Server Salary

Average hourly pay for Servers is often heavily supplemented by tips and totals around $14.79 (including $9.74 from gratuities). Hourly earnings generally vary between $2.16 per hour and $9.89. The most important factor affecting compensation for this group is geography, followed by the specific employer and years of experience. Job satisfaction is considered about average by most people in this profession. Medical benefits are awarded to one in five, and one-eighth earn dental coverage. The majority of Servers (65 percent) who took the survey are women. This report is based on responses to the PayScale salary survey.
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$7,309 - $47,546
(Median)
$7K
$23K
$48K
MEDIAN: $23,114
10%
50%
90%

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$2.16 - $9.89
(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
$7,309 - $47,546  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $490.03  
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).
)
$8,897 - $38,645  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 2 Jul 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 270
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 - $9.89  
   
Hourly Tips
$2.15 - $17.60  
Overtime
$0.24 - $17.00  
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 - $490.03  
   
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).
)
$8,897 - $38,645  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 2 Jul 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 1,665
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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


Many Servers can be found at Olive Garden Restaurants, Applebee's Neighborhood Grill and Bar, Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Pizza Hut, Inc., and Denny's, firms that are at the top of the field. Although The Cheesecake Factory, Inc. leads the field in pay with a median salary of $31K, employees there receive a wide spread of salaries, from $9K on the low end all the way up to $52K at the top. Other leaders in compensation levels are Darden Restaurant Group at $28K, Chili's Grill & Bar at $28K, and Buffalo Wild Wings, Inc., where Servers annually earn $26K.

With a median salary of only $15K (less than half of the top paying company's rate), Pizza Hut, Inc. lags significantly in the earnings department. 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.


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. People with 10 to 20 years of experience make an average of about $25K in this role. 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 can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like New York (+42 percent), Chicago (+34 percent), Houston (+32 percent), and Las Vegas (+31 percent). Atlanta is home to the smallest salaries in the field, lagging the national average by 19 percent. Below-median salaries also turn up in Austin and St. Louis (11 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 22%

Late-Career
up arrow 20%

National Average
$20,000


Job Satisfaction

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

Gender

Female
65 %
Male
35 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
10%
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: 13%
vision benefits Vision: 11% employee benefits None: 79%
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