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Server Salary

Servers rely heavily on tips to get by, with gratuities accounting for about two in three of their $14.76 total hourly pay. The hourly wage generally stretches from $2.16 per hour to $9.86. The most important factor affecting compensation for this group is the particular firm, followed by geography and tenure. Job satisfaction is reported as high by the vast majority of workers. Medical benefits are awarded to nearly one-fifth, and nearly one in seven earn dental coverage. Female Servers survey participants are more prevalent than men — 64 percent of professionals. Participants in PayScale's salary questionnaire provided the particulars of this report.
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$7,119 - $45,881
(Median)
$7K
$23K
$46K
MEDIAN: $23,426
10%
50%
90%

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$2.16 - $9.86
(Median)
$2
$5
$9
MEDIAN: $4.00
10%
50%
90%

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National Salary Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$16K$32K$48K
Salary
$7,119 - $45,881  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $491.59  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$8,553 - $38,516  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 11 Dec 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 184
National Hourly Rate Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$7$14$21
Hourly Rate
$2.16 - $9.86  
   
Hourly Tips
$2.64 - $17.40  
Overtime
$0.24 - $17.00  
National Annualized Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$14K$28K$42K
Bonus
$0.00 - $491.59  
   
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$8,553 - $38,516  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 11 Dec 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 1,280
United States (change)

Job Description for Server

A server works in a restaurant or bar, acting as the go-between from the guests at a table and the kitchen or bartender. He or she takes orders, delivers food and beverages, and helps ensure quality standards. In many establishments, the server also furnishes a bill and facilitates payment for the guests.

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Server Tasks

  • Present check for payment and provides change as needed.
  • Take food and beverage orders, give food orders to kitchen and deliver orders.
  • Maintain table appearance by pre-bussing, check drink levels and remove clutter.
  • Keep station clean, set up and take down station tables appropriately.

Waiter/Waitress Job Listings

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Popular Employer Salaries for Server


Many Servers can be found at Olive Garden Restaurants, Applebee's Neighborhood Grill and Bar, Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Denny's, and Buffalo Wild Wings, Inc., firms that are at the top of the field. Employees of Darden Restaurant Group can expect to make the most, with the company offering a median salary of $31K; however, pay is widely dispersed from bottom to top, ranging from $4K to $45K. Those in search of high salaries should also consider The Cheesecake Factory, Inc., Chili's Grill & Bar, and Red Robin Gourmet Burgers Inc, top-paying firms where Servers rake in a solid $29K, $24K, or $24K, respectively.

A few other companies with smaller-than-average paychecks include Cracker Barrel Old Country Store ($15K), Longhorn Steak House ($17K), and Brookdale Senior Living Inc. ($17K).

Pay by Experience Level for Server

Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.


Salaries for the relatively untried average out to around $19K, but survey participants with five to 10 years of experience earn a significantly higher median of $25K. People with 10 to 20 years of experience make an average of about $25K in this role. Survey participants who have worked for more than two decades report bringing in $26K on average.

Pay Difference by Location


For Servers, working in the bustling city of Seattle has its advantages, including an above-average pay rate. Servers can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like Las Vegas (+41 percent), New York (+39 percent), Chicago (+35 percent), and Miami (+31 percent). With compensation 15 percent below the national average, Austin is not known for hefty paychecks and actually represents the lowest-paying market. Below-median salaries also turn up in St. Louis and San Antonio (8 percent lower and 2 percent lower, respectively).

Server Reviews

What is it like working as a Server?

Server in Birmingham:
"Not what you would expect."
Pros: The flexibility of my schedule, multitasking, being on my feet, meeting new people, building and maintaining relationships, training new employees, and team leading.
Cons: No guaranteed pay, period. Most of the time your entire hourly wage over a two week period goes straight to taxes. Since this is a tip based industry, it is assumed that a tip is a reflection of service. Some people aren't aware of the fact that we ONLY make tips very poorly or not at all. Some are aware and could care less, yet expect you to run circles around them throughout their entire visit. Also, when large groups of people (8 or more) come in, we can no longer add automatic gratuity to the check. Sometimes a group of 30 people will come in and take up your entire section for 2-3 hours without leaving you a dime. It's just part of the job. You win some and you lose some.

Server in Las Vegas:
"Fine Dining Restaurant Server."
Pros: Working in a restaurant where the average bill is $30-$50 is wonderful because guests usually tip very well on top of it. Very fast paced environment so time goes by pretty quick. Schedule is very flexible so it is great for students and other busy people.
Cons: Dealing with guests can be a pain in the butt. They often are unsatisfied with even the best of service and sometimes will enter the restaurant already wanting free food. If you have an early class serving might not be for you. Getting home really late and waking up early and sitting in a lecture can be overwhelming. The biggest downside I have with serving is relying on guests to pay my bills. I might walk out of the restaurant with $200 or I could walk with just $10. You never really know.

Server in Lubbock:
"Its A College Job."
Pros: Flexible for me to study. Makes good money during college football season.
Cons: Nothing.

Server in Lee's Summit:
"Amazing."
Pros: I not only get to serve the residents up their food but I also make their day and make them as happy as possible.
Cons: I dislike the way some of my coworkers don't respect that its the residents home and we are there to help them not just get paid.

Server in Flourtown:
"A Work Environment That Can Be Very Stressful With Low Pay."
Cons: Other department's work is frequently shirked onto my department. We are one of the hardest working part-time departments, and also the lowest payed.

Experience Affects Server Salaries

Late-Career
up arrow 28%


Experienced
up arrow 22%

National Average
$20,000


Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 292 votes.

Gender

Female
64 %
Male
36 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
9%
1-4 years
50%
5-9 years
21%
10-19 years
15%
20 years or more
4%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 20% dental benefits Dental: 14%
vision benefits Vision: 11% employee benefits None: 78%