What are the general duties of someone who works in a restaurant, cafe or in a similar job that involves serving food to the public?
Some of the main duties of servers in restaurants, bars, cafes/coffee shop, fast food restaurant, cafeterias, food trucks, or other locations that serve food to customers include:
- Greet customers.
- Provide information to customers about the meals, including ingredients in the meal to assist with dietary needs/restrictions, etc.
- Provide necessary information to those preparing the food.
- Maintain food and kitchen hygiene.
- Carry and serve drinks and meals.
- Prepare bills and process the method of payment.
- Work with computers, and other electronic devices.
- Be aware of customer actions while on the premises (e.g., be alert to potential issues or acts of theft).
Please also see the occupational profile about cooks, as other health and safety hazards may be present if the server spends time in the kitchen or cooking area.
What are some health and safety issues for servers?
- Food and kitchen hygiene.
- Standing or walking for long hours.
- Lifting or carrying heavy trays.
- Risk of burns from dishes, meals, or drinks that are hot.
- Repetitive manual tasks or working in awkward positions.
- Risk of back injury from pushing, pulling or lifting objects.
- Injuries from sharp objects, knives, scissors, blades, box cutters, etc.
- Exposure to various chemicals, which may include paints, solvents, pesticides, perfumes, or cleaning products.
- Indoor air quality.
- Slips, trips and falls.
- Risk of violent attack.
- Working alone.
- Handling money.
- Fire or other emergencies.
- Fatigue or other health effects of shift work or extended work days.
- Exposure to common viruses such as colds and seasonal influenza.
What are some preventive measures for servers?
- Wash hands frequently.
- Learn safe lifting procedures.
- Learn fire safety and emergency evacuation procedures, including how to assist customers when evacuating.
- Learn how to use equipment and tools safely.
- Avoid awkward body positions and take frequent breaks.
- Wear appropriate footwear and other personal protective equipment when needed.
- Keep all work areas clear of clutter.
- Establish good housekeeping practices.
- Learn safe handling and storage procedures before working with hazardous products.
- Know how to react in a negative or violent situation.
- Do not exceed the capacity of the shelves when storing food or supplies.
- Do not block fire exits and fire extinguishers.
- Know where the first-aid kit is located and how to contact first aid responders.
- Know how to report hazards.
What are some good general safe work practices?
- Practice safe lifting.
- Find ways to minimize musculoskeletal disorders on the job.
- Inspect the work area before each shift.
- Exercise caution when working with knives and other sharp equipment.
- Follow company safety rules.
- Participate in Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) education and training. Follow labels and read the safety data sheet (SDS) for any hazardous product that you use and follow recommended safety precautions.
- Know how to report a hazard and near miss.
- Follow good housekeeping procedures.
- Use hand washing to reduce the risk of common infections.
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Although every effort is made to ensure the accuracy, currency and completeness of the information, CCOHS does not guarantee, warrant, represent or undertake that the information provided is correct, accurate or current. CCOHS is not liable for any loss, claim, or demand arising directly or indirectly from any use or reliance upon the information.