How To Make A Decent Living As A Restaurant Server

Restaurant servers are one of the most accessible jobs out there. Many people set off on their career path by becoming a server. Why? Because restaurants tend to employ anyone that applies, as long as they’re friendly, willing to learn, and can handle the hours. You don’t technically require much experience or any qualifications to enter this career – which is why it’s so popular.


There is a downside to life as a restaurant server; it can be highly stressful, you encounter rude customers, and you might not get paid very well. Keeping this in mind, I’ve come up with a short guide for all the restaurant servers out there. With this guide, you will learn how to finally make a decent living out of your job. It’ll help you make more money, and have better career prospects as well!

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Undergo Some Training

While you don’t always need any qualifications or training to become a server, it often helps if you have some under your belt. Many restaurants have different server roles that get paid different amounts depending on the work they do. If you wanted, you could do some training courses to gain qualifications and certifications that allow you to do more work than before. In many states, like Texas, restaurant servers need a specific certification to sell and serve alcohol. If you don’t have one of these, you can’t do this job, which limits what you can do and puts you on a lower wage. But, if you get TABC online certification, you can now serve alcohol, and do this job alongside your regular server job. As a result, you get paid more as the business doesn’t have to hire two people for two jobs because they have you doing a bit of both!

Gain As Much Experience As You Can

Again, experience isn’t essential, but it can certainly help you earn a better living in this industry. A server with lots of experience is more likely to be considered for better jobs in better restaurants. It goes without saying that a typical chain restaurant might not pay as well as a much bigger and fancier establishment. To get a job in the fancier places, you might need experience to help tip the scales in your favor. After all, it means you’ll need less training on the job, which saves the company money. So, use your experience wisely and aim for better jobs whenever you feel dissatisfied with your work.

Apply For Every Promotion Possible

There are loads of different jobs in a restaurant for servers to do. Many of the entry-level jobs are very basic and have the lowest pay. However, there are people above you that manage all the servers or do other tasks as well. If you want to advance your server career and earn a decent living, you should be on the lookout for all promotions available. If your restaurant has a job going that’s better than yours; apply for it. Worst-case scenario? You stay in your normal job. Best case? You get a better job with higher pay.

Provide The Best Customer Service Ever

As any server knows, the wage you’re paid isn’t the only income you can earn as a server. A fair bit of your money will come from tips. When you serve someone, they tip you for your service. Generally speaking, it’s courteous to leave a tip that’s around 15-20% of the final bill. But if your service is exceptionally good, many diners will leave more than this for you. The secret is creating a dining experience that they love. Make them feel at home from the moment they enter the restaurant, and ensure you keep returning to their table to check if they need anything. Be friendly and engage in conversation with them – make it seem like you’re going the extra mile! Provide recommendations for certain meals if they’re struggling to make choices, tell them about any special offers to help them save money, and so on. Finally, when it’s time to hand them the bill, write a little note at the bottom thanking them for dining with you. A simple ‘Thank you!’ will suffice – just add a smiley face in there for good measure too. This is a great way to leave a lingering impression of great service and often results in an increased tip. By getting more tips every night, you’ll start to double or triple your income.


You can make a decent living as a restaurant server, but it all depends on the things mentioned in this guide! Use all these points to help further your career and earn more money in this industry.

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