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Job Description:

Backwait - Merchant - Madison, WI

Merchant, located at 121 S. Pinckney St. in Madison, WI, is seeking an elite crew of server supports, or Backwaits, 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.

The Backwait position is the engine behind the scenes in the restaurant providing critical operational support for the servers, with an orientation to the guest and our mission.  Responsibilities include:

  • Providing the service team with ongoing table and floor maintenance, including, but not limited to: water service, running food & drink to tables, clearing & cleaning tables, as well as resetting tables with proper tableware.

  • Provide knowledgeable, friendly and attentive, efficient, friendly, energetic, and thoughtful service at all times.

  • Respond appropriately to any guest requests or issues by communicating effectively with the proper server or management.

  • Assist in the cleaning and polishing of all tableware.

  • Receive instruction from multiple sources and prioritize tasks effectively. 

  • Support team members in the completion of their duties to ensure satisfaction of all guests before, during, and after service.

  • Have the ability to recite basic menu knowledge and run food to tables as needed.

  • Stocking, organizing and preparing service related items.

  • Ensure the serving team is properly set up in all serving stations with the correct needs: fresh cut lemons/limes, ramekins for condiments, all needs cleanly & efficiently stocked, etc

  • Be knowledgeable of the restaurant and its history.

  • Communicate respectfully with coworkers at all levels.

  • Us the position as a training ground for menu and product knowledge: what it tastes of; ingredients, and be able to translate that into ‘selling points’ for each menu


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

  • 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 Backwait has the following attributes:

  • Restaurant experience is a plus

  • Must enjoy an active, athletic role.

  • Passion for learning our menu.  Backwaits are future servers!

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

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

  • Our backwaits, 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.

  • Ability to focus; Attention to detail and quality 

  • Punctuality, Time Management, and Reliability. Your timeliness directly affects service operations and everyone else on the Team.

  • ​Awareness and communication.  Be vocal and communicative, communicating to managers and the service team.

  • Embody the organizational mission and caring, inclusive, and authentic values in terms of who we are and what we believe (outlined below).

  • Hustle. Moving faster on your feet makes everything get done quicker. If everything gets done quicker than you are ahead and can have more fun.

  • Learn. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Bar Prep are future Bartenders.  The bar team will work and teach you about products, recipes, and techniques.

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: $20-24/hr, inclusive of tip-out

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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Solicitud de:

Anfitrión - Lucille - Madison, WI

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