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What does a Restaurant Cashier do?

By J. Airman
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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A restaurant cashier closes outstanding food and beverage bills by accepting payment from the customer. One of the most important positions in a restaurant is the person dealing with the money. All people in this position have the dual responsibilities of direct customer interaction and money handling. Restaurant cashiers may also serve in another capacity as a host, server, or floor manager.

Strong math, computer, and multitasking skills make the job of a restaurant cashier easier. Splitting checks and gratuity calculation may be part of the responsibilities for a restaurant cashier. Restaurant point of sale systems take time and training to fully understand and operate quickly. Experience with credit card machines and check verification devices may also be valuable assets for the restaurant cashier.

Restaurants commonly limit the number of people with access to the cash drawer to a single cashier so it is easier to determine the responsible party when money is missing. At the start of a shift, the restaurant cashier is often asked to count and verify the money totals in the drawer. Signed credit card receipts and spent gift certificates are generally added to the cash drawer to balance the received payments with the sales totals. The restaurant or shift manager then audits the drawer at the end of the shift to make the appropriate amounts are present. Negligible discrepancies are often overlooked when money losses are not a pattern for the individual cashier.

The restaurant cashier may be the only person who talks to the customers during their entire visit. Some restaurants ask the cashier to greet guests, take their orders, and enter them into the payment system. Payment may be then taken by the cashier immediately or at the completion of the meal. In this way, a cashier can act as the sole ambassador for the restaurant. An efficient restaurant cashier is able to shift gears between his or her many duties to seamlessly care for the needs of customers.

Small tasks are often given to cashiers to help the other staff quickly close down the restaurant for the night or reset for the next shift. These basic duties are also designed to keep cashiers busy while the manager audits his or her register. Closing tasks given to cashiers generally include trash removal, host station restocking, and front of house cleaning.

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Discussion Comments

By anon290752 — On Sep 11, 2012

The primary reason to have a separate cashier is to prevent identity theft and malicious use of credit card information which is a huge problem in the US.

It also prevents waitresses and other employees from stealing money from the register. This has been a common problem at restaurants throughout the United States.

By sneakers41 — On Jul 22, 2011

@BrickBack - I think that most people doing a restaurant job search will probably prefer to work as a waiter or waitress because they get paid more than a cashier would.

A cashier’s salary is usually minimum wage and the repetitive nature of the job can drive some people crazy, but I can see how you think that this would be a good training ground for dealing with customers because some people are not cut out to work for the public and this job will surely point that out quickly, both to the cashier as well as the restaurant manager.

This is a position that requires a person to be upbeat and peppy because they are the last ones to deal with the customer and will have a lasting impression on that customer.

By BrickBack — On Jul 22, 2011

@Bhutan - I know what you are saying, but I actually like when restaurants have a cashier counter because I rather see the transaction done in front of me then offering my credit card to the waitress and having the waitress disappear with it.

There have been cases of identity theft because of this and I prefer to see the transactions taking place. I also think that if you are looking for restaurant jobs and are considering a career in the hospitality business, it might be a good idea to get a cashier job first.

Working as a cashier will allow you to see firsthand what it is like to work in a restaurant and that will give you an opportunity to decide if you would like to pursue other restaurant jobs in the future.

Sometimes the restaurant job search is difficult, and many of these entry level cashier positions are usually readily available.

To work in the restaurant business you really have to like people, so if you do not like dealing with the public with a cashier’s position, you will most certainly hate being a server or a waitress because dining customers can be demanding and when mistakes are made on their orders they will get upset at you although the problem is not your fault.

The kitchen could have been short staffed which is why the entrée took so long to be served, but customers will still get mad at their server.

By Bhutan — On Jul 21, 2011

I have to say that I prefer having a waitress handle my check then having to get up after I finished my meal and go the restaurant cashier counter and pay my bill.

I know that some restaurants have both options, but I think having the waitress handle the check and actually perform a cashier's job is easier on the customer.

I think that the reason why some restaurants have a separate cashier is so this so that the waitress does not get bogged down and delay servicing other customers.

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