The definition for waiter by the book…
…now specif., a man who waits at table esp. a public table, as at an inn, restaurant etc. …
My 1950s edition of WEBSTER’S NEW INTERNATIONAL DICTIONARY of the English language, an unabridged second edition defines “waiter” as:
1) A watcher, watchmen; also, a spy; waylayer.
2) One who waits; a) One who waits for or awaits something.
b) One who pays his respect to another in a formal call, or by formal attendance upon him.
d) An attendant; a servant in attendance, as, formerly, a man who did household work; now specif., a man who waits at table esp. a public table, as at an inn, restaurant etc.
3) An attendant of a bride or groom at a wedding.
4) A vessel or tray on which something is carried, as dishes etc.; a salver.
5) London Stock Exchange. A uniformed official attending on the exchange.
6) Mining. = waiter-on (British)
… .Whether they work in small, informal diners or large, elegant restaurants, all food and beverage service workers deal with customers. The quality of service they deliver determines in part whether or not the patron will return.
Waiters and waitresses take customers’ orders, serve food and beverages, prepare itemized checks, and sometimes accept payments. The manner in which they perform their tasks varies considerably, depending on the establishment where they work. In coffee shops, they are expected to provide fast and efficient, yet courteous, service. In fine restaurants, where gourmet meals are accompanied by attentive formal service, waiters and waitresses serve meals at a more leisurely pace and offer more personal service to patrons. For example, servers may recommend a certain wine as a complement to a particular entree, explain how various items on the menu are prepared, or complete preparations on a salad or other special dishes at table side. Additionally, waiters and waitresses may check the identification of patrons to ensure they meet the minimum age requirement for the purchase of alcohol and tobacco products.
Depending on the type of restaurant, waiters and waitresses may perform additional duties generally associated with other food and beverage service occupations. These tasks may include escorting guests to tables, serving customers seated at counters, setting up and clearing tables, or cashiering. However, formal restaurants frequently hire staff to perform these duties, allowing their waiters and waitresses to concentrate on customer service.
Food and beverage service workers are on their feet most of the time and often carry heavy trays of food, dishes, and glassware. During busy dining periods, they are under pressure to serve customers quickly and efficiently. The work is relatively safe, but care must be taken to avoid slips, falls, and burns.