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Server Salary

Tips are a big part of the average paycheck for Servers. On average, they amount to about $9.73 of the $14.74 per hour they pull down. Hourly earnings range from $2.16 per hour to $9.90. The specific employer is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by the particular city and experience level. The majority of Servers (65 percent) who took the survey are female. Medical benefits are awarded to nearly one in five, and about an eighth earn dental coverage. Most people on this career path report moderate levels of job satisfaction. This report is based on responses to the PayScale salary survey.
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$7,248 - $47,213
(Median)
$7K
$23K
$47K
MEDIAN: $23,228
10%
50%
90%

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$2.16 - $9.90
(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
$7,248 - $47,213  
   
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).
)
$8,757 - $38,617  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 2 May 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 232
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 - $9.90  
   
Hourly Tips
$2.34 - $17.60  
Overtime
$0.13 - $17.01  
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).
)
$8,757 - $38,617  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 2 May 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 1,520

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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

  • 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


Olive Garden Restaurants, Applebee's Neighborhood Grill and Bar, Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Chili's Grill & Bar, and Denny's are leaders in the field that employ a large number of Servers. The biggest paychecks can be found at The Cheesecake Factory, Inc. — the median salary there is $31K; however, employees are subject to a wide range in pay, with the lowest salaries sitting near $9K and highest ones in the neighborhood of $52K. Soaring salaries can also be found at Darden Restaurant Group, Chili's Grill & Bar, and Red Robin Gourmet Burgers Inc, where earnings of $28K, $26K, or $24K are standard for Servers.

Pizza Hut, Inc. lags the field greatly in terms of pay, offering a median salary less than half of the top paying employer's rate ($15K). Also sliding in at the lower end of the scale are Cracker Barrel Old Country Store ($16K), 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.


The average worker who claims fewer than five years of experience earns around $19K. In contrast, however, individuals who report five to 10 years in this occupation see a much larger median of $25K. After working for 10 to 20 years, Servers make a median salary of $25K. Servers with more than 20 years of experience report incomes that are no higher than those with 10 to 20 years on the job.

Pay Difference by Location


For Servers, Seattle provides a pay rate that is 62 percent greater than the national average. Servers will also find cushy salaries in New York (+40 percent), Chicago (+35 percent), Las Vegas (+34 percent), and Houston (+26 percent). Trailing the national average by 13 percent, Tampa is the market with the smallest paychecks. Workers in Austin and St. Louis earn salaries that trail the national average for those in this profession (12 percent less and 10 percent less, 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.

United States (change)

Experience Affects Server Salaries


Late-Career
up arrow 23%

Experienced
up arrow 21%

National Average
$20,000


Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 328 votes.

Gender

Female
65 %
Male
35 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
9%
1-4 years
51%
5-9 years
21%
10-19 years
15%
20 years or more
4%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 20% dental benefits Dental: 13%
vision benefits Vision: 11% employee benefits None: 79%
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