Server Salary

Average hourly pay for Servers is often heavily supplemented by tips and totals around $14.89 (including $9.74 from gratuities). Hourly base pay hovers around $2.16 per hour on the low end and verges on $10.03 near the top. This group's pay is mainly influenced by location, followed by the specific employer and years of experience. Just under one in five report receiving medical coverage from their employers and nearly one-eighth collect dental insurance. Job satisfaction for Servers is high. Female Servers are more common than men among those who completed the survey; more than half (66 percent) are women. The data in this summary comes from the PayScale salary survey.
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$7,720 - $45,235
(Median)
$8K
$23K
$45K
MEDIAN: $22,959
10%
50%
90%

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$2.16 - $10.03
(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$16K$32K$48K
Salary
$7,720 - $45,235  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $510  
Profit Sharing
$75.00  
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).
)
$9,666 - $38,904  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 12 Jan 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 400
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
$2.16 - $10.03  
   
Hourly Tips
$1.73 - $18.50  
Overtime
$1.18 - $17.60  
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
$0.00 - $510  
   
Profit Sharing
$75.00  
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).
)
$9,666 - $38,904  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 12 Jan 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 2,206
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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


Servers fill the offices of leading firms Olive Garden Restaurants, Applebee's Neighborhood Grill and Bar, Denny's, Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, and Buffalo Wild Wings, Inc. The biggest paychecks can be found at The Cheesecake Factory, Inc. — the median salary there is $35K; however, employees are subject to a wide range in pay, with the lowest salaries sitting near $25K and highest ones in the neighborhood of $51K. Those in search of high salaries should also consider Chili's Grill & Bar, Darden Restaurant Group, and Buffalo Wild Wings, Inc., top-paying firms where Servers rake in a solid $33K, $26K, or $25K, respectively.

Earnings fall especially short at Pizza Hut, Inc., where the median salary of $13K is the lowest in the field, 172 percent less than the top paying company. Others at the bottom of the scale for this job include Waffle House, Inc. at $16K, and Cracker Barrel Old Country Store where $17K is the norm, but it is worth noting that 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 beginner in this position makes around $20K, but folks who have been around for five to 10 years see a markedly higher median salary of $26K. After working for 10 to 20 years, Servers make a median salary of $26K. Servers who have racked up more than two decades of experience report lower incomes overall; the average sum for this crowd comes out to only $22K.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $20,929

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

Surpassing the national average by 120 percent, Servers in San Francisco receive some of the highest pay in the country. Servers can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like New York (+64 percent), Seattle (+62 percent), Los Angeles (+51 percent), and Chicago (+32 percent). In St. Louis, salaries are 12 percent below the national average and represent the lowest-paying market. Austin and Atlanta are a couple other places where companies are known to pay below the median — salaries tend to be 10 percent less than the median.

Server Reviews

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.

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.

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Experience Affects Server Salaries



Late-Career
up arrow 5%

National Average
$21,000


Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 397 votes.

Gender

Female
66 %
Male
34 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
9%
1-4 years
53%
5-9 years
19%
10-19 years
15%
20 years or more
4%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 19%
dental benefits
Dental: 13%
medical benefits
Vision: 10%
dental benefits
None: 79%
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