In busy restaurants, a food runner is an important member supporting the wait and bar staff. Sometimes called a server assistant, the food runner performs a wide range of duties that often includes assisting customer with their orders, explaining menu items, serving drinks from the bar, taking feedback from customers, preparing the table set-ups, delivering meals to tables, and generally assisting the handoffs between the kitchen and wait staff.
While a food runner does not normally need to have any relevant experience for entry-level positions, attention to detail paired with the gift of gab and an ability to work in a fast paced environment are essential skills. In this article, I provide a job description template you can use to attract a food runner on a job listing website or classified ad.
- Food Runner Job Description Summary
- Primary Responsibilities
- Desired Skills / Role Requirements
- Sample Food Runner Job Description Template
- Questions to Ask During an Interview for a Food Runner
- Average Salary Job Statistics for Food Runners
Job Description Summary
The best way to begin any job ad is to start with a summary of the restaurant and accurate description of the role.
Here is an example of a job description for a food runner:
“The Bend House BBQ and Grill is a homely and family-run barbecue and grill restaurant situated in the heart of the restaurant district of the city and has an unbeatable reputation for good food and a pleasant and friendly atmosphere. Serving BBQ to customers for 70 years, the Broend House is the best place for classic and unique BBQ recipes, and the best in grilled meats and fish.
We are currently looking for a food runner to support wait and kitchen staff in our restaurant and help create an unmatched experience for clientele. Applicants do not need formal qualifications or experience, but must be hard working and prepared to conduct a wide range of tasks from delivering food to tables, cleaning tables, washing dishes, and taking other instructions from managers and wait staff.”
At this stage, you only need to provide the basic details of the job. Similar to marketing, it’s important to get straight to the point with a job description and be accurate. You don’t want to set incorrect expectations for any role. You want to attract applicants that are genuinely interested in your position.
Here are some common responsibilities for a food runner in a restaurant.
- Answer any questions from customers.
- Ability to listen to, understand, and follow instructions from management.
- Assist setting up tables before service and restocking condiments.
- Bussing tables, discarding food waste, and washing dishes.
- Check with customers to ensure a satisfactory dining experience.
- Deliver food and drink orders to customers quickly and accurately.
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- Ensure customers have all the tableware set up.
- Ensure customers receive the correct order.
- Deliver food safety from kitchen to the table.
- Maintain sanitation and food safety principles.
- Refill customer drinks as needed.
- Relay customer satisfaction to management and relevant staff.
This is not an all-inclusive list of the primary responsibilities and you can edit this to suit your own requirements.
Desired Skills / Role Requirements
A top tier food runner should have a variety of soft-skills. It would also be a natural progression for the top food runners to eventually be promoted to server.
- Ability to listen to directions.
- Ability to remain calm under stressful situations.
- Ability to work in a fast-paced environment.
- Able to listen to and understand directions.
- Customer Service experience a plus.
- Good at verbal communication.
- Good organizational skills.
- High school graduate preferred, but not essential.
- Knowledge of food safety a bonus.
- Must be able to multitask in order to ensure customers get their orders promptly.
- Must be physically fit to maintain the desired level of service.
- Prepared to take certification for Food Handler’s Card.
- Self–motivated with a high level of energy.
Sample Food Runner Job Description Template
To help you to get your ad out there much faster, so that you can start the interviews quicker, here is a sample template for a Food Runner position that you can use as you like, and edit to suit your own requirements.
Broend House BBQ and Grill – Food Runner Needed
The Bend House BBQ and Grill is a homely and family-run barbecue and grill restaurant situated in the heart of the restaurant district of the city and has an unbeatable reputation for good food and a pleasant and friendly atmosphere. Serving BBQ to customers for 70 years, the Broend House is the best place for classic and unique BBQ recipes, and the best in grilled meats and fish.
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We are currently looking for a Food Runner to complement our busy restaurant and help the waiting staff to make the dining experience better for our clientele. Applicants do not need formal qualifications or experience, but must be hard working and prepared to learn all aspects of the food business from the bottom up.
The successful applicant will be required to become knowledgeable in the menu and be curious about the inner workings of the restaurant. The ideal applicant will put the customer first and be a team player.
Your responsibilities will include, but are not restricted to:
- Answer any questions from customers
- Assist customers by explaining specials, meals, and drinks
- Assist setting up tables before service and cleaning up after
- Bussing tables and removing dirty dishes and trash
- Check with customers to ensure a satisfactory dining experience
- Deliver food and drink orders to customers quickly and accurately
- Ensure customers have all the tableware they need to properly enjoy their food
- Ensure customers receive the correct order
- Handle various impromptu requests from customers
- Maintain sanitation and food safety principles
- Refill customer drinks as needed
- Relay customer satisfaction to management and relevant staff
We are looking for applicants with the following skills and experience, preferably:
- Ability to listen to directions
- Ability to remain calm under stressful situations
- Ability to work in a fast-paced environment
- Able to listen to and understand directions
- Customer Service experience a plus
- Good at verbal communication
- Good organizational skills
- High school graduate preferred, but not essential
- Knowledge of food safety a bonus
- Must be able to multitask in order to ensure customers get their orders promptly
- Must be physically fit to maintain the desired level of service
- Prepared to take certification for Food Handler’s Card
- Self –motivated with a high level of energy
Job Type: Full Time or Part Time (Flexible Schedules available). Must be available on weekends and evenings.
- 8 hour split shifts: 11am-3pm and 7pm-11pm
- 5 working days per week, to be arranged
- Will include late shifts, some overtime possible
Salary rate: From $9.88 per hour, based on experience
Supplemental Pay: Tips
- 14 days per year Paid Time Off after 90 days
- Restaurant and affiliate discounts
- Flexible Work Schedules
- Full equal share of all tips and gratuities
If you really think you have what it takes to be a food runner in our busy restaurant, then come drop in to see us or send your resume and covering letter to:
[Insert Contact Details]
Questions to Ask During an Interview for a Food Runner
Before interviewing for the Food Runner position, you should know what questions to ask of our potential employees. And know what to expect as an answer to your questions. These questions will help you weed out the weak from the strong and help you make the right choice.
- Why do you want to work as a food runner?
- Do you have any relevant experience?
- How do you handle a difficult customer?
- How do you ensure that meals are delivered to the appropriate customers?
- How do you communicate a complex order to the kitchen staff?
- What do you believe to be some of the most desired qualities in a food runner?
- How would you define an excellent customer service, provided by a food runner?
- A restaurant can become quite busy and stressful. How do you manage in a stressful work environment?
- You will have to balance multiple orders and tasks. How would you prioritize your work?
- What would you do if you had a customer who wasn’t happy with the food or service?
- What would you do if you have to interact with a negative co-worker as you’re serving food to your customers?
- You may have to stand on your feet for ten hours in a day, or even longer. Do you think you can handle that?
- This is a difficult and repetitive job. What will motivate you to try hard day after day, month after month?
Average Salary and Job Statistics for Food Runners
Salary is an important aspect of any job listing and you’ll need to pay a competitive salary to attract the best employees.
- The average salary for a Food Runner in the United States today comes to around $20,000 per year, based on an hourly rate of around $9.88 per hour.
- The maximum received salary for this position can reach up as high as $37,000 a year, while the lowest salaries can drop to as little as $11,000 per year, depending on the restaurant and location.
- The top ten best states for Food Runner positions in relation to salary levels are, from highest to lowest: West Virginia, Arizona, Oregon, Alaska, Washington State, Colorado, California, Nevada, North Dakota, and Tennessee.
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- Aside from the general food safety certificate and food handler’s certificate, Food Runners are not required to have any special qualifications or educational levels for entry-level positions, though the high school diploma or GD is a bonus. This is one job where experience is more valuable than qualifications.
- The average age of Food Runners in the US today is around 27 years old with an estimated 41.4% of all food runners being women.
- There are around 2 million food runners employed across the United States.
- The most common skill requirement for food runners when interviewed by potential employers is their knowledge and ability in food preparation followed by their communication skills. A good attitude and reliability doesn’t hurt either.
This should give you everything you need to write a job description for a food runner in a restaurant. I hope you find your next team member quickly.