Is it possible to work as a waiter in Dubai? The answer is yes. In the past, the job was performed mainly by expats from India, Pakistan and the Philippines, but with the arrival of Europeans in the Emirate and the increase of catering work vacancies, many more nationalities decided to enter the field.
To have an idea of what type of opportunities are there for waiters, Nico de Corato, owner and founder of DubaiBlog met Antonio Lagrutta, a general manager of Luigia ‘The Best of Italy’ restaurant to know more about the catering business and the role of a waitress/waiter in the foodservice industry. You can watch the video interview (Italian only) for insight into the profession.
The first thing that is important to know is that, in order to get a job, it is important to have already experience. Antonio said: “In order to get a job in the catering sector in Dubai, an Italian should have matured an advanced experience in prestigious places, worked in England and have a good knowledge of the English language.”
Nico asked Antonio: “Now, let’s have a look at the total number of the personnel in your restaurant, how many are Italians with the necessary skills and experience?” Antonio answered: “We have a total number of 45 workers, 15 of whom are Italians and they have been working here for one year and a half […] In our restaurant we have also other personnel coming from other countries, because we need people speaking other languages such as Russian, French and also Arabic. The Italian personnel is the supporting pillars of our restaurant.”
Salary is obviously a hot topic when deciding whether to enter a field or apply for a particular job. Sometimes expectations are unrealistic or concerns are unfounded; in fact, it is often believed that waiters’ jobs might be underpaid, while some believe they can make up to 5000 Euro/month.
Nico: “Let’s have an idea about how much are the salaries of the waiters.”
Antonio: “With the Italians we start with a basic salary of 5,000 AED. Chief waiters can get 7,000 AED”
Nico: “Apart from the salary, are there any kind of benefits such as medical insurance, visa etc. that a young worker can get?”
Antonio: “In addition to the salary we pay one round ticket per year, the medical insurance and visa.”
Nico: “Can a young Italian with a minimum experience and a good English knowledge live in Dubai with 7,000 AED?”
Antonio: “Yes, it is possible, of course, but without expecting to have a high standard of living. Therefore, no clubs and no disco every night. We must not forget that we come here mainly to work and not for entertainment and I personally think that you can have the same lifestyle you get in other places.”
Salary sorted out, it is also important to understand if there really are good career opportunities in the waiters’ world.
Nico: “Now let’s have a look at career opportunities. How easy is it to develop a career in other restaurants?”
Antonio: “I worked in London and compared to other places, Dubai is easier to have a career. If you are active and able to take matters into your own hands, most probably after 7 months in Dubai you can get a promotion to a higher level.”
Nico: “What are the advice that you can give to a young person who wants to work as a waiter in your restaurant?”
Antonio: “My advice is to love your work, to have a lot of passion, willingness to work, besides being humble.”
In sum, what is learned from the interview between Nico and Antonio is that to be employed as a waiter/waitress, a person will need passion, as well as a lot of knowledge especially about the products. Although there are vacancies that do not require any formal education or training which might have someone earn anything between 900 AED per month (minimum salary) to 1,700 AED per month, based on salaryexplorer.com findings. Naturally, a higher education will equal a bigger salary, and more years of professional experience will raise their wage. Salary will also vary depending upon the type of establishment in which the person is employed and what the specific job duties are.
In respect of Inequity in Employment and Occupation in Dubai, there’s no discrimination on the basis of being Arab and non-Arab, or anything related to race, color, beliefs or nationalities. That said, of course, every non-UAE citizen who wants to work in Dubai will be required to secure a residency visa. The Residency Visa will allow them then to get a work permit or Labour Card issued by the Ministry of Labour.
Note: Visas are regularly issued to all nationalities subject to the demand for workforce in the market, says Major General Nasser Al Awadi Al Menhali, Assistant Undersecretary for Naturalisation and Residency, and Ports Affairs at the Ministry of Interior. He adds that there are certain measures to strike a demographic balance among the largest communities of workers in the UAE: Indians, Pakistanis and Philippines whom have been filling waiter/waitress job opportunities. There are also fantastic work possibilities for Europeans too who have also come here optimistic by the added incentives of generous expat salary packages and no income taxation.