When you become part of the restaurant industry, you quickly learn that the success of an establishment relies heavily on quality restaurant staff that can enrich a service experience. Whether the focus is on finding the right chefs, kitchen managers, line cooks, or hosts, the service industry reinforces the commonly-known message that there is no “I” in a team.
One position that may not garner a lot of attention is that of a food runner. Food runners can either facilitate or hinder your operation no matter what kind of elegant dishes you provide to your customers. In this guide, we’ll give you a rundown of a food runner job description, what it entails, and the qualifications needed to succeed in this role.
What Is a Food Runner?
Broadly speaking, a food runner, also known as a server assistant, operates as a middle ground worker between waiters and the kitchen staff. They are responsible for ensuring that customers receive their meals and beverages promptly and the role is often used in restaurants, bars, and catering companies.
Back-of-house teams must rely on a food runner's quickness and hospitable skills to ensure that orders get to the right customers.
Food Runner Responsibilities
The success of food runners depends on their ability to work promptly, respond to complaints, and communicate effectively with other staff members. Here are some essential duties of a food runner:
- Assist back of house team with carrying plates and beverages
- Maintain adequate knowledge of food and beverage items, including catering orders
- Assist with setting tables for incoming customers
- Provide customers with appropriate tableware such as dishes, utensils, and glassware
- Maintain sanitary rules and food safety regulations
- Double-check orders before sending them out to customers
- Ensure customers receive their requested orders on time
- Check-in with customers and respond to any additional orders
- Respond to questions and complaints diligently
- Communicate with servers, bartenders, and kitchen staff on orders and customer requests
- Help keep kitchen stations clean and properly organized
- Inform restaurant management of customer feedback or complaints to keep the operation running smoothly
If you’re wondering, “Is a food runner the same as a server?” the answer is no. While both positions overlap in some functions, there are a few distinctions between the two. Whereas food runners are responsible for delivering food and drinks, servers are much more involved with customers. They also handle taking orders and the payment process.
That said, food runners may be expected to take on additional responsibilities when problems arise. For example, when restaurants are short-staffed, food runners may be called on to serve a table or work in the kitchen.
Food Runner Skills
While each restaurant sets the prerequisites for a position as a food runner, qualified candidates must possess several skills suited for multiple day-to-day activities. Below are some of the necessary skills needed to succeed in this position:
- Take on several tasks at a time in a fast-paced environment
- Remain on their feet for several hours straight
- Be able to move and carry up to 40 pounds
- Operate quickly and effectively under high stress
- Utilize effective communication and interpersonal skills when engaging with customers and staff
- Present strong organizational skills
- Wear proper attire that reflects a good image of the restaurant
- Remain calm and display a professional attitude when dealing with unsatisfied customers
- Be able to follow guidelines and directions
- Remain flexible to schedule changes
In most cases, a high school diploma is sufficient to work in this position. Some employers even hire workers who are still in high school. While some form of restaurant or hospitality experience is preferred, it is not required for a food runner position.
Food Runner Salary
On average, the food runner salary in the United States is around $12.28 per hour, with an annual salary of about $25,536. Not surprisingly, this number changes depending on whether the runner is employed part-time or full-time. Another factor to consider is the level of experience and the state an employee works in.
Want To Work as a Food Runner? Get Started With Qwick!
Food runners are vital to the success of restaurants that strive for excellent customer service. So whether you are a business seeking additional resources for your operation or a hospitality freelancer looking to pick up additional shifts, Qwick is the resource for you.
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Whether you’re looking for shifts or trying to fill them, create a free account to get started today!