06 March 2016

Tipping The Server

It gets pointed out that the official hourly wage for servers is niggardly.

That part is correct.

What often gets missed is that's only a small portion of a server's wages.

Let's take an average lunch hour into account...

Average cost per seat at Chili's is about $20.  It takes about an hour for each customer to filter through.  Most tables have two customers.  Even at 10% tip there's $4 an hour per table.  The server is responsible for six tables.  We're now at $24 an hour.  At 10% tip...

However...  Over the course of the day, all six tables aren't in continuous operation.  It adds up to being about 50% over the course of the shift, or $12 an hour.  Plus $5.03 an hour minimum server wage (Florida)...

$17.03 an hour.

Except that the average tip is actually 18%.  So that's $26.63 an hour your server is pulling down.

So when someone tries to make you feel guilty about how much servers make, ask yourself if you make $55k a year.  The average server does...


  1. And some of that tip money is tax free.

  2. Federal minimum wage for waiters is $2.13. I travel enough that I should probably pay more attention to what it actually is where I'm eating, but I don't consider it worth the effort just to justify maybe saving myself a buck on a dinner.

    It's also worth noting that many (most? all?) restaurants require wait staff to give a set percentage of their receipts to the hostess, the bartender and the bussers. I think it was 1%, 2% and 1% respectively at the only place I ever waited tables. Not a percentage of the actual tips left on the table, a percentage of the total receipts, and the bartender gets his cut whether or not a particular waiter serves any alcohol to any of his tables.


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