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How Much Do Servers and Waiters Make: 4 Salary Statistics

By
Sarah Ward
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How Much Do Servers and Waiters Make

When it comes to answering the questions of how much do waiters make or how much do servers make, the answers can vary. The overall question of how much do servers and waiters make doesn’t have just one answer, because there's a difference between server and waiter jobs. In many places the pay is the same for servers and waiters, as they’ll be the same job. This similar job information will be highlighted in this article. This similar information is what you’ll be looking for if you’re looking to be a server or waiter. That said, this is also the place to learn about the possible differences in pay between servers and waiters. 

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How Much Do Waiters Make

Whether you’re looking to be a server or waiter, a search of “how much do waiters make” will lead you in the right direction. We’ll look into those expected numbers first. Later on we’ll get into the differences between the two jobs. For a standard waiter job, general pay is around:

These numbers do vary from each other a bit, but not by much. This look at what a waiter can make is an accurate picture of what you can expect to make as a waiter, before tips. 

How Much Do Waiters Make in Tips 

The answer to how much do waiters make is influenced by the similar question of how much do waiters make in tips. A 2018 article from the National Employment Law Project reported that approximately 58.5% of the pay of wait staff came from tips. Of course, this number has changed a bit since 2018, but the rough ballpark of nearly 60% remains accurate.

While waiters are categorically underpaid, the living wage a waiter can make, at least in the United States, generally comes from tips. Yes, this is an issue for people working as waiters. And yes, if restaurants and bars want to keep great employees around for the long haul, they should pay them far better. That said, if you’re a waiter, learning how to increase your odds of getting great tips is a good plan.

How Much Do Food Servers Make

In many places, the answer to the question of how much do food servers make is the same as the answer for waiters. However, the two positions aren’t always the same in pay and job descriptions. When you look into server wages, you’ll find different answers from a waiter’s wages when you look at the United States overall. To mirror the numbers we found for waiter wages we searched for server wages on the same sites. We found that servers make:

While the differences in wages don’t show too much of a gap on average, there can be a gap in different places. In places where servers and waiters are paid below minimum wage, many workers rely heavily on tips to make more than $3 an hour.

How Much Do Servers Make in Tips

As for the question of how much do servers make in tips, the answer is comparable for average tips for a waiter. Tips can account for 60% of a server or waiter's income. Some sources will say wait staff personnel can bring home $100 a night in tips. This is a good estimate to start with, but it can vary from restaurant to restaurant, and person to person.

It can also depend on whether the server or waiter is waiting on regulars, as they tend to tip more. Working in a fine dining restaurant or at catered events can also increase tips. It’s been found that chain restaurants, such as Red Robin or Texas Roadhouse, are often places servers and waiters can expect great tips. Often, the question of how much do servers and waiters make is dependent on tips.

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How Much Do Servers and Waiters Make: In Conclusion

Overall, while servers and waiters generally make less than they deserve, there's hope for a higher-paying future. The wages servers and waiters are bringing home have definitely risen over the years. Not to mention, with the strain the pandemic has placed on restaurants, there's hope that places will pay their employees better. This assessment of what servers and waiters make is a good look for 2022. We're excited to touch back in a year, or two, or three, to see the growth for wait staff wages.