Restaurant servers attend to guests at dining establishments, serving them food and beverages. They seat customers, inform them about specials, and answer questions about the menu. They take their orders and deliver the meals to their tables. Very much like waiters, which is the less fancy term for restaurant servers.

Being polite and patient is essential in any profession dealing with customers, and this applies to restaurant servers just the same. They communicate with kitchen staff as well, which is no less of a feat, and contribute to keeping the establishment clean and safe. Taking payment and dealing with customer complaints is also their duty.

A high school diploma will suffice to get you started on the job. Being energetic and positive, thriving in a teamwork atmosphere, and performing well under pressure will be what really matters. You will have to be fast and on your feet during your entire shift, though, so physical stamina is also essential.

What Does a Restaurant Server Do

There are certain skills that many restaurant servers have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed detail oriented, communication skills and customer-service skills.

Learn more about what a Restaurant Server does

How To Become a Restaurant Server

If you're interested in becoming a restaurant server, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 48.3% of restaurant servers have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 3.0% of restaurant servers have master's degrees. Even though most restaurant servers have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Learn More About How To Become a Restaurant Server

Restaurant Server Career Paths

Average Salary for a Restaurant Server

Restaurant Servers in America make an average salary of $24,558 per year or $12 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $37,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $15,000 per year.
Average Restaurant Server Salary
$24,558 Yearly
$11.81 hourly

What Am I Worth?


Roles and Types of Restaurant Server

The role of a restaurant server includes a wide range of responsibilities. These responsibilities can vary based on an individual's specific job, company, or industry.Here are some general restaurant server responsibilities:

  • Reports to property on time and in proper uniform. Checks with manager for assigned dining room station, opening side work,
  • Adhere to company policy and state
  • Serve high quality, hot, fresh food in a timely

There are several types of restaurant server, including:



Be our guest! Sure, server's don't typically sing Disney songs to their customers but they do make sure customers get their food as soon as it's ready.

Once you've been serving for awhile, you may be able to impress your guests with taking their food order without writing the orders down. As long as you get the entire order correct, this may score you a nice tip.

Not everyone is going to enjoy their dining experience though, and whether it's your fault or the chef's fault, it is your responsibility to correct any problems. Don't worry, you can go yell at the chef later.

  • Average Salary: $29,901
  • Degree: Bachelor's Degree



Waitresses take food and beverage orders, typically in dining establishments. You don't need a lot of formal education to be a waitress, but you'll receive some on-the-job training. If you want to secure a lot of tips, you may want to brush up on your customer service.

Some waitresses depend on a notepad to make sure the orders come out right, fewer waitresses are able to memorize everyone's order. Even if the waitresses jotted down or memorized the order perfectly if there is a mistake with the food, they're the first to blame.

As a waitress, you'll probably have to deal with a lot of "hangry" people but, hopefully, once they've eaten, they'll be in a much better mood and leave a nice tip. There will undoubtedly be times that you have to deal with difficult customers, it's those days that make this job stressful.

  • Average Salary: $24,770
  • Degree: High School Diploma



When you first enter a restaurant or other dining facility, you'll most likely be greeted by a hostess. As a hostess, you get the pleasure of telling "hangry" people that they have to wait 2 hours for their table to be ready. Sounds fun, right?

Well, actually being a hostess can be enjoyable. It's kind of like playing Tetris. You have to be able to figure out where to seat customers. Sometimes you may also have to answer phone calls regarding questions about the menu or to take reservations (because who has time for a 2-hour wait?).

Hostesses work odd hours, some work early mornings and others work late evenings. Uou definitely shouldn't be surprised about working a weekend shift. I mean people still eat on the weekends; probably moreso than they do during the week.

  • Average Salary: $26,298
  • Degree: High School Diploma

States With The Most Restaurant Server Jobs

Mouse over a state to see the number of active restaurant server jobs in each state. The darker areas on the map show where restaurant servers earn the highest salaries across all 50 states.

Average Salary: Job Openings:

Number Of Restaurant Server Jobs By State

RankStateNumber of JobsAverage Salary
9North Carolina1,546$20,617
10New York1,472$26,875
16New Jersey1,012$26,651
20South Carolina870$19,998
36West Virginia329$22,432
39New Mexico224$22,308
40New Hampshire222$23,231
45Rhode Island111$25,436
47North Dakota78$23,293
48South Dakota77$20,964

Restaurant Server Education

Restaurant Server Majors

19.6 %

Restaurant Server Degrees


48.3 %

High School Diploma

21.7 %


19.1 %

Top Skills For a Restaurant Server

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 28.3% of restaurant servers listed wine on their resume, but soft skills such as detail oriented and communication skills are important as well.

Choose From 10+ Customizable Restaurant Server Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Restaurant Server templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Restaurant Server resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

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Restaurant Server diversity

Restaurant Server Gender Distribution


After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among restaurant servers, 59.2% of them are women, while 40.8% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among restaurant servers is White, which makes up 52.2% of all restaurant servers.

  • The most common foreign language among restaurant servers is Spanish at 52.8%.

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Best States For a Restaurant Server

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a restaurant server. The best states for people in this position are California, Washington, Massachusetts, and Vermont. Restaurant servers make the most in California with an average salary of $32,428. Whereas in Washington and Massachusetts, they would average $30,709 and $30,647, respectively. While restaurant servers would only make an average of $29,148 in Vermont, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Arizona

Total Restaurant Server Jobs: 1,116
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:

2. California

Total Restaurant Server Jobs: 4,356
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:

3. Colorado

Total Restaurant Server Jobs: 1,309
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:
Full List Of Best States For Restaurant Servers

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Top Restaurant Server Employers

Most Common Employers For Restaurant Server

RankCompanyAverage SalaryHourly RateJob Openings
1The Cheesecake Factory$35,858$17.2444
2Texas Roadhouse$28,811$13.8540
3Darden Restaurants$26,159$12.58113
4Outback Steakhouse$25,832$12.4254
5Cracker Barrel$25,615$12.3141
6Chili's Grill & Bar$25,428$12.2254
7Hyatt Hotels$25,173$12.1036
10Ruby Tuesday$24,537$11.8055

Restaurant Server Videos