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Server Salary

Tips are a big part of the average paycheck for Servers. On average, they amount to about $9.74 of the $14.73 per hour they pull down. Hourly earnings range from $2.16 per hour to $9.88. The specific employer is the main element affecting pay for this group — the particular city and experience level are driving factors as well. Medical benefits are awarded to about one in five, and roughly an eighth earn dental coverage. Though the majority of Servers do not report high levels of job satisfaction, most are moderately content with their role. Servers survey participants are largely women, dominating at 64 percent. The data for this synopsis comes from respondents who took the PayScale salary survey.
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$7,847 - $47,088
(Median)
$8K
$24K
$47K
MEDIAN: $23,505
10%
50%
90%

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$2.16 - $9.88
(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
$7,847 - $47,088  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $491.32  
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).
)
$8,630 - $38,568  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 1 Apr 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 224
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
$2.43 - $17.35  
Overtime
$0.00 - $17.03  
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 - $491.32  
   
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).
)
$8,630 - $38,568  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 1 Apr 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 1,460

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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. Servers flock to The Cheesecake Factory, Inc. for generous paychecks, where average earnings of $31K lead the pack in compensation; however, The Cheesecake Factory, Inc. also provides employees with a wide spectrum of compensation ranging from $9K at one end to $52K at the other end. Darden Restaurant Group, Chili's Grill & Bar, and Red Robin Gourmet Burgers Inc are a few other companies that offer generous salaries, with Servers earning around $28K, $27K, or $24K at each firm, respectively.

The smallest paychecks in the field are found at Pizza Hut, Inc., where the median salary is a mere $14K, less than half of the top paying employer's rate. Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Longhorn Steak House, and Brookdale Senior Living Inc. are a few other employers known for handing out relatively lightweight salaries ($15K, $17K, and $17K respectively).

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 see a median salary of $25K after reaching one to two decades on the job. Individuals who have achieved more than 20 years of experience don't seem to earn any more than people who have 10 to 20 years under their belts.

Pay Difference by Location


Seattle is home to an above-average pay rate for Servers, 62 percent higher than the national average. Servers will also find cushy salaries in New York (+45 percent), Chicago (+43 percent), Las Vegas (+32 percent), and Houston (+26 percent). Those in the field find the lowest salaries in Tampa, 17 percent below the national average. Two other places where employers offer below-median salaries are Austin (12 percent less) and Miami (9 percent less).

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 24%


Experienced
up arrow 21%

National Average
$20,000


Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 326 votes.

Gender

Female
64 %
Male
36 %

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%