in the face of challenging situations and be reliable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Chicago include:

  • Counter Clerk. Serve food to diners at counter or from a steam table.
  • Dining Room Attendant. Facilitate food service. Clean tables, carry dirty dishes, replace soiled table linens; set tables; replenish supply of clean linens, silverware, and dishes; supply service bar with food, and serve water, butter, and coffee to patrons.
  • Food Service Aide. Perform a variety of food preparation duties other than cooking, such as preparing cold foods and shellfish, slicing meat, and brewing coffee or tea.
  • Host Coordinator. Welcome patrons, seat them at tables or in lounge, and help ensure quality of facilities and service.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Waiter Training

College of Lake County - Grayslake, IL

College of Lake County, 19351 W Washington St., Grayslake, IL 60030-1198. College of Lake County is a large college located in Grayslake, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 16,359 students. College of Lake County has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Food Service, Waiter/Waitress, & Dining Room Management/Manager which graduated three and four students respectively in 2008.

Harper College - Palatine, IL

Harper College, 1200 W Algonquin Rd, Palatine, IL 60067-7398. Harper College is a large college located in Palatine, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,250 students. Harper College has a less than one year program in Food Service, Waiter/Waitress, & Dining Room Management/Manager which graduated seven students in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Preventing Disease Transmission: A two-hour training module for employers and employees who, while on the job, may be exposed to blood or other body fluids that could cause infection.

For more information, see the American Red Cross website.

ServSafe Alcohol: The ServSafe Alcohol program outlines effective responsible alcohol service practices for all front-of-the-house staff, including bartenders, waiters, hosts, busers, security and valets.

For more information, see the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation website.

LICENSES

COCKTAIL WAITRESS

Licensing agency: Illinois Gaming Board
Address: Willard Ice Building, P.O. Box 19474, Springfield, IL 62794-9474

Phone: (312) 814-4700
Website: Illinois Gaming Board

SERVER (RESTAURANT)

Licensing agency: Illinois Gaming Board
Address: Willard Ice Building, P.O. Box 19474, Springfield, IL 62794-9474

Phone: (312) 814-4700
Website: Illinois Gaming Board

LOCATION INFORMATION: Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois photo by Dschwen

Chicago is situated in Cook County, Illinois. It has a population of over 2,853,114, which has shrunk by 1.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Chicago, 114, is well above the national average. New single-family homes in Chicago are valued at $200,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred eighty-one new homes were built in Chicago, down from eight hundred seventy the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Chicago are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 35 minutes. More than 25.5% of Chicago residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Chicago is 11.6%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.

The percentage of Chicago residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 57.6%, is more than both the national and state average. Southlawn United Methodist Church, Southern Missionary Baptist Church and Lakeside Evangelical Church are all churches located in Chicago. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the Lutheran Church.

Chicago is home to the Five Crossings and the Wrigley Field as well as Monticello Park and Wilson Playground. Shopping centers in the area include Lincoln Village Shopping Center, Market Place at Six Corners Shopping Center and Kimbark Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Chicago can choose from Extended Stay America, Embassy Suites Lakefront and Cottage Inn for temporary stays in the area.