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Job Description:

Server - Merchant - Madison, WI

Merchant, located at 121 S. Pinckney St. in Madison, WI, is seeking an elite crew of intermediate and veteran servers to join our team.  

Rule No. One Hospitality Group opened Merchant in late 2010 as a café, a shop, and a late night craft cocktail bar specializing in no-nonsense, modestly priced, seasonal fare that reflects the ingredients and burgeoning culture of Madison, Wisconsin.  Here we celebrate our neighborhood, the First Settlement District, steeped in history, quality, authenticity, style, and entertainment.  The idea has flourished as Merchant has become a Madison institution and a stage for showcasing some of the best bartending and culinary talent in the city with a distinctive menu steeped in the classic American repertoire.  Now, in 2022, we are rebuilding and reimagining Merchant for the new decade with a state-of-the-art renovation featuring aviation-style windows, new finishes and wraparound seating. This will be an opportunity to rebuild not only with new decor and menu, but a culture that celebrates our hospitality group's mission to create spaces for treating each other and ourselves well.  You will be working with a chef team led by some of Madison's top talent, including Chef Matt Schieble who has spent time in multiple Michelin-starred kitchens and General Manager Maggie Roovers, a 2019 James Beard Award semi-finalist.

Our servers’ primary focus is on the guest experience while mastering steps of service to make our guests repeat customers.  The server role is will divided between guest service and sales, menu knowledge, floor operations, and general product and industry knowledge:


Guest Service / Sales

  • Master the Steps of Service: 1. The Welcome - 2. The Order - 3. Firing - 4. Guest Awareness - 5. Checking Back - 6. The Farewell

  • Help patrons select food and beverages by presenting menu; explaining the chef's specialties if applicable; answering food and beverage questions

  • There are two types of servers- the salesperson and the order taker. The order taker will just serve whatever the customer asks for.  The sales person will read the guest and help them find the best dish using the 3 ‘selling points’ for each menu item as described above. Merchant’s servers are expected to be salespersons, providing phenomenal experiences to our guests through food and drink

  • Reading the guest: judge the level of involvement the particular guest wants and cater to that; recommend improvements in their drinking habits if asked yet serve every drink with the utmost care and attention; acting as a ‘host’ to all your guests and acting accordingly.

  • Stay updated on current menu choices, specialties and menu deviations, knowing if the kitchen staff is running out of any items, etc.

  • Submit orders to bar and kitchen by recording patrons' choices; identifying patrons' special dietary needs and special requests

  • Promptly address customer service issues and refer customers to management when necessary


Menu Knowledge

  • Be knowledgeable about every menu item served: what it tastes of; ingredients listed on the menu; where it comes from, and be able to translate that into 3 ‘selling points’ for each menu item.

Floor Operations

  • Knowledge of restaurant POS software

  • Knowledge of table numbers, the seating chart, reservation policy

  • Facilitate to-go orders accordingly through phone orders, 3rd party platforms, etc.

  • Record orders accurately and immediately after having received them into the register system.

  • Process payments, money handling- Accept guest payment, process credit card charges, and make change if necessary. Sanitize handhelds, POS screens, pens and check presenters periodically, and after contact with guests

  • Communicate with serve assists to clear used plates, utensils and menus from tables, and maintain a clean environment for guests at all times

  • Provide guests with clean plates, utensils, menus and condiments as needed

  • Prepare dining room by setting tables after they are cleared and sanitized 

  • Organize and stock server station

  • Keep kitchen staff informed by noting timing of meal progression

  • Manage your Schedule: Responsibly handle on-call shifts, time-off requests, getting shifts covered, and manager communications

  • Protect establishment and patrons by adhering to sanitation, safety and alcohol beverage control policies

  • Perform basic cleaning tasks as needed or directed by supervisor


General Product and Industry Knowledge

  • Merchant’s servers are expected to have an understanding of the palate in relation to taste categories and the mechanics of tasting in order to produce balanced drinks and how ingredients affect taste.

  • Merchant’s servers are expected to have an understanding of the DNA of cocktails and how ‘mixology’ works at a base level: the Classic Cocktail Recipe of “Strong/Weak & Sweet/Tart”; the roles of base/modifier/accent; the Aperitif; the Digestif; the major cocktail types.

  • Basic wine knowledge of the effect of region, grape and year; proper wine service.

  • General knowledge of major beer types and serving styles.

  • The server is expected to be aware of all the Biological elements of their job: the way alcohol is processed by the human body, the Blood Alcohol Concentration, the nature of overindulgence; the factors that affect alcohol absorption; the principles of pragmatic responsible drinking.

  • Know how eating habits, the industry, and drinking culture have evolved and are evolving in order to serve it properly to the guest.


The role will report to Shift Leads, the Assistant General Manager and the General Manager of Merchant.


  • Competitive wages

  • A flexible and predictable schedule that is posted two weeks in advance

  • 50% dining discount for you and your friends and family

  • A free and healthy GF Vegetarian or Regular staff meal

  • 50% off all food and beverage, 15% off retail items

  • Access to Merchant's online classroom with training materials, recipes, and checklists.  After full orientation, we offer weekly paid training opportunities to taste wine, spirits and food with industry experts

  • Our mission is centered around treating each other and ourselves well through our love of food, drink, and community.

  • Sustainability must be possible and attainable in our industry!

  • All employees are offered health, dental and vision insurance

  • Paid time off

  • 401k contribution coming soon

  • The chance to work in a brand new clean facility with state of the art new equipment

  • The chance to contribute to one of the most dynamic restaurant groups in the region

Our ideal server has the following attributes:

  • 2+ years of serving experience. Casual fine dining experience is a plus.

  • The ideal server has excellent personal qualities, is polite, confident, a great sense of humor and above all, enjoys dealing with people.

  • The server should be warm and genuine using verbiage and vocabulary that is guest-focused and positive

  • Able to thrive in a team environment as a reliable and trustworthy player on the floor.

  • Servers need to be able to multitask and remain organized in a fast-paced environment. Staying calm and collected is key.

  • The server, along with all staff members, is expected to be clean, neat and tidy in their personal appearance and also in their working habits; they shall also maintain the highest standards of hygiene in their workplace.

  • The server, along with all staff members, is expected to embody the organizational mission and caring, inclusive, and authentic values in terms of who we are and what we believe.  

Our Values:

  • Inclusivity.  We will establish a culturally diverse and  inclusive environment, one that specifically supports minorities, all genders, and those historically underrepresented in our industry.

  • Humility. We are modest about capabilities, admit mistakes, and create the space for others to contribute.

  • Effective Collaboration. We are a team centered around positivity, that stands for one message which involves empowering others, empathizing with each other, and uplifting others as a collective.

  • Respect and Justice / Health and Well-Being. All team members need to be treated respectfully and fairly.  This pertains to equity in pay, and specific attention to physical/mental health, well-being and safety.

  • Positivity and Love of Food and Community. Cooking and serving others is a powerful act of caring and love for one another.  Let us work together to bring our community together through the power of food and drink

Pay Rate: $8-10/hr + tips, depending on experience. As much as $1,200 per week.

Merchant is an equal opportunity employer, with a mission to support women, Black, LGBTQ+ applicants.  As an organization, we support a minimum wage of $16/hour.

RNO is a mission-driven lifestyle company dedicated to creating spaces for celebrating and treating each other and ourselves well.  We seek to provide warm, fun and an endlessly interesting mix of inspired programming that challenges, invigorates and delights our guests by celebrating our craft, who we are, what we do and what we believe. As a community-driven hospitality management organization, we are active in social causes supporting women, Black, LGBTQ+, and Indigenous communities everywhere. Cook It Forward is a non-profit advocacy arm of Rule No One Hospitality, Inc. with a mission to address ongoing inequities in our food systems. We are all working collectively on social entrepreneurship, social equity, and social justice-- one meal at a time.

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Application For:

Server - Merchant - Madison, WI

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