Median pay for Servers rounds out to $14.86 per hour, with $9.64 of that amount coming from tips and gratuity. Earnings for this group are mostly affected by geographic location, followed by the company and experience level. Around a sixth report receiving medical coverage from their employers and around one in eight collect dental insurance. Women make up the majority of Servers (66 percent) who completed the questionnaire. The majority of individuals in this role claim moderate levels of job satisfaction. The figures in this overview were provided by individuals who took PayScale's salary questionnaire.
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$9,323 - $43,377
(Median)
$9K
$23K
$43K
MEDIAN: $23,233
10%
50%
90%

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$2.15 - $10.34
(Median)
$2
$5
$10
MEDIAN: $5.00
10%
50%
90%

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National Salary Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$15K$30K$45K
Salary
$9,323 - $43,377  
   
Bonus
$9.93 - $1,812  
Profit Sharing
$100.00  
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).
)
$10,080 - $40,190  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 28 Oct 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 459
National Hourly Rate Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$7$14$21
Hourly Rate
$2.15 - $10.34  
   
Hourly Tips
$1.44 - $18.69  
Overtime
$4.36 - $19.13  
National Annualized Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$14K$28K$42K
Bonus
$9.93 - $1,812  
   
Profit Sharing
$100.00  
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).
)
$10,080 - $40,190  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 28 Oct 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 2,386
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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


Well-known firms with a reputation for hiring numerous Servers include Olive Garden Restaurants, Denny's, Applebee's Neighborhood Grill and Bar, Pizza Hut, Inc., and Buffalo Wild Wings, Inc. The Cheesecake Factory, Inc. does shell out the biggest paychecks — the median in that office is $34K — but the company pay scale is greatly mixed, meaning that workers on the low end may earn only $22K while workers on the upper end may rake in up to $49K. Those in search of high salaries should also consider Chili's Grill & Bar, Outback Steakhouse, Inc., and Buffalo Wild Wings, Inc., top-paying firms where Servers rake in a decent $29K, $26K, or $25K, respectively.

With a reported median salary of only $14K, Pizza Hut, Inc. easily takes the cake for lowest-paying firm in town; earnings are less than half of the top paying employer's rate. Other low-paying employers include Waffle House, Inc. at $16K and Cracker Barrel Old Country Store at $18K, though some Servers there earn up to $36K.

Pay by Experience Level for Server

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


Relatively untried employees who have less than five years' experience make $20K, but folks with five to 10 years under their belts enjoy an appreciably larger median of $25K. After working for 10 to 20 years, Servers make a median salary of $28K. Survey respondents who have worked for more than 20 years actually report somewhat lower incomes of $23K.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $21,434

Larger city markers indicate a job is popular in that location.

For Servers, working in the bustling city of San Francisco has its advantages, including an above-average pay rate. Servers will also find cushy salaries in Seattle (+72 percent), New York (+62 percent), Los Angeles (+56 percent), and Las Vegas (+38 percent). Falling short of the national average by 12 percent, the area with the worst salaries is Tampa. Atlanta and San Antonio are a couple other places where companies are known to pay below the median — salaries are 9 percent lower and 8 percent lower, respectively.

Server Reviews

What is it like working as a Server at Pizza Hut, Inc.?

Server in Monroe:
"How to be successful."
Pros: The customers are fantastic! When you have customers come back week after week to see you it gives you satisfaction.
Cons: Working in this business you can feel very under appreciated by management.

What is it like working as a Server?

Server in Detroit:
"It can be stressful but very rewarding."
Pros: Meeting new people and being able to make their dining experience fun.
Cons: Taxes taking my checks. Spotty payment (good vs. Bad day) in other words slow days I make less money or get sent home early.

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.

What is it like working as a Server at The Cheesecake Factory, Inc.?

Server in Chino:
"We are easily replaced so why would they listen to us."
Pros: I enjoy the people I work alongside. The diversity allows for so many different types of people. Finding ways to like or at least respect everyone is an ever changing roller coaster yet we find our common situation as servers as glue to bond us against our worst customers. Because no one escapes them we stand together shocked by the fact that tipping is still voluntary instead of just added to the bill. I enjoy getting to eat the food at discounted prices.
Cons: The fact that we never get raises, they don't care about giving 4 or even 5 tables in a 5 minute span. Sometimes you just need them to the wait 4-5 minutes to give you time to help the 3 tables I just got sat. Having managers who have never served or worked in customer service tell you how to be better than I am. Or on that same note micromanaging to the point where I would rather listen to a screaming baby than hear 1 more helpful hint or "better" way of serving my guests. I know when I am slacking and if I screw up I apologize and try not to repeat my mistake. I have been written up for not claiming what they say I made in tips. They are top heavy with a great product so employee concerns and only addressed if it is actually better to change, it makes them look good in public, or if it is nothing in need of change but they do it anyway to seem like our ideas actually matter.

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Experience Affects Server Salaries



Late-Career
up arrow 7%

National Average
$21,000


Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 391 votes.

Gender

Female
66 %
Male
34 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
9%
1-4 years
54%
5-9 years
18%
10-19 years
14%
20 years or more
5%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 17%
dental benefits
Dental: 12%
medical benefits
Vision: 9%
dental benefits
None: 81%
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