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Working as a Restaurant Server

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.

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a restaurant server. For example, did you know that they make an average of $11.5 an hour? That's $23,919 a year!

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow 6% and produce 170,200 job opportunities across the U.S.

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.

When it comes to the most important skills required to be a restaurant server, we found that a lot of resumes listed 12.6% of restaurant servers included beverage orders, while 9.0% of resumes included guest service, and 8.0% of resumes included food preparation. Hard skills like these are helpful to have when it comes to performing essential job responsibilities.

When it comes to searching for a job, many search for a key term or phrase. Instead, it might be more helpful to search by industry, as you might be missing jobs that you never thought about in industries that you didn't even think offered positions related to the restaurant server job title. But what industry to start with? Most restaurant servers actually find jobs in the hospitality and retail industries.

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 44.3% of restaurant servers have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 3.3% of restaurant servers have master's degrees. Even though some restaurant servers have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become a restaurant server. When we researched the most common majors for a restaurant server, we found that they most commonly earn bachelor's degree degrees or high school diploma degrees. Other degrees that we often see on restaurant server resumes include associate degree degrees or diploma degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a restaurant server. In fact, many restaurant server jobs require experience in a role such as server. Meanwhile, many restaurant servers also have previous career experience in roles such as cashier or sales associate.

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Average Salary$23,919
Job Growth Rate6%

Restaurant Server Career Paths

Top Careers Before Restaurant Server

Server
12.9 %
Cashier
11.9 %

Top Careers After Restaurant Server

Server
14.9 %
Cashier
9.7 %

What is the right job for my career path?

Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the rights job to get there.

Average Salary for a Restaurant Server

Restaurant Servers in America make an average salary of $23,919 per year or $12 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $31,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $18,000 per year.
Average Salary
$23,919

Best Paying Cities

City
Average Salary
Commack, NY
Salary Range28k - 39k$34k$33,721
Fresno, CA
Salary Range23k - 34k$29k$28,579
Glendale, AZ
Salary Range19k - 28k$24k$23,626
Buffalo Grove, IL
Salary Range19k - 27k$23k$23,142
Houston, TX
Salary Range16k - 29k$22k$22,119
Clinton, MI
Salary Range17k - 26k$22k$21,783
$13k
$39k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyCompanyStart DateSalary
Restaurant Server
Restaurant Server
Renaissance Milwaukee West
Renaissance Milwaukee West
01/28/2021
01/28/2021
$14,60901/28/2021
$14,609
Restaurant Server
Restaurant Server
Kimpton Hotels
Kimpton Hotels
01/23/2021
01/23/2021
$24,52201/23/2021
$24,522
Restaurant Server
Restaurant Server
Concord Hospitality
Concord Hospitality
01/23/2021
01/23/2021
$14,60901/23/2021
$14,609
Restaurant Server
Restaurant Server
Sage Hospitality Resources, LLP
Sage Hospitality Resources, LLP
01/10/2021
01/10/2021
$24,52201/10/2021
$24,522
Restaurant Server
Restaurant Server
Xanterra Parks & Resorts
Xanterra Parks & Resorts
12/15/2020
12/15/2020
$18,78312/15/2020
$18,783
See More Recent Salaries

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Restaurant Server Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming a Restaurant Server. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

Learn How To Write a Restaurant Server Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Restaurant Server resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

View Detailed Information

Restaurant Server Demographics

Gender

female

56.7 %

male

38.0 %

unknown

5.3 %

Ethnicity

White

56.9 %

Hispanic or Latino

19.9 %

Black or African American

11.8 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

52.8 %

French

9.5 %

Japanese

5.2 %
See More Demographics

Restaurant Server Education

Majors

Business
19.6 %

Degrees

Bachelors

44.3 %

High School Diploma

26.5 %

Associate

16.5 %
Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

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, 12.6% of restaurant servers listed beverage orders on their resume, but soft skills such as detail oriented and communication skills are important as well.

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 Oregon, Alaska, New York, and Washington. Restaurant servers make the most in Oregon with an average salary of $34,907. Whereas in Alaska and New York, they would average $34,693 and $33,577, respectively. While restaurant servers would only make an average of $33,341 in Washington, 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. Nevada

Total Restaurant Server Jobs:
337
Highest 10% Earn:
$36,000
Location Quotient:
1.81
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Oregon

Total Restaurant Server Jobs:
227
Highest 10% Earn:
$53,000
Location Quotient:
0.68
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. New York

Total Restaurant Server Jobs:
968
Highest 10% Earn:
$46,000
Location Quotient:
0.71
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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Top Restaurant Server Employers

1. McDonald's
4.2
Avg. Salary: 
$18,864
Restaurant Servers Hired: 
116+
2. Darden Restaurants
3.7
Avg. Salary: 
$24,579
Restaurant Servers Hired: 
110+
3. Red Lobster
4.3
Avg. Salary: 
$25,826
Restaurant Servers Hired: 
86+
4. Buffalo Wild Wings
4.2
Avg. Salary: 
$23,877
Restaurant Servers Hired: 
63+
5. Hilton
4.7
Avg. Salary: 
$22,378
Restaurant Servers Hired: 
56+
6. Ruby Tuesday
4.0
Avg. Salary: 
$26,066
Restaurant Servers Hired: 
55+

Restaurant Server Videos

Updated October 2, 2020