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How much do Restaurant Servers Make?

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How much do Restaurant Servers Make?

Old 06-10-2019, 10:44 AM
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Default How much do Restaurant Servers Make?

18 year old just graduated from High School. Starting college in Fall. Current job for caterer is only 1-2 days per week ($10/hour). Trying to convince him that being a waiter in one of the 200 restaurants here in town in his best bet. How much do servers earn at mid-range places like Sonnys, Chilis, or Olive Garden? Seems like they would have at least 5 tables per hour and get $5-10 tip per table. That is 25-50 per hour. Anybody have experience?
Old 06-10-2019, 10:49 AM
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I waited tables all through college and remember figuring $20/hr or better as my "average" at a regular casual restaurant like you're describing.
Old 06-10-2019, 10:49 AM
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Depends on how the restaurant does the tipping. Aggregate tipping goes into a pool and divided which many waiting staff complains about because the good ones end up paying for the crappy ones. Also some places the business gets a cut in on it as well. On the other hand you also get the customers that don't tip because they don't believe in it.

Honesty I hate tipping but will do it as a normal custom to dining out, but I choose my own amount to be tipped, not their suggested amount which tends to be creeping even higher than it used to be.

Honestly I would get him into something seasonal or even maybe a laborer job like construction so he can get paid decently and learn something that could help him down the road. Even will do good as a summer gig.
Old 06-10-2019, 10:56 AM
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My son waited tables at the beach for a couple summers. He would easily clear over $200 per evening. I think his nightly avg was $200-$300.
Old 06-10-2019, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by WalkingTheDocks View Post
I waited tables all through college and remember figuring $20/hr or better as my "average" at a regular casual restaurant like you're describing.
This^ Red Lobster for me 2008-2010.

Make sure he's got a good head on his shoulders. Drugs and parties are a way of life for many in the restaurant biz.
Old 06-10-2019, 11:00 AM
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You’re assuming they get good hours. My guess would be lunch time to start, lunch specials at$9
Old 06-10-2019, 11:02 AM
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Compared to kitchen or dishwasher, servers must make twice as much, right?
Old 06-10-2019, 11:03 AM
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$20-25 per hour is about what he will likely be looking at. However, you will normally only work 4-6 hours per shift. I would try my best to not get on lunch shifts, or even work at a place that serves lunch. Just not enough high dollar tables to clean up.
Old 06-10-2019, 11:08 AM
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I worked at a fine dining restaurant during college (20 years back) and waiters made $100-200 an average shift back then. I would think guess that $20/hr average could be accurate now. Not really sure. There is usually prep work before the customers really come in and usually clean up at the end of the shift that lowers the total from a per hour perspective.

I would also mention that a lot of service industry people like to keep late hours and like to party. Not sure how that plays out in this kids case. All that said, wait staff and especially bartending can be some of the higher paying "college" jobs.
Old 06-10-2019, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Fish Haid View Post
Compared to kitchen or dishwasher, servers must make twice as much, right?
3-4 times more than likely
Old 06-10-2019, 11:15 AM
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I waited tables and bartended throughout high school and college at casual dining place. Waiting tables slow nights would be $100-125 for a 4-6 hr shift. Weekends you could figure $200+ for the same shift. This was 20yrs ago. I’d never have worked in a kitchen.
Old 06-10-2019, 11:16 AM
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I told him to start as server, with goal of becoming bartender.
Old 06-10-2019, 11:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Fish Haid View Post
I told him to start as server, with goal of becoming bartender.
absolutely. Bar is where you ultimately want to be. Probably made twice as much than when I waited tables.
Old 06-10-2019, 11:19 AM
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Let's be clear here. Wait staff is NOT paid $20/hour. Here they are paid $2.35/hour and they keep their tips. Good waiter/waitress can make upwards of $200 per shift in tips as long as the restaurant doesn't pool tips. They also have to declare tips each day for tax purposes.
Old 06-10-2019, 11:20 AM
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And if you are a bartender, you'll get tipped out from the wait staff.
Old 06-10-2019, 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by tim kilbride View Post
Let's be clear here. Wait staff is NOT paid $20/hour. Here they are paid $2.35/hour and they keep their tips. Good waiter/waitress can make upwards of $200 per shift in tips as long as the restaurant doesn't pool tips. They also have to declare tips each day for tax purposes.
yes this is true. But let’s be clear here in that not a single server in the country is claiming all their tips. Most claim 10-12% of their receipts for the night. Their paycheck generally covers your taxes owed.
Old 06-10-2019, 11:23 AM
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Originally Posted by WPBTH View Post
You’re assuming they get good hours. My guess would be lunch time to start, lunch specials at$9
Turnover in the industry is VERY high, mostly because it's hard work. Stick it out and you'll be getting the prime shifts in just a few months.
Old 06-10-2019, 11:25 AM
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Originally Posted by tim kilbride View Post
Let's be clear here. Wait staff is NOT paid $20/hour. Here they are paid $2.35/hour and they keep their tips. Good waiter/waitress can make upwards of $200 per shift in tips as long as the restaurant doesn't pool tips. They also have to declare tips each day for tax purposes.
Hah.... that's cute.

Get good service and want to do something extra for your server? Pay with a card and tip with cash.
Old 06-10-2019, 11:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Kenny Powers View Post
Hah.... that's cute.

Get good service and want to do something extra for your server? Pay with a card and tip with cash.
Better yet? Pay fully in cash.
Old 06-10-2019, 11:33 AM
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I was a server/bartender all through college and for 10 yrs afterwards (late 80's -90's). Depends upon the place and hours...I always set my benchmark at walking with $100/every shift. Some of the bars I worked at, we would make $300-400 on an average night. Worked at a place that had nickel beer on Wednesday nights from 6-8 and everyone that got a beer generally gave you $1, $2-3 if they were getting a couple of beers for their friends and my bar was always 4-5 people deep...there were many Wednesdays I went in at 4 and left by 11 and made $700-1000. My best friend and I (he's still a server/bartender, been at hard Rock Cafe for 20 yrs) would meet at 8 in the morning and water ski or mountain bike until 2, take a power nap and go to work and wake up and do it all over again. The servers at our Saturday morning breakfast/lunch spot make $150 or more per shift and they close at 2pm. Great job with great flexibility, unfortunately the benefits suck and if you're sick or hurt and don't work, you don't make money.

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