I'm suprised more owners didn't respond, as a 46 year old restaurant owner I don't think age has anything to do with it. I have a waiter in his early 50's and he does a great job (we just hired him, but he has over 25 years in the buisness) the key is experience. Most Fine Dining restaurants will only hire people with good experience (no chain restaurants) and usually there is a night when you "trail" before you get hired, that way they get to see your level of skill and how you carry yourself. It's hard to fake because they test you in different ways. In the case you get hired with limited experience it's most likely to be in a position of limited responsibility "runner" for example. Also waiters in my area make $2.13 an hour, if you work in a good place, that won't cover your taxes, so you need to take care of them yourself either quarterly or a nice big chunk at tax time. Also I'm curious what you think is "good money" , I know waiters in cities like new york that make $80,000 per year and up but the average nationwide is more like $18,000 to $24,000 and most of those "small independant - good places" don't offer health insurance. That comes out of your own pocket, or if you have a spouse, they might have it. Alot of small Fine Dining restaurants are reluctant to hire people with no experience going through a mid life career change because of the time and expense of training a new employee, just to have them decide as you said yourself "if I don't like it I can quit". What they look for is someone who's in it for the "long haul" so to speak, the last thing they want is someone who's trying to figure out what they want to do, be they 26 or 46. I'm not telling you not to do this, but if you think it would be a "cool" job, it's probably not for you. If, on the other hand, you think this would be a rewarding career.... give it a try, but expect a hard go of it the first few years, yes "years" not months. To the person that suggested getting into Wine instead, most wine people I know started out as waiters or came from the kitchen end of the buisness. It took years and alot of cash, good wine ain't cheap, neither are the books, and they can only teach you so much. You spend alot of your own money tasting and tasting to develope your palate and then you do it some more with each vintage, and each wine growing region. Above all be realistic about what you expect from a job and what they should expect from you.