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I keep hearing about how waiters and waitresses make so little money
Jokes, Polls & Anything Else / 3:02 PM - Monday December 07, 2009

I keep hearing about how waiters and waitresses make so little money

and make most of their money from tips.

I feel for those poor wait staff people. They get hosed. Its a tough job.

Do they at least make minimum wage? Or is there some rule that allows them to be paid less?

- Asked by quikslvr, A Career Man, Male, 36-45, Washington, DC, Farming

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A lot are paid less. they can do this because the tips are part of their wage and reported to the govt for taxes (cough).

- Response by newnumbersguy32, A Mr. Nice Guy, Male, 36-45, Financial / Banking

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They make less than minimum wage - they are the only workers who are legally allowed to be paid less than the minimum wage because the government assumes they will make up the difference in tips. In fact the government taxes them based on the assumption that they will make X amount in tips. Thats why its mean to stiff a waiter unless their service REALLY sucked - if you stiff them, they will still get taxed on what the government assumes they will have made in tips, ie they end up getting taxed on money they didn't actually make.

- Response by xerxes, An Intellectual Guy, Male, 46-55, Washington, DC, Lawyer

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In most states in the U.S., they do NOT make minimum wage.

In Utah, they make $2.35 per hour.

- Response by utahmom, A Thinker, Female, 56-65, Managerial

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Only feel sorry for the servers who work in places like Applebees and such. Servers at bars and restaurants that have higher overall tabs can make quite a bit.

When I was in college, I worked at an International House of Pancakes, and a good day in tips was maybe $50.00. One roommate worked at a very nice seafood restaurant where the average dinner entree was around $20, plus they served alcoholic beverages. She could make $300 a night or more.

- Response by carinabay, A Cool Mom, Female, 46-55, Lawyer

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Service jobs like that can suck unless it's at a nice place where good folks actually DO tip, some dive joints can suck.

- Response by geester, A Creative, Male, 56-65, Celebrity

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its a tough job but dont feel too sorry for them. I have several friends, bartending and waitressing who make about 5-7.50 hour but about 1-300 in tips a day depending on the shift. In some states they can pay less than minimum wage but overall not a bad wage. especially when the IRS requires they report the tips but they pick an average and you can bet, about 40% gets reported so couple hundred tax free a day at a busy job.

- Response by mtusa007, A Rebel, Male, 56-65, Self-Employed

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It IS a tough job, and it's dependent on the success of others as well. For example, if the kitchen takes a long time to prepare the meal, then the waiter/waitress gets a low tip. If the food isn't cooked properly, same thing. If the flatware is dirty, then the tip might be low. If a great-tasting meal costs $20 in one place and $30 in another, then excellent service will be rewarded more by the second patron than the first.

No, waiters/waitresses don't make minimum wage. They are often legally allowed to earn less because the tips will "make up the difference." Obviously, this was a law enacted by employers and not anyone who cares about employees.

- Response by media4u2, A Father Figure, Male, 66 or older, Pittsburgh, Teaching

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In the UK....everyone irrespective of what sector they work in must make at least minimum wage.

However, judging by this site...this doesn't seem to be the case in the US.

That sucks for waiters and waitresses. But rather than condemning the customers....people should haul the owners into court

- Response by mantis, A Creative, Male, 18-21

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They get paid less then minimum wage at the restaurants that I have worked at. However; either the owner or executive chef would hold a competition each night for servers, to see who would be the first to sell one of each item on the menu. The winning server would get $100. Each servers got to keep their tips for themeselves.

Even though that was just a ploy to get the servers to work harder and make them more money. To be honest, they didn't treat us line cooks any better either.






- Response by modelesqueme, A Cool Mom, Female, 29-35, New York, Food Service

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I was a p/t waitress for years! and YES, you get minimum wage.

for example, If the restaurant pays you $2.35/hr plus tips... at the end of the night you divide your tips per how many work hours that day and add it to the 2.35 hourly tip rate, if it doesnt add up to minimum wage the restaurant must pay you the difference.

2.35/hr... 5 hours worked a 5$ tip (the weather was bad rain/snow/sleet and you had 1 customer)that means, you made 3.35/hr because you spread that $5 across the 5 hours that you worked then add it to your hourly wage, after that the restaurant must pay the difference between minimun wage and the 3.35/hr.

i hope you understand this ... i typed your answer at 150 words per minute... gotta get back to work, bye-bye... ;-)


- Response by donnapark62, A Player, Female, 36-45, Who Cares?

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They have their own minimum wage, (varies by state) but that does not mean that that is how much any waiter/ess is making. That is the minimum they are allowed to be paid. Just as you should not assume anyone else who has a job is only getting the regular minimum wage. The ammount they make in tips vary a lot on resteraunt and night. So some make practically nothing but others make out like bandits. I knew one waitress at a bar, she was easily clearing 250 per night from tips.


- Response by jjcabin, An Intellectual Guy, Male, 36-45, Washington, DC, Technical

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Yes, because they get tips, they make MUCH less than minimum wage. When I waited tables in college (mid-late 90's) the hourly wage was somewhere around $2.70/hr. THAT'S why it's so shitty to not tip, unless there was something seriously wrong with the service. Those people literally live off their tips. Their paycheck is maybe enough to pay their light bill or something, but their real $ comes from tips. Not to mention, they have to declare and pay taxes on the tips, and that comes out of the already miniscule paycheck. Once all's said and done, I've seen waiters get a $60 paycheck for two weeks work.

What I always think is unfair is when people tip based on how they liked the food. The waiter didn't cook the food, and the person who did is still making more per hour than the waiter! As long as the server is willing to take it back and have the cook re-do it correctly, don't penalize the server.

I've heard alot of people say, "Why don't they just pay the servers a decent wage and do away with tipping?" The reason is, if they did that, alot of us couldn't afford to eat in restaurants, ever. The restaurant business has ridiculously small profit margins. The reason is, no matter what you do, you always end up throwing away ALOT of food. If they paid the servers a living wage, they'd have to charge you the REAL cost of your meal. Which means, you'd eat one steak, and pay for three. The one you ate, the one that fell on the floor while they were cooking it, and the one they tossed out cuz it was older than the others and smelled funny.

- Response by rokitman, A Creative, Male, 36-45, Artist / Musician / Writer

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no they make far less than min if they are receiving tips and it is not right

- Response by bigcurt, A Mr. Nice Guy, Male, 56-65, Pittsburgh, Self-Employed

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no, we have to by law, get paid minimum wage... but it is true, we do make a fortune in tips. it's restaurants that make their employees pool the tips i feel sorry for.... I'd hate to share my own self-deserved tips with that bitchy girl i work with who hardly gets any tips (with good reason)

- Response by A Rebel, Male, 22-25, Toronto, Student

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I worked as a waitress for awhile when I was in high school, and the minimum wage then was 4-something, but we were only paid 2 bucks. AND we had to report our nightly earnings to the IRS.

- Response by seductivepisces9, A Thinker, Female, 29-35, Who Cares?

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I made the service indusry my career, and it is a very tough job. People are mean and have no respect for the person serving them. Most people do not know what goes on behind the seen and how much work is involved for that company and they pay 2.13 an hour. Since the wage is so low they get the servers to do most of the work and the higher paid to do less. The government tells me that every table should tip.. Haha.. I do make good money but I work ten hours without break and take a lot of heartache from the guest all the way to management. I can understand the wage if tipping was a mandatory thing. It is not. So we gamble everyday. Now years ago the age group had home training so the tips was better. TODAY it is just getting out of control.

- Response by A Thinker, Female, 36-45, New Orleans

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