11 Restaurant Job Descriptions to Help You Hire & Keep Great Staff

Turnover may be the norm in the service industry, but with the right restaurant job descriptions you can set expectations early and build a great team.

14 min read
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In an industry known for high turnover, it’s unavoidable that you’ll often be recruiting for key restaurant positions. Recruitment is expensive. The hard costs — such as spending time creating and sharing job postings, screening candidates, conducting background checks, and training new employees — only amount to about 33% of total turnover costs. The other 67% are soft costs related to a loss of productivity, efficiency, knowledge, and morale.

So when you must once again place the “We’re Hiring” sign in the window, it’s important to have strategies in place to speed things along. With the cost of living continuing to rise, an easy way to attract applicants is to calculate the living wage in your area and make sure you’re paying it. That’s how Kwini Reed of Poppy + Rose in Los Angeles stays competitive when hiring.

Kwini Reed

We're making sure that we're keeping up and paying above minimum wage — not just the minimum, but above that, making sure that everything is fair.

Kwini Reed, Owner, Poppy + Rose

And, of course, having a repertoire of restaurant job descriptions on standby can save you a lot of time and energy, while helping you find the right employees-to-be. Here are eleven copy templates for the restaurant positions business owners often need to fill.

Your on-demand restaurant job descriptions

Putting your own personal stamp on restaurant job descriptions can help differentiate your business to applicants — a welcoming, memorable job description is likely to stand out from the crowd.

The following job description templates can be used as a high-level overview of what prospective employees can expect in each role. We recommend you then add specific bullet-point details to your job listings — including desired years of experience or qualifications, responsibilities, company core values, and benefits your restaurant offers. Have a look, and use this as a resource the next time you’re adding to your headcount.

1. Front-of-house (host) job description

First impressions can make or break a business, and that’s why the host is so important. As part of our front-of-house team, you set the tone for our guests’ entire dining experience. You greet them, lead them to their tables, and get them settled in. At the same time, you’re ready to answer calls, take reservations, and manage waitlists. Hosts are skilled communicators and multitaskers who delight in making people’s day.

2. Server job description

(A note on server vs. waiter: “server” is the more commonly used term nowadays, but some people are still searching for waitstaff jobs, so “waiter” or “waitstaff” is also an appropriate way to refer to this role.)

We value the quality of our service as much as we value the quality of our food. That’s why our servers are so vital to our restaurant. By taking and delivering orders, answering questions about dishes and dietary restrictions, and helping with food and beverage recommendations, you ensure our guests have a great time. Servers are attentive and intuitive — you know how to show up for your customers when they need you — with a knack for small details and performing under pressure.

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3. Cashier job description

Every time a guest walks through the door, they should be able to expect a friendly greeting, efficient service, and good suggestions if they have questions. That’s where you come in. As a cashier, you’re the face of the business. You provide a positive experience for customers and can process payments and operate the point-of-sale system with ease.

4. Bar manager job description

What’s the one ingredient that all the best beverages have in common? It’s a skilled bar manager. You’re so much more than a talented mixologist. You’re also a creator of inventive new cocktails, a leader who knows how to keep the liquor supply stocked and the bartenders productive, and a great conversationalist who loves connecting with guests and appreciates the value of superior customer service.

5. Expeditor (expo) job description

If you have an eye for a picture-perfect plate of food, you’re an expeditor at heart. As an expo, you don’t prep meals in the kitchen, nor do you take orders from patrons. Instead, you double-check to make sure every dish is immaculately plated and garnished, and then help the front-of-house staff get them to the right guests as efficiently as possible. This is a position for team players who can keep track of multiple moving parts.

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6. Restaurant manager job description

As a restaurant manager, you thrive in an energetic environment where no two days are the same. In the office and on the floor, you provide encouragement and advice for staff, resolve queries and concerns with customers, and keep everything running smoothly. You also support your co-workers with coaching, training, and scheduling. At your core, you’re a people person committed to making sure team members and guests feel seen and heard.

7. General manager job description

Behind every great restaurant is a great business leader, and that’s the general manager. You bring an entrepreneurial mindset to everything you do, recognizing opportunities for growth and turning ideas into action. On the people side, you excel at hiring, training, and empowering talent, as well as managing HR initiatives. On the process side, you’re as capable and comfortable overseeing an annual budget as you are steering a marketing campaign. A successful team looks to a success-driven GM to call the shots.

8. Sous chef job description

We’re looking for a team player with a passion for food. As a sous chef, you support the executive chef in running the kitchen, leading the back-of-house staff, and helping ensure every meal is prepared, plated, or packed to perfection. When the executive chef is off, you’re the one in charge — and that means your ability to manage a busy team and maintain an efficient workspace is just as crucial as your culinary skills.

9. Executive chef job description

The executive chef is both the brains and the hands behind every dish. You’re an enthusiastic leader who doesn’t just cook meals — you envision them. It’s your job to design recipes, presentations, and menu concepts, expressing your creativity through food. At the same time, you’re a highly organized leader who oversees the day-to-day operations of your kitchen and its staff to ensure every guest has an unforgettable experience.

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10. Dishwasher job description

A kitchen would be nothing without its dishwasher. When guests finish with their dishes and cutlery, and when cooks need to clean their pots and pans, you’re the hero of the hour. And while you help maintain a safe and hygienic environment for food preparation, you also get to gain firsthand experience coordinating a busy kitchen and observing tips and techniques from professional chefs.

11. To-go specialist job description

Takeout and delivery help drive our business, which is why we’re looking for a dedicated to-go specialist. You’re the wiz who can track online and phone orders as they’re called in or submitted through digital platforms. And you coordinate with the kitchen to make sure the right orders are ready at the right time, packaged properly, and sent off with the right patron or delivery service.

So you’ve filled your restaurant positions — now what?

It’s critical to provide a workplace where your new hires can feel supported and involved while imagining a future for themselves. Here are three retention ideas from restaurateurs who walk the talk.

Cross-train employees

Training your team to fill multiple roles is a win for everyone. Your employees benefit from the additional skills and professional development opportunities, and you’re prepared to staff key positions in the event of turnover.

Luciana Giangrandi

You want the same best pasta chef on sauté five nights a week. But in another sense, it’s a really exhausting station, and if you give other people the opportunity, they’re more excited to be there. So we treat it like a teaching thing, and part of our investment in the kitchen side is giving people these opportunities.

Luciana Giangrandi, Chef/Owner, Boia De

This also gives you the chance to promote from within, so that your staff can grow their culinary careers while they work for you. In fact, every team member that moved on from Giangrandi’s restaurant has either gone to a management role or started their own restaurant.

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Create a strong culture

Building a culture of education and collaboration also helps staff feel valued, validated, and engaged. “One important piece to holding onto our staff is continuous training via seminars and classes,” explains David Martinez, co-owner of Cafe La Trova and Sweet Liberty. “We do them on everything from service to knife skills, along with having a financial advisor who comes in to talk about budgeting, investing, and how to save for retirement — something many people in the hospitality industry may not have knowledge about.”

But it doesn’t necessarily have to be a big initiative to have a big impact. “Both our kitchen and bar staff have input on new items that go on our menus,” says Will Thompson, co-owner of Jaguar Sun. “It’s a collaborative effort, and everyone has the chance to showcase their talents.”

Schedule with empathy

When building out the schedule, employee happiness and work-life balance should always take priority — a practice that Mike Bausch, owner of Andolini’s restaurant group, calls scheduling with empathy.

Mike Bausch

It's extremely undervalued how directly connected a schedule is to staff morale, attrition, and retention.

Mike Bausch, Owner, Andolini's Restaurant Group

Are you ready to start your search?

Once you post your restaurant job descriptions, where can you source great candidates for your open positions? Start by asking your team. If you cultivate a positive work environment and reward your employees, they will recommend open roles to people they know and trust. Briana Valdez, founder and CEO of HomeState, also offers a retention bonus of $500 once staff has stayed on for three months, and this makes them even more likely to advocate for her business through word of mouth.

Briana Valdez

[Our retention bonus] has bred a lot of loyalty, and has encouraged our team members to tell their friends what they love about working here — which is a very authentic approach to recruiting. People like working with their friends, and it’s helped to breed a nice culture.

Briana Valdez, Founder & CEO, HomeState

Referrals can also help to expand your search beyond the typical applicant profile, which often consists of young people looking for temporary or seasonal work. “Hiring folks who are a little more senior has worked really well for us,” says Greg Dulan, owner of Dulan’s Soul Food Kitchen. “They’re wonderful employees, they’re respectful, they converse well with customers, and you can train them quickly.”

There are several online platforms where you can find candidates as well. Facebook and Craigslist are great places to connect with potential applicants, especially those seeking entry-level positions like servers and dishwashers. And you can find candidates for numerous positions — front-of-house, back-of-house, and managers — on Instagram.

General job sites such as Indeed, ZipRecruiter, and LinkedIn can serve you well, though there are also more dedicated directories for the food and hospitality industry. Here are some tried and true suggestions:

And just as there are online job boards exclusively for restaurant positions, there are also software solutions custom-built for restaurateurs to better manage their recruitment and retention operations. For example, 7shifts is a powerful all-in-one team management platform, and DoorDash partners can enjoy their first four months free.)

Restaurant job descriptions are just the beginning

Finally, familiarize yourself with the merchant benefits available through DoorDash so that when you post your job descriptions and start interviewing to fill your restaurant’s positions, you can make the best offers possible to your applicants. Learn more about DoorDash merchant benefits and discounts today.


Sara DeForest
Sara DeForest


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