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Server Cover Letter Example

Serving up a great server cover letter to pair with your resume can make all the difference in your application. Get started today with this guide and our cover letter templates.
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Server  Cover Letter Example
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Whether you’re looking for a part time job or are ready to take your career to the next level, a server position can offer rewarding work, opportunities to learn new skills and great earning potential.

As a server, you’ll make sure your customers enjoy a good meal and have a positive dining experience at the restaurant. But, as you may already know, not all food service jobs are created equal. From fine dining to family establishments, this guide is designed to help you land your dream serving position – one that enriches you and helps you meet your goals. 

No matter where you want to work, one thing remains true: you’ll need a great cover letter to help you land that golden opportunity. This document allows you to express your biggest achievements, strongest skills and personal journey to impress the employer and stand out from other candidates.So how do you write the perfect cover letter?

This guide, along with an effective cover letter example will:

  • Explain the purpose of a tailored cover letter to make your application stand out
  • Dive into the format and provide free cover letter examples, samples and templates
  • Offer two important writing tips that can take your cover letter to the next level
  • Help you avoid the common mistakes that keep other candidates from writing a professional cover letter.

Before we jump into the essentials of cover letter writing, it’s worth making sure you’ve perfected your resume. Check out our server-specific resume example , templates and general resume writing guide to make sure you’re getting the most out of your resume. Now it’s time to create a cover letter that enhances your application and maximizes your chances of landing the position.

Server cover letter sample and general info

Primary purpose

Many job seekers hear the term “cover letter” and think of some vague, generic document that stands in the way of them and their new position. But by understanding the true purpose behind this application material, you’ll already be miles ahead of these apathetic candidates. The truth of the matter is: the cover letter is here as an asset that helps you land the job, to increase your chances, not an obstacle to overcome. It’s your trusty helper that shows your qualities in a way that the resume couldn’t.

A cover letter is a one-page document, roughly 200 to 400 words, that expresses your skills, professional qualities and personality to enhance your resume and make the best case for your employment. While writing your resume, you probably noticed that its rigid sections don’t offer much space for you to expand on your biggest achievements and professional journey. That’s where your cover letter comes in. Here, you can choose to focus on the most relevant aspects of your experience and even answer any questions that may arise from your resume, like gaps in work history.

Expert tip

What if the job application DOESN’T require a cover letter?

Restaurants often follow an informal hiring process which means you may drop off or email an application instead of submitting one online. 

In this case, you’re likely to run into the situation where it’s unclear whether or not a cover letter is required as part of your application. Don’t be afraid to ask the employer what they prefer. Unless they ask you NOT to submit one, it’s always a good idea to write and include one to highlight your best qualities. Even a concise, but well thought out cover letter can go a long way in making a great first impression, especially if you have no previous connection with the restaurant.

When it comes to creating the perfect cover letter, writing is only half the battle. You’ll also want to pay attention to your formatting. A balance of white space to text and the correct fonts and sizes keep your letter looking professional and organized. Cover letter templates from Resume.io, can also help you create great formatting in a few clicks. For specifics on the recommended formatting guidelines as well as free sample sentences check out this overall guide on cover letters.

Secondary purpose

Now that we’ve covered the what of a great cover letter, it’s time to look at the why. In restaurants, hiring can seem like a never-ending process. In food service, the percentage of new employees who leave almost immediately after being hired is one of the highest out of any industry. A cover letter helps an employer understand why they should choose you and how you can help them improve their business by doing your job effectively. In that sense, a cover letter is all about maximizing your chances. 

There may be other candidates with more years of experience, but if you can prove that you’re more reliable, personable and committed to the position, you can effectively level the playing field and win the job. Between a candidate with accolades who shows a lack of effort and a candidate with less experience but who has gone the extra mile - most employers will choose the latter.

Unlike your resume, your cover letter isn’t bound to the dates, facts and degrees that you may or may not have. This document is a chance for you to tell your professional story, a passionate narrative backed up by achievements, facts and goals. It’s a chance to give the hiring manager the most concrete evidence of why they should take a chance on you.

Expert tip

Not just any boring letter

Many candidates make the mistake of believing that any cover letter written and submitted will be enough to land them the position. The truth is, if you’re going to put in the effort to write a cover letter, you should make sure to tailor it to each restaurant and position you apply to. A generic copy-paste cover letter will only serve to show an employer you didn’t take the time to understand them and their business.

To tailor your cover letter, it’s a good idea to get a sense of the restaurant from the job description, online or even in person if you can. If you can’t visit it as a customer - Google their company website, check out their social media and get an idea of their tone of communication (fancy or friendly?), company values (steeped in tradition or modern?), business model (old-fashioned dining, takeout or something else?) and so on. Use your cover letter to highlight how you plan to respond to the unique needs of the restaurant and what skills you have that are particularly beneficial in that environment.

Best format for a food server cover letter

Luckily, a cover letter isn’t completely structureless. In fact, there’s a simple organization that can allow you to quickly and efficiently write a great cover letter. Since these sections remain relatively unchanged between positions and industries, you’ll reap the benefits of learning to write a great cover letter for years to come.

Here are the key components:

  • The cover letter header
  • The greeting / cover letter salutation
  • The introduction
  • The letter body
  • The conclusion
  • The signature / sign-off
Adaptable cover letter example

Re: Server role

03/01/22

Dear Mr. Sixsmith,

Growing up in the shadow of my parents’ Italian eatery has taught me that a visit to a restaurant is about the service as well as the food. The food might be amazing, but if served late or with a surly attitude, the customer experience is vastly diminished.

I am in my second year of a hospitality management degree and am looking for a server role in a top-tier establishment. Having perfected my skills at two smaller restaurants, the experience of working where the expectations are sky high would be useful for my studies and my personal experience. I was the youngest server at both my previous employers – I am a quick learner (awarded server of the month four times a year on average).

My passion for hospitality has given me a curiosity about customer satisfaction. As a server, I am constantly seeking to understand how different customer needs can be exceeded and how each table demands an individual approach. Servers need a sixth sense to understand how to provide the best possible dining experience. I am a keen student of restaurant ambience and having been a customer at your restaurant many times, I would be keen to discuss just how I might fit in with your outstanding team of servers.

With six years of experience serving between 120-140 covers per 8-hour shift, my ability to manage the workflow between back and front ends of the restaurant helps me to ensure a smooth service for customers whilst eliminating miscommunications with colleagues. I consistently scored 95%+ on menu knowledge and my wine sales were consistently the highest amongst my colleagues.

I would value the opportunity of an interview or a trial shift to demonstrate what a great addition I would be to your team.

Sincerely,

Tamara Halter

Copied!

Cover letter header

The cover letter header serves two important roles. The first is to identify your document with your name, phone number, LinkedIn and personal data. A hiring manager needs to quickly and easily be able to contact you should they want to schedule a job interview. Since the header takes up valuable writing space, you’ll want to make sure you pair down the information to just the necessary details. 

The second purpose of your cover letter is to create attractive and eye-catching formatting. Since this is likely the only section where you’ll be able to add a pop of color or other design elements, it’s worth paying attention to the look and feel of your layout or template to make sure it matches the tone of the restaurant you’re applying to.

The goal of this section: Keep your name and contact information handy in case a hiring manager wants to get in touch, create visually attractive formatting.

Expert tip

Align document styles!

If you want to take your application to the next level and further increase your chances of success, then aligning the header styles of your cover letter and resume is a smart next step. This simple action helps you create a “personal brand” – a look and feel that visually identifies the document as belonging to you and expresses your professionalism and attention to detail. If you don’t have graphic design experience, online formatting tools can make this process much easier. Before picking a template, make sure that the colors and styles are appropriate for the work environment. For example, a fine dining restaurant in a hotel would probably appreciate a neutral color palette with soft lines, while a vegan cafe might be better suited for a colorful, modern design.

Cover letter greeting

Your cover letter greeting doesn’t need to be overly long or formal, but it should capture one essential piece of information: the hiring manager’s name. This allows you to create a respectful tone and personal connection right from the start. If you aren’t familiar with the manager or restaurant, “Dear” followed by the correct salutation and a last name will come across as professional. 

If you already have a relationship with the employer or are submitting your letter by email, you might opt for the more casual “Hi” or “Hello” and even a first name.

The goal of this section: Address the letter recipient by name and use the appropriate greeting to establish a connection and the right tone.

Expert tip

The importance of names and addressed greetings.

As a server, you probably are already aware of the difference a name makes. In fact, it’s been scientifically proven that humans respond well to hearing our own names. Using your customers name and telling them your own helps to create intimacy and a positive relationship, which leads to better tips and a better experience at the restaurant overall.

You can use this same principle in your cover letter by making sure to address the hiring manager or employer by name. In some industries, HR teams can feel like invisible gatekeepers, but in most restaurants this isn’t the case. You may even want to call the restaurant to ask who you should address your letter to. In the case that you’re applying to a larger company like a theme park or large chain, “Dear (Company Name) Hiring Team” can work well, as can “Dear (Company Name) Family” for restaurants with more familial branding.

Adaptable cover letter greeting example

Dear Mr. Sixsmith,

Copied!

Cover letter introduction

In a s, you know how important the first few seconds of communication with the customer are. This is your chance to make them feel comfortable and interested in the restaurant and it’s menu. The same goes for your cover letter introduction. In this section, you want to whet the hiring manager’s appetite by giving them a taste of what’s to come in your letter and how you can benefit their business.

There’s several ways to do this but an interesting anecdote, relevant fact or exciting personal statement can all work well. Just make sure to keep your tone professional instead of eccentric or presumptive. The cover letter sample text below recalls the applicant's experience in a restaurant family.

The goal of this section:  Catch the restaurant manager’s attention with an anecdote, fact or statement that makes you stand out while still appearing professional.

Adaptable cover letter introduction example

Growing up in the shadow of my parents’ Italian restaurant has taught me that a visit to a restaurant is about the service as well as the food. The food might be amazing, but if served late or with a surly attitude, the customer experience is vastly diminished.

Copied!

Cover letter middle part (body)

Now it’s finally time to dive into all the work experience, skills and training that make you the ideal candidate to be the restaurant’s new server. Since this is the largest section of your cover letter, you can break it down into two subsections to streamline the writing process.

In the first part, the STAR method will help you organize your previous experiences into concise anecdotes that highlight how you provide excellent customer service. You’ll want to describe a Situation, the Task required, your Action and the positive Result you achieved. 

Make sure to choose anecdotes that most closely mirror the situations you’ll face in this new restaurant. That means you may have to swap some out depending on the particular work environment you’re applying to – just remember, tailoring your cover letter is worth the effort! In the second paragraph, you can discuss your most relevant skills and your potential contributions to the new restaurant.

The goal of this section: Use the STAR method to highlight relevant work experiences, show off your skills and discuss potential contributions.

Adaptable cover letter body sample

I am in my second year of a hospitality management degree and am looking for a server role in a top-tier establishment. Having perfected my skills at two smaller restaurants, the experience of working where the expectations are sky high would be useful for my studies and my personal experience. I was the youngest server at both my previous employers – I am a quick learner (awarded server of the month four times a year on average).

My passion for hospitality has given me a curiosity about customer satisfaction. As a server, I am constantly seeking to understand how different customer needs can be exceeded and how each table demands an individual approach. Servers need a sixth sense to understand how to provide the best possible dining experience. I am a keen student of restaurant ambience and having been a customer at your restaurant many times I would be keen to discuss just how I might fit in with your outstanding team of servers.

Copied!

How to close a server cover letter (conclusion and sign-off)

Now it’s time for your cover letter’s final course. You can end the letter on a positive note and increase your chances of hearing back by creating a Call to Action. This sentence expresses your enthusiasm for the position and invites the manager to get in touch. You may also choose to leave your contact information here again, space permitting. 

Then use the appropriate signature based on your relationship with the employer to end your letter. “Sincerely,” “Best” or “Thank you” can all work well.

The goal of this section: Create an effective call to action that invites a hiring manager to contact you, finish your letter with a respectful and positive signature.

Adaptable cover letter conclusion sample

With six years of experience serving between 120-140 covers per 8-hour shift, my ability to manage the workflow between back and front ends of the restaurant helps me to ensure a smooth service for customers whilst eliminating miscommunications with colleagues. I consistently scored 95%+ on menu knowledge and my wine sales were consistently the highest amongst my colleagues.

I would value the opportunity of an interview or a trial shift to demonstrate what a great addition I would be to your team.

Copied!

Waitress cover letter tips and strategies

During the job search in the food service industry, there are a few key qualities you’ll want to convey in your cover letter.

  • Customer service: It may seem obvious, but customer satisfaction is the essential ingredient to keep people coming in the door. Being able to apologize, fix mistakes and communicate effectively will lead to success for both you and the restaurant. Any example of how you offered outstanding customer service can make great anecdotes for your cover letter.
  • Attention to detail: Whether it’s simple details like noticing when diners need refills or remembering the who ordered what for a party of ten, attention to detail helps the restaurant run smoothly and efficiently.
  • Initiative: Stepping up to lead and take care of problems immediately and efficiently will help you go further in your serving career. Highlighting your work ethic, time management skills, and leadership abilities can all help an employer imagine your future success.
  • Patience: Life as a server can have it’s ups and downs, but a patient, positive approach will make tough situations much easier. Your cover letter tone can be used to portray your good nature and cheery disposition.

Power of liking

There’s a simple psychological principle that has more than one application when it comes to serving positions. It’s called the power of liking. Research in the field of sociology has shown that humans are more likely to help and be receptive to people who we think like us. It’s probably not too hard to imagine how this could apply to waitressing. When you make a positive connection with your customers, not only are they more likely to tip better and return to the restaurant, you’re probably also more likely to offer them better service. This effect is known as reciprocal liking.

So what’s all this sociology stuff got to do with your cover letter? 

In some ways, a restaurant manager is also like a client. They’re looking for the best staff and they want to know what you can bring to the table. If you can show the manager that you take a genuine interest in their restaurant, their menu and their clientele, you’ll put yourself ahead of dozens of candidates who are just looking for any ol’ server position. By showing the restaurant that you like them, you’ll at least make the hiring manager more receptive to hear what you have to say.

Expert tip

It’s all in the details

One way to add even more weight to your skills and relevant experiences is to quantify them with a few well-placed numbers. The size of the restaurant, number of tables you served, size of the menu you memorized or percentage of the tips you brought in can all help to show that you are a qualified server. Details like this also help make your cover letter more memorable – just make sure not to go overboard with unnecessary specifics.

Restaurant server cover letter format and common mistakes

Here are some common pitfalls made by other candidates for waitressing positions.

  • Generic letters: As mentioned earlier, one of the most important things you can do to increase your chances of landing the position is to tailor your letter to the needs of each individual employer. Hiring managers can easily spot candidates who have sent the same letter to dozens of restaurants just hoping for a call back.
  • Typos and grammar mistakes: Spelling and grammatical errors don’t just look sloppy and unprofessional – they can actually turn a hiring manager off from reading your cover letter. Make sure to use spell check and ask a friend to proofread your letter before you submit.
  • Poor formatting: Good design shouldn’t be an afterthought. Make sure your visuals match the type of image you want to convey and align with the restaurant’s branding. Online tools and templates can make professional formatting much simpler.
  • Unrelated experiences: If serving is a new job, you might not have much to show in terms of customer service. Instead of discussing unrelated activities, pick one or two that demonstrate transferable skills and spend the rest of your letter discussing the qualities that would make you a great server

Key takeaways

  1. Since restaurants often have informal hiring processes, it doesn’t hurt to ask whether a manager would like to see a cover letter. If they say it’s optional, then it’s a smart idea to include one to maximize your chances of landing the position.
  2. Tailoring your cover letter with the most relevant skills and experiences for each particular position is the most important way you can ensure your cover letter will make an impact.
  3. Follow the trusted organizational structure to make sure your cover letter is tidy and professional – and easier to write.
  4. Specific details like numbers and statistics can help you prove your skills and accomplishments match the needs of your potential employer.
  5. Avoid the common mistakes that dash your chances of creating a professional cover letter, especially poor formatting.

With resume.io, you can turn your cover letter into a superpower that increases your chances of getting hired. Create an awesome cover letter or resume in no time at all!

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