6 Restaurant Shifts You Can Start Today

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Whether you’re looking for flexible shift work, some extra cash, or just want to get your foot in the door of the food and beverage industry – restaurants are a great place to get started.

While the bustling, fast-paced nature of certain restaurants might make it seem like you need to be a seasoned veteran to work there, that’s not always the case. Although expectations differ from business to business, there are a number of shift types that require little to no prior experience meaning you could get started ASAP!

Let’s dive into some potential options:


A barback is essentially a bartender’s assistant. They ensure the working bartender has everything they need to serve customers without interruption. This often includes replacing kegs, restocking alcoholic beverages, providing new glasses, and ensuring garnishes are fully stocked.

Spending time as a barback is an immersive way to learn the ins and outs of a bar. If you’re looking to become a bartender or are actively working on securing your bartending license, spending time as a barback is a great first step.

In terms of qualifications, bars and restaurants typically seek the following:

  • High school diploma, GED, or equivalent
  • Of legal age to serve alcohol
  • Ability to be on your feet for long periods of time and perform heavy lifting

Average hourly wage for a barback: $10-$12 (Salary.com)


Working as a busser is a great introduction to the restaurant industry. A busser ensures that all restaurant tables are cleared, clean, and set for customers. Oftentimes, they’ll also assist with things like water refills, napkin restocks, and folding silverware.

In busy restaurants with high traffic, bussers are invaluable in ensuring that customers can get seated in a timely manner. 

If you’re interested in becoming a server down the road, spending time as a busser is a good first step. This allows you to learn the ropes gradually rather than being thrown into the thick of it on your first day.

Common qualifications for bussers include:

  • Ability to work well with others
  • Awareness of food safety practices
  • Customer service and people skills
  • Ability to be on your feet for long periods of time

Average hourly wage for a busser: $10-$12 (Salary.com)


A dishwasher is, well, exactly what it sounds like! Restaurants and bars rely on dishwashers to wash, sort and restock all clean utensils, dishes, glassware, and cookware.

Although dishwashers operate in the back of the house and are not customer-facing, they play an integral role in running a smooth operation.

Many individuals take on dishwashing roles to get their foot in the door of the restaurant industry. Dishwashing shifts offer an introduction to the everyday operations of a business without the pressure of having to interact with customers. If you’re more of an introvert, this shift type could be right up your alley.

When looking for dishwashers, restaurants usually seek:

  • High school diploma, GED, or the equivalent
  • Ability to manage time well and work efficiently
  • Awareness of food safety practices
  • Ability to be on your feet for long periods of time and perform heavy lifting

Average hourly wage for a dishwasher: $11-$14 (Salary.com)


The host or hostess is your first line of contact upon entering a restaurant. They welcome guests, determine the size of the party and where they can be seated, manage wait lists and times, and walk guests to their tables. 

A host or hostess serves on the front lines of customer interaction and should feel comfortable speaking with others, handling questions, and managing waiting guests in an orderly fashion.

They may also need to communicate with bussers if a table is open but not yet cleaned or set. 

If you’re interested in working as a host or hostess, consider the commonly requested qualifications:

  • Must be friendly and personable
  • Possess excellent customer service and verbal communication skills 
  • Present yourself in a polished and professional manner
  • Ability to be on your feet for long periods of time
  • Ability to problem solve and think on your feet

Average hourly pay for a host/hostess: $10-$13 (Salary.com)


Servers interact with customers the most throughout the course of their visit. They’re responsible for welcoming guests after they’re seated, taking their drink and food orders, food delivery to tables, taking dirty dishes, and providing the check. 

A server communicates with nearly every restaurant function. They work closely with bussers to ensure tables are set and cleared, communicate drink orders to the bar and food orders to the kitchen, and keep the on-site manager abreast of any issues that may arise. 

When seeking servers, restaurants usually look to bring on individuals who:

  • Possess excellent customer service and verbal communication skills 
  • Have the ability to be on your feet for long periods of time and perform heavy lifting
  • Remain calm under pressure
  • Can problem solve and think on your feet 

Average hourly pay for a server: $9-$11 (Salary.com)

Explore Open Restaurant Shifts on shiftNOW

Whether you're a shift worker looking for part-time, full-time, or gig opportunities, restaurants offer a multitude of shift types that do not require years upon years of experience.

And finding available opportunities doesn't have to be intimidating! Gig economy apps, like shiftNOW, are a great place to start your search if you're seeking a side hustle or looking to supplement your work schedule.

shiftNOW strongly believes that the way people work is changing. We’re providing a flexible solution for people who want to test the waters in something new - either temporarily or full-time - while still being able to support their financial and personal needs. 

To learn more about shiftNOW and how we’re shaking things up in the hospitality industry, visit www.shiftnow.com.

About shiftNOW

shiftNOW connects hospitality’s finest brands to quality talent. Founded in 2022, we provide a flexible solution to the hospitality industry’s toughest problem - talent. From one-time, recurring, or temp-to-hire shift work, shiftNOW enables businesses to easily control how they resource their business and provides top-tier talent with an easy way to make money on their own terms. The right worker. The right shift. Right NOW.

Download shiftNOW and start earning today!