The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

19 May 2004

Buffeted by all sides

If I learned anything in my three trips to New Jersey, it's that a really good waiter is worth his weight, if not necessarily in gold, certainly in stacks of currency; the fellow who worked our table those nights definitely earned the $150 or so tip he got from our $700-ish dinner tab. I don't think we ran him ragged, exactly, but we didn't make it especially easy on him either.

The Interested-Participant, meanwhile, has happened upon a survey which refutes the general notion that wait staff are low-skilled, low-wage personnel. At entry level, earnings of $17 per hour are typical; an experienced waiter makes around $22 an hour. These earnings are supplemented by the occasional free meal. Tips, of course, are taxable, and most of them are duly reported to the IRS.

I knew I was in the wrong business, but then I always have been.

Posted at 7:34 AM to Almost Yogurt


hmmm. i think it depends on where they work. high end places, definitely. your average diner? not a chance.

Posted by: becky at 7:11 PM on 19 May 2004

When I worked as a waiter at El Chico's in Heritage Park Mall, I was making some pretty good $$$ for an 18/19 year-old single guy. On an average day/night, I'd walk out with $100 in cash, and on very busy nights, it wasn't unusual to hit $150-$175. And that was in 1984. Some of the more experienced servers walked out with $250-$300 a few times each week.

And although it was pretty tough work, it was, in fact, very enjoyable and rewarding. Great way to meet people and generally see them at their sociable best.

Posted by: David at 9:02 PM on 19 May 2004

Delivering fried chicken wasn't a half-bad way to pick up $30 or so on a good night. Only trouble was the good nights (in more than just the financial sense) were too few and far between.

And there just ain't no way I would have ever considered taking a job where the boss could legally pay me $3 less than minimum wage.

Posted by: McGehee at 7:35 AM on 21 May 2004