Types of Restaurant Jobs and Titles

restaurant staff
••• Steve Debenport / E+ / Getty Images

Restaurants are important employers, especially for young people just beginning their careers, and can be major economic drivers in areas dependent on tourism. While restaurants typically hire large numbers of entry-level workers, these are not, for the most part, unskilled jobs. Customer service skills honed in the front of the house are transferable to most other industries, and wait staff in high-end restaurants can often earn very good money in tips. And some restaurants hire for a very wide variety of positions, from highly trained chefs to administrative staff.

You can use a list such as this one to get a sense of what types of jobs exist in a given industry and what your options as an employee might be. And since the same position can go by different titles in different businesses, you can also use the list to see if there are alternate titles for your position that you might prefer. For example, would you rather be a waitress/waiter, or a server? If you have a strong opinion, speak to your manager - you might be able to get your job title changed.

Types of Restaurant Jobs

The type of restaurant influences what jobs are available. A large fast-food or casual-dining chain will offer administrative, human resources, management, and marketing positions, whereas, in a small cafe or fine dining establishment, these duties are more likely to fall to the general manager, the proprietor, or even the chef.

In general, the work in restaurants is divided into back-of-the-house and front-of-the-house positions. In large chains, there is also usually a corporate location where the upper management and administration will take place.

Back-of-the-House Jobs

Back-of-the-house positions are those that pertain to the preparation of food, as well as the dishwashing staff. Small restaurants might only have a single chef or cook. Larger places might have an entire food preparation team, including titles like a chef, sous chef, prep cook, line cook, and baker, plus a kitchen manager responsible for training, inventory, and other supervisory and administrative duties.

In chain restaurant locations, the general manager will have ultimate responsibility for both the front and the back of the house, but this role usually has no direct equivalent in proprietary restaurants. 

Front-of-the-House Jobs

Front-of-the-house positions are those that deal directly with the public. These titles may include host or hostess (or maître d’, in more upscale restaurants), server (or waiter/waitress), busser (or busboy/busgirl, or back waiter), runner, and bartender. Some restaurants have specialized roles: someone who advises diners on wine choices is a sommelier, and the manager of the cheese selection, both advising dining and supervising proper storage, is the maître d’ fromage.

Fast-food restaurants have cashiers and drive-through operators. There may be additional supportive or managerial positions, depending on the size and complexity of the restaurant, such as shift manager, floor manager, or table captain.  The responsibilities of all these positions can vary from one restaurant to another, depending on the structure of the business.

Management Jobs

In regional or national restaurant chains, there will be an off-site corporate office which houses the upper management and their related support staff, including administrative assistants, office managers, IT specialists, and cleaning crew members. Often, there will be separate administrative, communications, human resources, research and development, and marketing divisions. These positions are similar to those in the corporate office of any large company, in any industry.

The corporate office is responsible for matters that involve the entire company, or entire regional divisions within the company, such as determining marketing strategy, defining the company’s brand, and developing and enforcing company policy.

List of Restaurant Job Titles

  • Apprentice Bartender
  • Area Director
  • Assistant Chef
  • Assistant General Manager
  • Assistant Kitchen Manager
  • Associate Creative Director
  • Baker
  • Bakery-Cafe Associate
  • Barback
  • Barista
  • Bar Manager
  • Bartender
  • Brand Manager
  • Bus Person
  • Cashier
  • Casual Restaurant Manager
  • Chef
  • Chef Manager
  • Coffee Tasting Room Assistant
  • Communications Manager
  • Cook
  • Culinary Services Supervisor
  • Culinary Trainee
  • Dessert Finisher
  • Digital Marketing Manager
  • Dining Room Manager
  • Director of Human Resources
  • Dishwasher
  • District Manager
  • Espresso Beverage Maker
  • Executive Chef
  • Expeditor
  • Field Recruiting Manager
  • Fine Dining Restaurant Manager
  • Food Runner
  • Front Manager
  • Grill Cook
  • Hibachi Chef
  • Host
  • Human Resources Manager
  • Inventory Analyst
  • Kitchen Manager
  • Kitchen Worker
  • Lead Cook
  • Line Cook
  • Manager, Research, and Development
  • National Training Manager
  • Operations Analyst
  • Pantry Worker
  • Prep Cook
  • Product Manager
  • Regional Brand Development Manager
  • Regional Facilities Manager
  • Regional Manager
  • Regional Operations Specialist
  • Restaurant General Manager
  • Restaurant Manager
  • Server
  • Shift Supervisor
  • Sous Chef
  • Steward