Server Salary

For Servers, wages are rounded out by a healthy number of tips. Of the $14.98 they earn per hour on average, slightly less than two-thirds comes from tips. Compensation for this group is mainly affected by geographic location, but the company and years of experience are influential factors as well. Servers survey participants are largely women, dominating at 66 percent. Around a sixth enjoy medical while around an eighth get dental coverage. Vision coverage is also available to fewer than one in ten. Most people in this profession are content with their work, and moderate levels of job satisfaction are reported. The figures in this rundown are based on the results of PayScale's salary questionnaire.
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$9,413 - $44,081
$9K
$23K
$44K
MEDIAN: $23,426
10%
50%
90%

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$2.15 - $10.41
$2
$5
$10
MEDIAN: $5.33
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
$9,413 - $44,081  
   
Bonus
$1.30 - $1,745  
Profit Sharing
$100.00  
Commission
$4,250  
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).
)
$10,198 - $40,417  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 18 Jan 2017 | Individuals Reporting: 475
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 - $10.41  
   
Hourly Tips
$1.30 - $18.42  
Overtime
$4.54 - $19.20  
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
$1.30 - $1,745  
   
Commission
$4,250  
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).
)
$10,198 - $40,417  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 18 Jan 2017 | Individuals Reporting: 2,540

Find Out Exactly What You Should Be Paid

United States (change)

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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

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

Waiter/Waitress Job Listings

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Popular Employer Salaries for Server


Many Servers can be found at Olive Garden Restaurants, Denny's, Buffalo Wild Wings, Inc., Pizza Hut, Inc., and Applebee's Neighborhood Grill and Bar, firms that are at the top of the field. Although The Cheesecake Factory, Inc. leads the field in pay with a median salary of $35K, employees there receive a wide spread of salaries, from $23K on the low end all the way up to $46K at the top. Servers can also look forward to large paychecks at Chili's Grill & Bar ($29K), Outback Steakhouse, Inc. ($26K), and Buffalo Wild Wings, Inc. ($25K).

Relative to other names in the field, compensation is very low at Pizza Hut, Inc. — the median salary comes to just $14K, 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 $31K.

Pay by Experience Level for Server

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


The average worker who claims fewer than five years of experience earns around $20K. In contrast, however, individuals who report five to 10 years in this occupation see a much larger median of $26K. After working for 10 to 20 years, Servers make a median salary of $29K. Folks with more than two decades of experience actually report lower incomes overall; their average comes out to a mere $23K.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $21,564

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

Servers will find that San Francisco offers an impressive pay rate, one which exceeds the national average by 117 percent. Servers will also find cushy salaries in Seattle (+69 percent), San Diego (+62 percent), New York (+56 percent), and Chicago (+35 percent). San Antonio is the lowest-paying area, 9 percent south of the national average. Employers also pay below the national average in Atlanta (9 percent lower) and Tampa (8 percent lower).

Server Reviews

Q: What is it like working as a Server?

Server in Warren:
"Just WOW."
Pros: I really do like taking care of other people. You can make a real difference in someone's day.
Cons: My location is a bottom 50 store. It's crazy there.

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.

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 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.

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.

Key Stats for Server

Gender

Female
66 %
Male
34 %

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 422 votes.
Less than 1 year
9%
1-4 years
55%
5-9 years
18%
10-19 years
13%
20 years or more
5%
Location:
Years in Fields/Career:
United States (change)

Experience Affects Server Salaries

▲32%

▲19%

Late-Career
▲6%

National Average
$22,000

▼6%

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 422 votes.

Gender

Female
66 %
Male
34 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
9%
1-4 years
55%
5-9 years
18%
10-19 years
13%
20 years or more
5%

Common Health Benefits

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