Food and Beverage Attendant

Note: Completion of a TAFE SA course does not guarantee an employment outcome. Formal requirements other than educational qualifications (eg licensing, professional registration), may apply to some occupations.

Job Prospects
Openings 5 years to November 2019: > 50,000
Median weekly earnings: < $920
Australian Government Department of Employment 2015
'Today's specials are...and the wine of the day is..' Food and beverage attendants recite such delicacies to eating patrons around the world, morning, noon and night.

There are approximately 2,000 food and beverage attendants in South Australia. Employment is largely based on part-time and casual work opportunities with the majority working in the Accommodation, Cafés and Restaurants industry. Most persons in this occupation are females. Nearly 45% of persons employed in this occupation are aged between 15 and 24.

TAFE SA courses that may be relevant for: Food and Beverage Attendant


  • Food and beverage attendants greet patrons, present them with menus, make recommendations on available food and beverage choices and answer any questions they might have. The number of local cafés that have opened up in recent times has increased the demand for professional service. Food and beverage attendants appear far more professional when they can explain what 'aioli' is or how the beef is cooked when it's seared. The same applies to drinking establishments; it's not much good having a food and beverage attendants who doesn't know the difference between a cab sav and a pinot.

    If any problems arise with a customer's order, such as dissatisfaction with a meal, food and beverage attendants need to be quick to remedy the situation and appease the customer. Whether it's a complimentary beverage or a replaced meal, food and beverage attendants should be confident in handling such situations so that the customer leaves a premise happily and will come again.

  • Of those currently employed 8% have Certificate III or Certificate IV; 3% have Bachelor Degrees; 3% have Advanced Diplomas or Diplomas; 3% have Certificate I or Certificate II; and 77% have no post school qualifications. In order for you to have the best possible chance of finding employment it is recommended that you gain the available qualifications.

    TAFE SA offers courses relevant to this occupation including the Diploma and Advanced Diploma of Hospitality. Pathways include the Certificate I Program in Hospitality (Hospitality Stream), Certificate II, III and IV in Hospitality and the Certificate III Program in Catering Operations (Hospitality Stream).

    Still unsure? Then try a short course also offered through TAFE SA such as Espresso Coffee Making or World of Bartending.

    SA Apprenticeships are available in this occupation for further information go to the Traineeship & Apprenticeship Services Website at or phone the Freecall number 1800 673 097.

  • It is an occupation that typically experiences a high turnover, which helps bolster employment opportunities. As the tourism industry continues to grow, so too do employment opportunities. While there is increased demand for better service and more highly skilled staff, this does not preclude eager and energetic individuals from getting a foot in the door and learning on the job. Food and beverage attendants can advance their careers and progress to higher paid positions in larger and perhaps more formal food establishments. This may be a supervisory position and this is where formal training in hospitality can help. 'I've worked in a few different hospitality establishments in the last nine years, and, if you prove yourself, you can go far up the ladder and it can happen very quickly,' says one food and beverage attendant.

  • Food and beverage attendants may be responsible for the handling of cash, so some basic mathematical skills in addition to a high degree of honesty are extremely important. A flair for working with people and a friendly, helpful disposition are great traits for people who are contemplating this line of work. Food and beverage attendants enjoy the benefits of making new friends, meeting people and experiencing the fun that comes with working in a team environment. One aspect of the job is the people you meet, the stories they tell and the great friends you can make. Another interesting aspect of this type of work, especially in establishments such as taverns, is that you have to be the storyteller, the listener, the joker, and the friend. Sometimes you need to have good stores of patience.

  • Occasionally there are no smiles, no conversation, and worse, no thank you for the service that you've provided. Not everyone is a happy customer. Food and beverage attendants can expect to be on their feet for extended periods of time, especially during peak trading periods. But if you'd prefer a non-desk, more physical occupation, this aspect should be viewed positively. Food and beverage attendants serve customers in establishments such as restaurants, hotels, pubs, taverns, private clubs, and banquet halls. You'll need to be at least 18 years old if you are expected to serve alcohol in any of these establishments.

  • This type of work is characterised by high levels of part-time and casual work, and it's not strictly 9-5 either. You can expect to work at weekends and there is a lot of evening work. This makes the job an attractive option to people seeking an income while studying, or to others who combine the job with other work, or recreational commitments. This occupation also tends to be seasonal. The demand for food and beverage attendants tends to increase during holiday periods or on special occasions, such as Christmas or Mother's Day.

    For further information, contact:

    Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Union (SA)
    Phone: (08) 8352 9300 or 1800 622 900 (FREECALL)

    Services Industry Skills Council (National Office)
    Phone: (02) 8243 1200 or 1800 626 335