It depends on what kind of place you're at. Some places have hostesses who seat people and take their drink orders. If that's the case, all you will have to do is come take their orders, bring out their food, check on them, and give them their bill. Some places don't have hostesses, the waitresses seat people (or people seat themselves), but the place might have "food runners," who bring the food out instead of the waitresses. In this case, the waitresses just greet people, give them their drinks, check on them after they've had their food for a while, and give them their bill.
Where I work, people typically seat themselves (except during the night shift bar rush or something when it's REALLY busy and the place is packed; in that case, the manager helps the drunk people get seated) and there's no hostesses, just waitresses. We greet people, take their drink orders, then give them a couple minutes to check out the menu if they need it. Then we take their orders and call the orders to the cooks. We bring them their food ASAP (if they order soup or salad, that comes out first). This is a pretty casual place, it's not 4 star dining where rich people stay for hours. So I pretty much give people the bill soon so they can get outta there.
Other than that, waitresses will usually have "sidework." This incluces filling sections (each table at a typical restaurant usually has menus, ketchups, mustard, salt, pepper, and/or other things already at the table. Filling sections means straightening everything out, making sure there's enough of eveything at the table.) I work at a greek Coney Island, so we have signature greek dressing; every once in a while we'll have to make dressing and pour it into little containers, fill the cooler, fill ketchups & mustards, wipe down the counters in the back, etc. Each waitress doesn't have to do it all, we each do one thing so it's not very hard and doesn't take very long. Restaurants vary on this though- at some places, the sidework responsibility of waitresses is lower.
Usually restaurants have bussers who clean the tables and stuff, so waitresses don't have to worry about it. Sometimes the bussers get lazy, and on slow shifts there are sometimes no bussers. Restaurants usually have a tip-out, which is where you give a percent of your tips to the hostess, bus boy, dishwasher, etc. This varies from restaurant to restaurant.
Different restaurants hold different responsiblities for waitresses/waiters.
Answered By: Alyssa R - 1/20/2009