Are you are trained restaurant server and you are wondering how much you can earn in tips and salary monthly? If YES, here is a detailed analysis. The average restaurant server salary per month is $2,033.20, which adds up to $24,410 per year. This includes tips, and tips are without doubt the largest portion of a waiter or restaurant server’s income, about 70 percent in fact.

According to reports, men unfairly make more than women doing the same job, about $4,500 more per year, despite the fact there are about twice as many women servers. Also note that this field is growing at a slower than average rate, penned at 7 percent growth over the next 10 years as more people prefer food delivery to going out.

Note that the federal minimum wage for restaurant servers is $2.13 per hour, and has been since 1991. The U.S. Department of Labour notes that each state has three options to pay tipped employees such as restaurant servers. First, the state can pay only the minimum cash wage of $2.13. Second, a state can pay a salary above the minimum cash wage. Third, the state must pay the state minimum wage, which is higher in some states than the federal minimum wage.

Have it in mind that in a state that must pay only the federal minimum for waiters and restaurant servers, a full-time restaurant server might earn as little as $369 a month, exclusive of tips. Although some states are increasing their minimum wage, this change has not yet made it to the federal level, which still dictates $2.13 for restaurant servers or waiters’ salary.

Tips are not expected to be declared on your taxes, and the federal government is getting quite good at estimating them, so don’t be tempted to “forget” at tax time. The average restaurant server tips vary depending on where she works.

Note that individuals who work in resort and tourist towns like Miami can receive an average of $13 per hour, while run-down areas like Detroit can average only about $7. At posh Vegas resorts, waiters and restaurant servers can pocket hundreds per night in tips.

However, it can be very difficult to identify just one salary figure for restaurant servers generally. The truth be known, salaries vary dramatically – even within the same occupation. Two workers, each with the same position and job responsibilities may earn different salaries. Employers typically adjust what they are willing to pay an employee based on several factors.

Factors That Influence How Much a Restaurant Server Can Earn

Here are some of the more obvious factors, such as experience and company, and some of the not so obvious factors, such as shift differentials and performance reviews, that influence how much a restaurant server can earn.

  1. Geographic Location

Geographic location is one of the biggest factors when it comes to how much you can earn in a given profession. For example, Hawaii tops the list with a mean monthly wage of $3,092, but it also has a high cost of living. Kauai is the least commercially developed of all the Hawaiian Islands, but servers at restaurants and resorts here have an average income of $3,497 per month.

Servers working in Kahului, on the island of Maui, bring home a mean monthly wage of $3,322.In the state of Vermont, restaurant servers make a mean monthly income of $2,648. However, the nonmetropolitan area of southern Vermont offers slightly higher wages of $2,806/month.

Although California employs the most waitresses and servers, it does not rank in the top five for best paying states. The average monthly income for waitresses in California is $2,578. However, restaurant servers in the metropolitan area of Salinas, California, can average $3,093/month and those in the San Francisco region have a mean wage of $3,008.

States with average monthly wages below $1,667, or $20,000 annually, are Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Georgia. The highest wages for waitresses are found in states mostly on the east and west coasts of the U.S. However, these areas also have higher costs of living.

  1. Class of Restaurant

Restaurant servers that work in upscale restaurants, resorts, country clubs, hotels, and other similar venues typically earn more than their counterparts in lower restaurants. Please also note that restaurant servers may work part time or full time.

Some may also have additional part-time jobs. Some restaurants advertise for part-time server’s jobs, while others may prefer full-time servers to join their team. Keep in mind that many restaurant servers work evenings and weekends.

  1. Experience

Experience plays a large part in how much you can earn as a restaurant server. While there is no formal education required to become a restaurant server, some upscale restaurants may prefer to hire servers who have a culinary diploma or degree. In some states, restaurant servers are expected to have a food handler’s card.

The most crucial element restaurants look for when hiring a restaurant server is past experience. If you are eager to become a server, it is best to start serving in a casual restaurant first to build up your serving skills. When hired at a fine dining restaurant, you will need to complete in-depth, on-the-job training that will include learning about the menu, wine pairings, food preparation styles, and other restaurant-specific details.

  1. Performance Reports

A good number of restaurants base how much they are willing to pay servers based on the review of performance reports. Performance reports may be more or less important for current employees who are being considered for a pay raise or promotion. However, prospective employers may also make hiring and salary offer decisions based on performance reports from a job seeker’s previous employer.

If you have performed exceptionally well, focus on this fact when requesting a promotion or applying for a new position. A written performance report, or even a letter of recommendation from a previous employer, will go a long way toward solidifying your value to your current or prospective employer.

  1. Minimum Wage Laws

Recent raises to the minimum wage in different states have resulted in different wage rates for tipped employees. For example, in Colorado, the minimum cash wage for restaurant servers is $8.08 an hour as of 2019. In Idaho, the minimum cash wage is $3.35 an hour. In Alaska and California, there is no tipped wage; servers are paid the regular minimum wage of $9.89 and $11 an hour, respectively.

  1. Shift Differentials

Restaurant servers who are willing to work less favorable shifts often earn a premium for doing so. Due to the higher social and physical cost of working outside of normal hours, workers are paid more to compensate for their sacrifice.

If you excel at customer service and have a lot of physical stamina, becoming a restaurant server may be a good option for you. You can have a flexible schedule, meet interesting people and make a good wage. Tips are better at expensive restaurants, but the serving standards are higher too, so you need to work your way up.