Food Service Jobs
Food service jobs are easy to come by; however, many restaurants require that you have some experience with the restaurant and the menu or some service experience before you are allowed to become a waiter or waitress. If you do not have any serving experience yet, then you will likely be allowed to start in the food service industry in a hosting job or a bussing job. Both are great starting points if you're looking for work during the summer.
A host is the person who takes the guests from the door to their seats, and sometimes brings them drinks. In restaurants with a register, the host may also be the person who functions as cashier and may also bus tables when the restaurant is not busy enough to warrant a host and a busser.
She or he may also help when the restaurant gets very busy. As a host, it is important to stick to a master plan. This person is in charge of putting people in waiter/waitress "zones," so that everyone gets the same amount of work.
The busser is the person who cleans off tables so that the host can seat new people. Sometimes the busser may also be a dishwasher depending on the mechanics of the restaurant. The busser job may not be the most glamorous, but it is a simple job that require little more than picking up a few plates.
Other jobs in the food service industry include cooks and dishwashers. These jobs do not usually cross over with so called "front of the house" jobs like serving or hosting, meaning that it is more possible to start out as a host and move up to a server than it would be to move from a dishwashing position to service. Why? The front of the house jobs involve at least some level of customer service, while back of the house jobs focus on operations and do not typically interact with the customers.
If you have ambitions to cook and no experience, consider a dishwashing job and let the managers know that you would like to be trained as a cook when they have an opening. Doing a good job as a dishwasher will help the management see that you have work ethic. The same goes for hosting and becoming a server.
Of course, some restaurants will allow you to jump directly into a waiter/waitress position. This usually has to do with the complexity of the menu, your personal job history, and the needs of the restaurant. If you work in this job, you'll be responsible for taking orders, getting drinks, and otherwise making sure that your customer is happy. It can be a very demanding job.