Fair Pay for Restaurant Wait Staff

April 15th, 2015

How much do restaurants pay waiters & waitresses? Minimum tipped wages are currently (4/15/15) $2.13/hr and have been so since 1991.  A few states have higher minimum wages (California $7.25/hr). While a few stellar and fortunate folks can make a living wage from tips, your average waitperson cannot. How can you make a difference?

1) Write your representatives and ask that minimum tipped wage rise yearly at the same rate as as other government COLAs (cost of living adjustments0

2) Be aware of how wait staff are paid at the restaurants you frequent – ask them. If they are not paid fairly, stop giving the restaurant your business and tell the manager or owner the reason. They can make the decision to change or go out of business. Find a restaurant with ethical pay and eat there (& tell your friends to do the same).

In the meantime, I’m starting a list here of wages at restaurants. GlassDoor is a good place to start for Base Salary. Recommend that wait staff start entering their data into Glass Door regardless of how big or small your employer. Information helps us all make ethical decisions.  Feel free to comment and provide info on restaurants that you know wage and benefits (if any) for:

Name                  Hourly    % Above/              Other Benefits

                                              Belo Natl Avg

Big Boy               $2.13        -82%                     None

BJ’s                       $7.00      -44%

Cracker Barrel     $2.84/hr                              Avg tips $17,120. Benes only for full time which most servers are not.

Disney                                                                  Avg ann’l pay $32,951, Health Insurance, Sick Days, wages are union

Hilton                $7.49                                        Bonus, avg tips $18, 852

Hyatt                                                                      Avg ann’l pay $24K, Health Ins, Vacation & Leave