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Server Salary (United States)

Tips typically add up big time for Servers, who can earn as much as roughly two-thirds of their hourly rate of $14.79 from customer gratuities. Hourly base pay ranges from $2.15 per hour on the low end to $9.78 on the high end. The most influential factor affecting pay for this group is the particular firm, though the particular city and tenure have a (lesser) impact as well. Medical benefits are awarded to close to a fifth, and one-seventh earn dental coverage. More than half of Servers (64 percent) are women. Job satisfaction is high and work is enjoyable for most Servers. The figures in this overview are derived from responses to the PayScale salary survey.
Server Salary (?
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.
)
$7,176 - $48,272
(Median)
7K
14K
24K
35K
48K
MEDIAN: $23,737
10%
25%
50%
75%
90%
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Server Salary (?
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.
)
$2.15 - $9.78
(Median)
2
4
8
9
MEDIAN: $4.00
10%
50%
75%
90%
Add this chart to your site: 640px    300px

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$17K$34K$51K
Salary
$7,176 - $48,272  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $492.12  
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).
)
$8,372 - $38,619  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 3 Sep 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 163
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
$2.15 - $9.78  
   
Hourly Tips
$2.88 - $17.83  
Overtime
$0.00 - $16.89  
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 - $492.12  
   
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).
)
$8,372 - $38,619  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 3 Sep 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 1,150
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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, Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Red Lobster Seafood Restaurants, and Buffalo Wild Wings, Inc. Servers flock to The Cheesecake Factory, Inc. for generous paychecks, where average earnings of $29K lead the pack in compensation. Chili's Grill & Bar, Denny's, and Buffalo Wild Wings, Inc. are a few other companies that offer generous salaries, with Servers earning around $24K, $23K, or $22K at each firm, respectively.
Employees at Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Texas Roadhouse, Inc, and Applebee's Neighborhood Grill and Bar can also expect below-average earnings of $15K, $17K, and $18K.

Pay by Experience Level for Server

Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.
Those in the early stages of their career can expect to make around $18K; however, individuals with five to 10 years of experience bring in $25K on average — a distinctly larger sum. On average, Servers make $25K following one to two decades on the job. Survey participants who have worked for more than two decades report bringing in $26K on average. One to nine years of experience is standard for most employees in this area; a fair portion of respondents fit between this range. Experienced employees who have 10-20 years of experience make up around one in six of the workforce; inexperienced individuals who have been working for less than one year comprise fewer than one in ten, and senior people with more than 20 years under their belt fill out the remaining fewer than one in twenty.

Pay Difference By Location

Seattle
up arrow 64%
Chicago
up arrow 55%
Las Vegas
up arrow 41%
New York
up arrow 39%
Orlando
up arrow 29%
Miami
up arrow 29%
Houston
up arrow 27%
Los Angeles
up arrow 24%
Denver
up arrow 22%
Charlotte
up arrow 22%
San Diego
up arrow 15%
Dallas
up arrow 12%
National Average
$20,000
San Antonio
up arrow 3%
St. Louis
up arrow 5%
Austin
up arrow 16%
Larger circles over a city indicate a job is popular in that location.
For Servers, Seattle provides a pay rate that is 64 percent greater than the national average. Servers can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like Chicago (+55 percent), Las Vegas (+41 percent), New York (+39 percent), and Orlando (+29 percent). Austin is the lowest-paying area, 16 percent south of the national average. Workers in St. Louis and San Antonio earn salaries that trail the national average for those in this profession (5 percent less and 3 percent less, respectively).

Server Reviews

What is it like working as a Server?
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.
Find Out Exactly What You Should Be Paid
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Experience Affects Server Salaries

Late-Career
up arrow 29%
Experienced
up arrow 22%
National Average
$20,000

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied Image
Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5 based on 272 votes.

Gender

Female
64%
female alumni
 
Male
36%
male alumni

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
9%
1-4 years
49%
5-9 years
22%
10-19 years
16%
20 years or more
5%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 20% dental benefits Dental: 14%
vision benefits Vision: 11% employee benefits None: 78%