Food Runner | 4 mins read

Nine Traits for a Good Food Runner

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Cynthia Vespia

By Cynthia Vespia

What is a Food Runner?

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The job summary for a food runner is to work with the server and kitchen staff to run food orders out to guests. The food runner duties are fast paced as they usually work during peak hours of a restaurant. Larger restaurants employ food runners for delivery of meals and drinks. They are also referred to as food attendants.

The runner job helps the servers focus on customer service during busy dining times. While the food runner handles delivery of orders, the wait staff can concentrate on their tables by taking the time needed to discuss the menu, put in orders, drop checks and ensure the overall guest experience is pleasant.

Customer service and good communication skills are all part of a food runner job. Some runners often are training for food server positions and will take drink or appetizer orders for the server.

Traits of a Food Runner

The traits for an excellent food runner are similar to those needed to be a server. Most servers start their jobs in the food service industry as food runners. Some of the traits that are most often needed for the runner duties are-

1. Organization
To be an effective food runner there is a level of organization that's needed. Knowing which job duties need to be handled and when is an important aspect of keeping organized. This is especially important as most food runners work in a fast-paced environment with little room for error.

2. An Eye For Detail
The food runner is responsible for handling food going out to customer tables. As the person who is likely the last to handle the food, it's up to the food runner to know whether the meal being served is up to the standards of the restaurant. This takes a keen eye for detail as a glance at the plate is sometimes all the time available. Knowing which patron in the restaurant needs service, like a drink refill, also takes a good eye for detail.

3. Friendly
Food runners interact with guests the same way that servers do. Having a friendly disposition with excellent customer service skills is important for the runner's duties. The tone of voice, attitude, and behavior all need to remain friendly even during busy hours.

4. Efficiency
A food runner job description will often highlight efficiency as part of the criteria. This means, being effective at executing runs on the first attempt. Rather than rushing back and forth across the dining floor, the food runner should have everything in place on the first run.

5. Knowledgeable About The Food
Guests will ask food runners questions and it's important that the runner know the answers to these questions. This is specifically important when answering questions about the menu or the food being delivered to the table. A proficient food runner should be able to answer any question asked.

6. Good Communication Skills
Communication between the food runner, server, and the kitchen is imperative to a smooth operation. The dining room isn't always aware of what the kitchen staff is doing and the kitchen staff isn't aware of what the front of the house is doing. A food runner can bridge the gap and communicate any issues that are arising.

7. Well-Mannered
Food runners need to know the principles qualities of being well mannered. This means listening intently, making proper eye contact, smiling, and remaining polite in times of stress. Each member of the staff should be trained on the guidelines expected of them for customer service. The food runner job description should state it as well.

8. Cleanliness
Guests want anyone handling their food to look the part. This means a clean uniform and appearance. It is also part of the food runner's job to keep the dining room clean and tidy as well. The food runner should anticipate when an area needs to be cleaned without having to be told.

9. Team Player
The success of any restaurant is having the entire staff come together as a team. Food runners are the link between the wait staff and the kitchen. They need to understand every aspect of working as a well-structured team so the food reaches the guests without incident. It is up to the restaurant management to instruct how these duties will work between all staff members.

  1. Organized
  2. An Eye For Detail
  3. Friendly
  4. Efficient
  5. Tidy
  6. Well-Mannered
  7. Team Player
  8. Knowledgeable About The Food
  9. Good Communication Skills

Conclusion to Food Runner

  • A food runner is a specialized food service worker that is used during busy times in a restaurant, such as peak hours.
  • The food runner duties frees up the wait staff to focus their attention on customer service aspects of waiting their tables to make the meal enjoyable for the guests.