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How Much Do Servers Make Per Hour?

    Servers play a crucial role in the restaurant industry, providing customers with excellent service and ensuring they have a positive dining experience. But how much do servers make per hour? It’s a question that many people have, whether they’re thinking about becoming a server or just curious about how much these hardworking professionals earn.

    The answer isn’t straightforward, as the amount servers make can vary depending on a number of factors, such as the restaurant’s location, type of establishment, and level of experience. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at server wages and explore what factors can impact how much they earn per hour. So, if you’re curious about how much servers make and want to learn more about this important role, keep reading!

    Servers typically make an hourly wage plus tips. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median hourly wage for servers in the United States is $11.42 per hour, with a range of $8.55 to $16.39 per hour. However, servers can earn much more than this in tips, which can vary greatly depending on the restaurant and the customer base.

    How Much Do Servers Make Per Hour?

    Being a server is a popular line of work for many people who are looking to make a decent wage. With the flexibility of hours and the potential to earn tips on top of an hourly wage, it’s no surprise that many people are interested in becoming servers. However, the question remains: how much do servers make per hour?

    Hourly Wages for Servers

    Servers in the United States are typically paid an hourly wage that is below the minimum wage. This is known as the tipped minimum wage and varies from state to state. The federal tipped minimum wage is currently set at $2.13 per hour. However, some states have set their own tipped minimum wage, which can be higher than the federal rate.

    Servers are expected to earn enough in tips to bring their total earnings up to at least the minimum wage. If they do not earn enough in tips, their employer is required to make up the difference. This is known as the tip credit system.

    State-by-State Tipped Minimum Wage

    Here is a breakdown of the tipped minimum wage in each state as of 2021:

    State Tipped Minimum Wage
    Alabama $2.13
    Alaska $10.34
    Arizona $9.00
    Arkansas $2.63
    California $13.00
    Colorado $9.30
    Connecticut $6.38
    Delaware $2.23
    District of Columbia $4.45
    Florida $5.63
    Georgia $2.13
    Hawaii $10.10
    Idaho $3.35
    Illinois $6.60
    Indiana $2.13
    Iowa $4.35
    Kansas $2.13
    Kentucky $2.13
    Louisiana $2.13
    Maine $6.08
    Maryland $3.63
    Massachusetts $5.55
    Michigan $3.67
    Minnesota $10.08
    Mississippi $2.13
    Missouri $4.73
    Montana $8.75
    Nebraska $2.13
    Nevada $8.00
    New Hampshire $3.27
    New Jersey $3.13
    New Mexico $2.13
    New York $10.00
    North Carolina $2.13
    North Dakota $4.86
    Ohio $4.15
    Oklahoma $2.13
    Oregon $12.00
    Pennsylvania $2.83
    Rhode Island $3.89
    South Carolina $2.13
    South Dakota $4.50
    Tennessee $2.13
    Texas $2.13
    Utah $2.13
    Vermont $5.39
    Virginia $2.13
    Washington $13.69
    West Virginia $2.62
    Wisconsin $2.33
    Wyoming $2.13

    As you can see, the tipped minimum wage can vary greatly depending on where you work. Servers in states with a higher tipped minimum wage may have an easier time earning enough in tips to bring their total earnings up to the minimum wage.

    Factors That Affect Server Wages

    While the tipped minimum wage provides a baseline for server wages, there are several factors that can impact how much a server earns.

    – Tips: The biggest factor that impacts a server’s earnings is the amount of tips they receive. Servers who provide excellent service and work in upscale restaurants may earn more in tips than those who work in casual dining establishments.

    – Location: Servers who work in busy tourist areas or in cities with a high cost of living may earn more in tips than those who work in less populated areas.

    – Experience: Servers who have been working in the industry for a long time may earn more in tips than those who are just starting out.

    The Pros and Cons of Being a Server

    Now that you know how much servers make per hour, let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of working in this field.

    Benefits of Being a Server

    – Flexibility: Servers often have flexible schedules, which can be a huge benefit for those who are looking for a job that can accommodate their other commitments.

    – Tips: Servers have the potential to earn a significant amount of money in tips, which can make up for a lower hourly wage.

    – Socialization: Servers interact with a wide variety of people on a daily basis, which can be a great way to meet new people and develop social skills.

    Drawbacks of Being a Server

    – Physical Demands: Serving can be a physically demanding job, requiring servers to be on their feet for long periods of time and carry heavy trays.

    – Unpredictable Income: Because servers rely on tips to make a living, their income can be unpredictable from week to week.

    – Difficult Customers: Dealing with difficult customers can be a major source of stress for servers, especially those who work in busy restaurants.


    While server wages can vary greatly depending on where you work, the potential to earn tips can make this a lucrative field for those who are willing to put in the effort. However, it’s important to be aware of the drawbacks of this job before jumping in. With the right combination of hard work, experience, and customer service skills, serving can be a rewarding and profitable career choice.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What is the average hourly wage for servers?

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median hourly wage for servers in the United States is $11.42 per hour. However, this can vary greatly depending on the type of establishment they work in, their level of experience, and the location of the restaurant.

    In some states, servers may also receive a lower minimum wage due to the expectation of earning tips. It’s important to research the specific laws and regulations in your area to understand the minimum wage requirements for servers.

    Do servers make more money in higher-end restaurants?

    In general, servers at higher-end restaurants tend to earn more in tips due to the higher prices of the menu items and the expectation of better service. However, this is not always the case and can vary depending on the location and type of establishment.

    It’s important to note that while servers at higher-end restaurants may earn more in tips, they may also have higher expectations placed on them in terms of their level of experience and professionalism.

    How much of a server’s income comes from tips?

    The amount of a server’s income that comes from tips can vary greatly depending on the establishment they work in and the level of service they provide. In general, servers can expect to earn anywhere from 10-20% of the total bill in tips.

    However, it’s important to remember that tips are not guaranteed and can fluctuate based on factors such as the time of day, the size of the party, and the overall satisfaction of the customers.

    Do servers receive any benefits in addition to their hourly wage?

    Depending on the establishment they work in, servers may be eligible for benefits such as health insurance, paid time off, and retirement plans. However, these benefits are not guaranteed and can vary greatly depending on the employer.

    In some cases, servers may also receive additional perks such as free meals or discounts on menu items as a part of their employment package.

    What skills are necessary for a server to earn higher tips?

    Excellent customer service skills, attention to detail, and a friendly personality are all important factors that can influence a server’s tips. Additionally, the ability to anticipate the needs of customers and provide personalized recommendations can also lead to higher tips.

    It’s also important for servers to have a good understanding of the menu and be able to answer any questions that customers may have, as well as being able to handle any issues or complaints that may arise during the meal.

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    In conclusion, the amount of money servers make per hour can vary greatly depending on several factors. Location, experience, and the type of establishment are all significant factors that can impact a server’s hourly wage. Despite the potential for fluctuations, many servers rely heavily on tips to supplement their income, making customer service skills a crucial aspect of the job.

    While some servers may earn a minimum wage, others can earn significantly more with the right combination of experience and skill. It’s essential to remember that servers play a vital role in the hospitality industry and work hard to provide customers with a pleasant dining experience. As such, it’s important to tip generously and show appreciation for their hard work.

    Ultimately, the amount that servers make per hour is highly dependent on the individual circumstances of each server. While this can make it difficult to give a definitive answer to the question, it’s clear that servers are an integral part of the foodservice industry and deserve to be compensated fairly for their work.

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