Silver service waiters and waitresses serve food on to customers plates from a platter.
For those wishing to take on silver service jobs, experience of working in a restaurant is often considered to be more valuable than formal educational qualifications. Inexperienced staff may be asked to complete a day's trial in a restaurant before they are given a job. It is possible for school leavers to enter into silver service jobs through securing a place on an apprenticeship scheme in hospitality and catering.
New employees are typically provided with on-the-job training from experienced staff members. Some employers encourage their staff to study for NVQs at Level 2 or 3 or to attend training courses from The Academy of Food and Wine Service or The Wine & Spirit Education Trust.
Silver service staff are employed by restaurants, hotels and contract catering companies and are in demand throughout the UK. Overseas work on cruise ships and in resorts is also readily available, with employment openings commonly being advertised through specialist catering recruitment agencies. The majority of full-time silver service staff work on a rota system, which may include public holiday and weekend hours. Part-time and seasonal employment is common.
Silver service staff may earn between £7,000 and £12,000 a year, depending on their age. With experience, salaries may increase to around £15,000 a year, with head waiters and waitresses earning £18,000 or more a year. In many restaurants, silver service staff are able to top up their earnings with tips from their customers. Silver service staff with experience may move into higher paid sommelier roles. Alternatively, they may become assistant restaurant managers.