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Food & Beverage Servers (NOC 6513) may also be called:

  • Banquet server
  • Waiter / waitress
  • Cocktail waiter / waitress
  • Wine steward

Bartenders (NOC 6512) may also be called:

  • Barkeeper
  • Bar attendant

What Would I Do?

Food and beverage servers take food and beverage orders and serve orders to customers.

As a food and beverage server, your duties can include:

  • greeting patrons, giving menus to customers, making food and beverage recommendations and answering questions
  • taking food and beverage orders and giving them to kitchen and bar staff
  • recommending wines that match with customers’ meals
  • serving food and beverages
  • collecting and processing credit card, debit or cash payments for bills

Bartenders mix and serve alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.

As a bartender, your duties can include:

  • taking beverage orders from serving staff or directly from patrons
  • mixing liquor, soft drinks, water and other ingredients to prepare cocktails and other drinks
  • preparing mixed drinks, wine, draft or bottled beer and non-alcoholic beverages for food and beverage servers or serve directly to patrons
  • collecting payment for beverages and record sales
  • maintaining inventory and control of bar stock and order supplies
  • cleaning bar area and washing glassware
  • making sure provincial liquor legislation and regulations are followed

More information:

Am I Suited For This Job?

Food & Beverage Servers and Bartenders should have:

  • strong people skills and outgoing personality
  • excellent communication skills
  • basic math ability
  • a good memory
  • organized and able to multitask
  • good physical stamina as they work on their feet most of the time

Food & beverage servers may work either indoors or outdoors, depending on the setting and the season. Shift work and split shifts around regular meal times are common. You may also be required to work evenings, weekends and holidays, when people are more likely to dine out. During busy times, you may be pressured to work faster than usual. You may also have to deal with difficult customers or situations.

Bartenders usually work indoors. You often work evenings and weekends. Many work part-time.

Sources: Work BC & Career Cruising Database

What Are The Wages And Benefits?

Food & Beverage Servers

In British Columbia, the median annual salary for food & beverage servers is $31,284.

In BC’s regions, you can expect to make:

food & beverage servers - low, median and high hourly wages for BC regions

Table from Job Bank Wage Report

Your earnings vary depending on skills, experience, employer, location, and the number of shifts worked. Some work full-time, but a large number work part-time.

Although server’s wages are typically low, you usually receive tips from customers for good service, averaging between 10% and 20% of customer’s bill.

In some large restaurants and hotels, you belong to unions and their wage rates are negotiated by union representatives.

Bartenders

In British Columbia, the median annual salary for bartenders is $33,370.

In BC’s regions, you can expect to make:

bartenders - low, median, high hourly wages in BC regions

Table from Job Bank Wage Report

Earnings for bartenders depend on factors such as the number of hours worked, experience, and the size and location of the establishment.  You are typically paid an hourly wage—usually ranging from minimum wage to a high of about $22.00. However, a large portion of your earnings comes in the form of tips. As a result, how much you earn annually depends on your customer service skills.

Sources: WorkBC and Career Cruising

What Is The Job Outlook In BC?

Food & beverage servers:

The availability of part-time and entry-level work makes this occupation attractive to students who are either paying for their education or trying to earn extra money. Competition for jobs will be highest in fine dining establishments, where more money can be made. Those with excellent customer service skills will be in high demand.

Food and Beverage Servers – Job Opening Outlook

forecasted average employment growth rate, job openings, composition of job openings for 20219 to 2029

Chart from WorkBC

Bartenders:

This occupation should experience average employment growth. 1,440 job openings are expected between 2019-2029.

Bartenders

forecasted average employment growth rate, job openings, composition of job openings for bartenders; 2019 to 2029

Chart from WorkBC
Source: WorkBC

How Do I Become a Food & Beverage Server or a Bartender

Food & Beverage Servers:

In B.C., no standard training or education is required for food & beverage servers. However, secondary school graduation is preferred.

Other training or requirements may include:

  • food safety training and customer service experience
  • on-the-job training under the supervision of other experienced workers
  • FOODSAFE Certificate Level 1 for front line food service workers (cooks, servers, bussers, dishwashers, and deli workers). FOODSAFE covers food safety information, foodborne illness, receiving and storing food, preparing food, serving food, cleaning and sanitizing
  • FOODSAFE Certificate Level 2: for kitchen managers, owners and others responsible for managing food safety in foodservice establishments
  • Serving It Right Certificate: required for servers who are at least 19 years of age and serve alcohol
  • BSAFE: online health and safety training program designed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic

Bartenders:

In B.C., bartenders are required to complete the Serving It Right Certificate in order to serve alcohol. Serving It Right teaches the legal responsibilities when serving alcohol, and provides effective techniques to prevent problems related to over-service.

Other requirements may include:

  • secondary school graduation is recommended for bartenders
  • bartending courses are an advantage when seeking employment
  • you may also receive on the job training
  • BSAFE: online health and safety training program designed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic

For more information see:

  • Go2HR (FOODSAFE courses by correspondence)

How Do I Find A Job?

Where would I work?

Food & beverage servers may work in:

  • restaurants, hotels, casinos, clubs, banquet halls, and other places where food and drinks are served

Bartenders may work in:

  • bars, restaurants, clubs, hotels, airports, concert halls and other licensed establishments

Finding Advertised Jobs

Jobs are advertised in a variety of sources including newspapers, magazines and online job sites.

Local Newspapers

You can look at the Vancouver Sun & The Province at Vancouver Public Library for free. Check the job postings daily, the careers section in the Vancouver Sun on Wednesdays and Saturdays and, in The Province on Sundays.

Online Job Postings

  • go2HR
    job board for tourism and hospitality jobs in BC

Finding “Hidden Jobs”

Many job vacancies are not advertised. The resources below help you with finding jobs in this “hidden” job market.

Using Directories to Create a List of Potential Employers

You can use company directories to produce lists of employers who are in the restaurant, food service and hospitality business. Contact them directly to find out if they’re hiring.

  • Reference Canada
    Click on “Start Search” beside Canadian Businesses, then select the “Advanced Search” button.
    Select both “Keyword/SIC/NAICS” under Business Type and “City” under Geography.
    In the top search box enter “Restaurants”** and click SEARCH.
    Select the appropriate headings.
    Lower down, select the Province, choose the cities, and click the “View Results” button.
    **You can also search for “Coffee shops”, “Carry out Foods”, “Bars”, “Bars and Grills”, “Pubs”
    NOTE: You can access this database from a Library computer. If you are using a computer from outside the Library, you will need a Vancouver Public Library card to login to this database. After clicking on the database name, you will be asked to enter your library card number and PIN (usually last four digits of your telephone number).

Networking, Volunteering and Temporary Agencies

Many positions are filled by people who have been recommended by someone they know. Networking, working as a volunteer or registering with a temporary employment agency are good ways of helping you find jobs and meet people in your industry.

Networking and the Hidden Job Market:

When looking for work, be sure to talk to friends, relatives and neighbours. They may know someone who is hiring!  Working as a volunteer, attending events, and joining clubs and associations are good ways to gain “Canadian experience.” They are also good ways to meet people to learn about the local job market.

Volunteer opportunities

  • Salvation Army
    Volunteer opportunities may be available in the Salvation Army’s meal programs, shelters, and transitional housing
  • Vancouver Coastal Health
    Vancouver Coastal Health is involved with several congregate meals programs and free/low cost meals programs that may require volunteers

For additional tips see:

Applying for a Job

In Canada, employers usually expect to receive a resume and a cover letter that identifies the position you are applying for and summarizes your relevant experience.

Use the library catalogue to find books on writing resumes and cover letters specific to your industry.

For more information see:

Where Can This Job Lead?

Food & beverage servers: with experience, you can move into higher-paying positions at larger, more formal food establishments. Opportunities to advance into supervisory or management positions are also possible, although further education, such as completion of a hospitality management program, may be necessary. With additional experience, you may also choose to own and run your own businesses.

Bartenders: With experience, progression to managerial positions in food and beverage service is possible.

Where Can I Find More Information?

  • Restaurants Canada
    information on the restaurant and food service industry in BC and Canada