The Average Salary of a Waiter

Written by ian graham
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The Average Salary of a Waiter
Waiters' and waitresses' incomes depend heavily on tips. (waiter setting table in restaurant image by Stephen Orsillo from

Waiters and waitresses who serve customers in restaurants, bars and similar establishments often earn low hourly wages. They rely on the tips they earn by providing good service to increase their incomes, as they often work only part-time hours.


Waiters and waitresses, who held 2,302,070 jobs in the United States in May 2009, made average wages of £6.30 hourly or £13,247 per year, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) survey conducted at that time. Hourly wages ranged from £4.60 or less for the lowest-paid 10 per cent to £9.40 and higher for the best-paid 10 per cent. A survey of 1,628 waiters and waitresses updated in September 2010 found hourly wages ranged from £2.10 to £5.0, while tips amounted to £3.20 to £8.20 per hour.

Top Industries

Full-service restaurants are the biggest employer of waiters and waitress, according to the BLS, employing 1,735,260 as food servers at an average hourly wage of £6.30 in May 2009. Other industries in the top five were limited-service eating places, traveller accommodation, drinking places and other amusement and recreation industries.

Top-Paying Areas

Waiters and waitresses in Washington state were the highest-paid in May 2009, the BLS reports, with average wages of £8.90 per hour or £18,583 per year. reported that waiters and waitresses were paid the most in San Francisco, with wages ranging from £3.80 to £6.40 per hour.

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