How to Take Orders as a Waiter – Restaurant Server Training

In “How to Take Orders as a Waiter– Restaurant Server Training” video by Real Server Training, you will learn the importance of having a consistent structure when taking orders as a waiter.

The video emphasizes the need to avoid random note-taking and instead provides a detailed process for keeping orders organized. It highlights techniques such as numbering tables, writing down seat numbers, and crossing out already delivered orders. By following these strategies, you can ensure efficient and accurate order-taking, creating a positive experience for both you and your customers.

The video also mentions that different restaurants may have their own unique systems, but the fundamental principles of organization remain the same. By implementing these methods, you can stay on top of multiple tables and easily track each order.

Additionally, the video emphasizes the importance of keeping receipts on the left side of your book, allowing for easy reference when calculating tips. So, if you want to enhance your skills as a waiter and provide excellent customer service, this video is a great resource to explore!

9 Easy Steps to Taking an Order in a Restaurant

Welcome to the exciting world of being a waiter! As a restaurant server, one of your most important tasks will be taking orders from customers. Taking orders efficiently and accurately is key to providing excellent service and ensuring a positive dining experience for your guests.

In this comprehensive article, we will walk you through each step of the process, from setting up your order book to handling receipts. So grab a pen and paper, and let’s get started!

1. Setting Up the Book

Before you start taking orders, it’s important to set up your order book for easy organization and reference. Consistency is key here, so make sure to use a structured format that works for you and your restaurant.

Using a Consistent Structure

Using a consistent structure in your order book will help you stay organized and avoid confusion. Consider dividing your book into sections for each table, with a separate page for each section. This way, you can easily flip through the book to find the correct table without wasting time.

Placing the Book on the Right Side

When you approach a table to take their order, always remember to place your order book on the right side of the table. This is a standard practice in the restaurant industry and helps to create a seamless and comfortable experience for the guests. Placing the book to the right side also makes it easier for you to write down the orders while facing the customers.

How to Take Orders as a Waiter-- Restaurant Server Training

2. Writing the Table Number

Assigning a number to each table is an important first step in the order-taking process. The table number serves as a reference point and helps you keep track of each table’s order.

Location of the Table Number in the Book

When writing down the table number, make sure to place it at the top of the page or section in your order book. This way, you can easily identify which table the orders belong to, especially when you have multiple tables to attend to simultaneously.

3. Counting the Number of People at the Table

Knowing the number of people at a table is crucial for accurately taking their orders. It helps you make decisions regarding portion sizes, drink quantities, and overall dining experience.

Determining the Number of Seats

To count the number of people at a table, start by visually scanning the table and counting the number of chairs. However, keep in mind that not everyone may be seated at the same moment, so it’s essential to pay attention to incoming or outgoing guests.

Using Seat Numbers in a Clockwise Fashion

Assigning seat numbers in a clockwise fashion can be extremely helpful when taking orders for larger groups. It enables you to differentiate between individuals and ensures that each guest’s order is correctly recorded. For instance, if there are six seats at the table, you can assign numbers from 1 to 6 in a clockwise direction. This method will aid you in linking order details to the respective individuals easily.

How to Take Orders as a Waiter-- Restaurant Server Training

4. Taking Drink Orders

Once you have determined the number of people at the table, it’s time to take their drink orders. Drinks are usually the first items customers order, and it sets the tone for their dining experience.

Writing Down Drink Orders

When taking drink orders, note down each individual’s preferences clearly and accurately in your order book. Write down the type of drink (e.g., soda, water, wine), any specific requests (e.g., no ice, extra lemon), and the quantity. It’s always a good idea to repeat the order back to the guests to ensure accuracy.

Placement of Drink Orders in the Book

After taking the drink orders, a common practice is to place them at the top of the table’s section in your order book. This way, the bartender or beverage station can see the drink orders clearly and prepare them promptly.

5. Writing Down Appetizer Orders

Appetizers are usually ordered after drinks and serve as a delicious prelude to the main course. When taking appetizer orders, it’s important to accurately record each guest’s choices.

Separating Appetizer Orders

To avoid any confusion, create a separate section in your order book specifically for appetizer orders. This will help you keep track of the different courses and ensure that each guest’s appetizer preferences are recorded correctly.

Recording Appetizer Choices

When guests provide their appetizer choices, write them down clearly and include any additional instructions or modifications. Whether it’s a plate of crispy calamari or a comforting bowl of soup, noting the specifics accurately will ensure that the kitchen prepares and serves exactly what the guests desire.

How to Take Orders as a Waiter-- Restaurant Server Training

6. Crossing Out Previous Orders

As the meal progresses, it’s essential to keep your order book organized by clearing out orders that have already been delivered and indicating any additional orders or changes.

Clearing Orders Already Delivered

As you and your team deliver each dish to the table, make sure to cross out or otherwise mark the corresponding order in your order book. This way, you can quickly scan the book and identify which orders are still pending.

Indicating Additional Orders or Changes

Throughout the course of a meal, guests may request additional items or make changes to their orders. In these instances, instead of erasing or discarding the original order, draw a line through it and write the new information above or beside it. This approach ensures that you have a clear record of all modifications made by the guests.

7. Taking Food Orders

Now it’s time to take the guests’ main course orders. Writing down food orders accurately is crucial to ensure that each dish is prepared to the guests’ liking.

Recording Food Orders

When taking food orders, pay attention to each guest’s specific requests and preferences. Write them down clearly and include any necessary details, such as cooking preferences (e.g., rare, medium, well-done) or dietary restrictions (e.g., gluten-free, vegetarian).

Organizing Food Choices

To keep track of different food choices, it can be helpful to organize them in a logical manner. One approach is to write down the main dish, followed by any side dishes or accompanying options. This way, both the kitchen staff and the serving team can easily understand and prepare each guest’s meal.

How to Take Orders as a Waiter-- Restaurant Server Training

8. Keeping Track of Multiple Tables

In a busy restaurant, it’s common to have several tables to attend to at once. Keeping track of orders from different tables is crucial to ensure that each guest receives their desired meal promptly.

Managing Orders from Different Tables

To effectively manage orders from multiple tables, it’s important to have a system to keep track of each table’s progress. This can be done by using the table number as a reference point and organizing orders accordingly in your order book. Having a clear structure will help you quickly identify which tables need attention and avoid any delays in serving meals.

Using the Table Number for Reference

When attending to multiple tables simultaneously, it’s easy to forget or mix up orders. To mitigate this, always refer to the table number when confirming an order or delivering a dish. This way, you can ensure that each order is accurately matched to the appropriate table and avoid any potential mix-ups.

9. Handling Receipts

Once the guests have finished their meals and are ready to settle the bill, it’s important to handle the receipts and payment process efficiently and professionally.

Presenting the Bill

When presenting the bill to the guests, make sure to include all the necessary details, such as the total amount, any applicable taxes or service charges, and a breakdown of the items ordered. This transparency helps the guests understand what they are paying for and eliminates any confusion.

Processing Payment

When it comes to processing payment, it’s important to follow your restaurant’s specific procedures. Whether it’s using a POS system, accepting cash, or handling credit card payments, ensure that you are familiar with the process and have the necessary tools to handle each transaction smoothly.

Ending on a Positive Note

As the guests prepare to leave the restaurant, take the opportunity to thank them for their patronage and wish them a pleasant day or evening. This final interaction leaves a lasting impression and ensures that the guests leave with a positive experience, ready to recommend your restaurant to others.


Taking orders as a waiter is an essential skill that can enhance the overall dining experience for your guests. By setting up your book properly, writing down orders clearly, and keeping track of multiple tables, you can ensure accurate and efficient service. Remember always to maintain a friendly and professional demeanor, as excellent customer service is the hallmark of a successful waiter. So embrace the art of taking orders, and enjoy the wonderful journey of being a skilled restaurant server!


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