Server Salary

Tips are a big part of the average paycheck for Servers. On average, they amount to about $9.74 of the $14.78 per hour they pull down. The range in hourly base pay spans from $2.16 per hour to $9.88. This group's pay is mainly influenced by geographic location, followed by the specific employer and experience level. Around one in five report receiving medical coverage from their employers and roughly a seventh collect dental insurance. Women make up the majority of Servers (65 percent) who completed the questionnaire. Most people on this career path report moderate levels of job satisfaction. The data for this snapshot was collected from individuals who took PayScale's salary survey.
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$7,278 - $47,688
(Median)
$7K
$23K
$48K
MEDIAN: $23,162
10%
50%
90%

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$2.16 - $9.88
(Median)
$2
$5
$9
MEDIAN: $5.00
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
$7,278 - $47,688  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $489.36  
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).
)
$8,847 - $38,607  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 20 Jun 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 267
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 - $9.88  
   
Hourly Tips
$2.10 - $17.61  
Overtime
$0.24 - $16.98  
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 - $489.36  
   
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).
)
$8,847 - $38,607  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 20 Jun 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 1,645
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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, Applebee's Neighborhood Grill and Bar, Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Pizza Hut, Inc., and Denny's. The Cheesecake Factory, Inc. does shell out the biggest paychecks — the median in that office is $31K — but the company pay scale is greatly mixed, meaning that workers on the low end may earn only $9K while workers on the upper end may rake in up to $52K. Servers will also find cushy salaries at Darden Restaurant Group (+$28K), Chili's Grill & Bar (+$27K), and Buffalo Wild Wings, Inc. (+$26K).

Known for its small paychecks, Pizza Hut, Inc. actually ranks last in the field for salary, reporting a median income of $15K — less than half of the top paying company's rate. Also approaching the lower end are Cracker Barrel Old Country Store at $16K, Brookdale Senior Living Inc. at $18K, and Longhorn Steak House at $18K.

Pay by Experience Level for Server

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


Respondents with less than five years' experience take home $19K on average. In contrast, those who have been around for five to 10 years earn a noticeably higher average of $25K. Servers claiming one to two decades of experience make an estimated median of $25K. People who have worked for more than 20 years report a median income no higher than the median for folks with 10 to 20 years of experience.

Pay Difference by Location


Servers will find that Seattle offers an impressive pay rate, one which exceeds the national average by 62 percent. Servers can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like New York (+40 percent), Chicago (+34 percent), Las Vegas (+34 percent), and Houston (+32 percent). Atlanta is the lowest-paying area, 17 percent south of the national average. Employers also pay below the national average in Austin and St. Louis (12 percent lower).

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.

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Experience Affects Server Salaries


Experienced
up arrow 21%

Late-Career
up arrow 21%

National Average
$20,000


Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 324 votes.

Gender

Female
65 %
Male
35 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
9%
1-4 years
52%
5-9 years
20%
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: 79%
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