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How Much Do Waiters / Waitresses Earn?

Waiter SalaryWaiting tables can be an exciting job for anyone who enjoys working with people. With most positions, you have the opportunity to learn about food, salesmanship and customer service in a fast-paced environment.

Many celebrities, CEOs and entrepreneurs started their careers out in the service industry. Some would even say that waiting tables is the best job you can have for truly learning how to interact with different types of customers. This is one reason why so many organizations choose to hire former waiters and waitresses.

Earnings as a Waiter or Waitress

Your earnings as a waiter or waitress will be highly dependent on the organization you work for. For example, individuals who work for a small diner may not make as much as someone who works in a fine-dining environment. However, you can expect to earn a decent wage. Waiting positions are quite popular with students and aspiring actors, because the job pays well enough to keep you afloat while you are pursuing other avenues.

Most positions will pay a very modest wage to the wait staff and the rest of their earnings come from tips. This is a commission of sorts that is usually a percentage of the tab for your table. If you do an excellent job, then your customers may tip you quite well. It’s not uncommon for waiters and waitresses to average between $15 and $20 per hour from tips. On a very busy evening shift, some wait staff can make well over $100 in tips.
Another factor that will determine your earnings as a waiter will be your skill as a salesman. Most restaurants will give you the opportunity to upsell deserts, appetizers and alcoholic drinks that can add to the total tab of a table. Since most customers tip between 15 and 20% of the tab, you can end up making a higher wage from your efforts.

How to Find the Best Waiting Jobs

Finding a job as a waiter will depend on your ability to network and sell yourself. Some people may find luck by putting on a nice outfit and showing up to a restaurant during the slow hours of the day. If you speak to a manager and let them know you are eager to learn the skills needed to be a waiter, then you may even get hired on the spot.

The highest paying waiting positions will have more competition. These will be working for fine-dining restaurants and more expensive eateries. It helps to know someone who works at the restaurant, but experience is usually your best ally for these positions.

Many U.S. cities have weekly magazines that new restaurants will advertise in. If a new location is opening up in your area, then the management will be looking for locals to add to their roster. Your best bet is to call ahead and ask if you can bring an application. Don’t forget to print out a resume and cover letter and outline as much customer service experience as you can. Good luck!

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