Salary for Waiters and Waitresses

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Also known as:  Cocktail Server, Cocktail Waitress, Dining Car Server, Restaurant Server, Wine Steward helps find better paying jobs across all specialties and locations. Sign up in our career community today!

Waiters and waitresses take food and beverage orders and deliver the same order to clients and guests at dining establishments. These individuals are able to retain large orders and information in a fast-paced environment while maintaining superior customer service skills. They effectively communicate with supervisors and kitchen staff to ensure that food is delivered to guests in a timely, efficient and satisfactory manner. They continuously check on guests at their table to ensure they are happy with their dining experience. Additionally, they take and process payments and clean tables and work stations once diners exit the establishment. They are able to prepare a variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages as well. A high school diploma is often required for employment in this professional field.

A Waiter or Waitress earns a pay level between $17,520 to $42,550 based on the level of experience. can get an average wage of twenty-seven thousand four hundred and seventy dollars every year.

can get the best pay in Hawaii, where they can get average job salaries of close to about $60,010. People with this job title can make the highest salaries in Management of Companies and Enterprises, which has normal pay levels of $34,450.

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The national wage distribution is shown below. To overlay local salaries for a Waiter or Waitress, please select your state.
Annual salary
Hourly rate
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The annual compensation for this career has gone up since 2004. Salaries have increased by an average of 72.38 percent nationwide in that time.


Waiters and Waitresses tend to make the most in the following industries:

Management of Companies and Enterprises
Administrative, Support and Waste Management Services
Transportation and Warehousing
Finance and Insurance
Other Services (except Public Administration)
Educational Services

In general, they earn less within the industries below:

Wholesale Trade
Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services
Public Administration
Retail Trade