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Top 10 Waiter/Waitress Jobs in NYC, NY – June 2024 Job Listings

We selected some of the top Waiter/Waitress Jobs in New York City — complete with requirements, salary and benefits.

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The metropolitan area of New York City currently employs 136,960 Waiters and Waitresses, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This is the highest number of Waiters and Waitresses employed in any metropolitan area in the United States.

Salary Trends for Waiter/Waitress Jobs in New York City

The average Waiter/Waitress wage in NYC is $24.45 base plus tips per hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This translates into an annual salary of $50,860 base plus tips for full-time positions.

Compare the average salaries Waiters and Waitresses make in major U.S. cities.

Miami

Annual mean wage

$37,360

Employment

54,080

New York City

Annual mean wage

$50,860

Employment

136,960

Chicago

Annual mean wage

$34,340

Employment

67,270

Los Angeles

Annual mean wage

$40,520

Employment

82,410

[Source: BLS]

Tipping Trends for Waiters and Waitresses

Aside from their regular wages, Waiters and Waitresses in New York City heavily rely on tips as a significant portion of their overall earnings. The amount of tips a Waiter or Waitress receives can vary depending on factors such as attentiveness, efficiency and friendliness. Those who excel in ensuring a memorable dining experience are often rewarded with more generous tips.

The chart below shows tipping trends in the U.S. in 2023:

[Source: Forbes]
This chart is interactive. Hover your mouse over different parts of the chart to see detailed data. 

If you are a Waiter or Waitress in NYC, try out our New York paycheck calculator to see what your take-home pay is in this state.

Whether you’re compensated hourly or on a fixed salary basis, our calculator will help you accurately determine your earnings.

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Disclaimer: Please note that this paycheck calculator is designed to provide an estimate and should not be considered as professional tax advice. The actual withholding amounts and taxes owed may vary depending on individual circumstances and other factors. For accurate and personalized tax advice, we recommend consulting with a tax professional.

If your gross pay is 0 per in the state of F, your net pay (or take home pay) will be $1,343.17 after tax deductions of 0% (or $ 156.83). Deductions include a total of [1] 0% (or $0.00) for the federal income tax, [2] 0% (or $0.00) for the state income tax, [3] 6.20% (or $0.00) for the social security tax and [4] 1.45% (or $0.00) for Medicare.

The Federal Income Tax is collected by the government and is consistent across all U.S. regions. In contrast, the State Income Tax is levied by the state of residence and work, leading to substantial variations. The Social Security Tax is used to fund Social Security, which benefits retirees, persons with disabilities and survivors of deceased workers. Medicare involves a federal payroll tax designated for the Medicare insurance program. As of 2022, Alaska, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and Wyoming do not levy a state income tax.

Waiter/Waitress Salary Compared to Similar Positions in NYC

In New York City, Waiters and Waitresses earn less than Bartenders but more than Barbacks and Food Runners.

Job TitleAverage Salary
Bartender
Barback
Food Runner

Factors That Affect Waiter/Waitress Earnings

Here are the factors that influence the average Waiter/Waitress salary:

Type of Establishment

The type of restaurant or dining establishment where a Waiter or Waitress works significantly impacts their earnings. Fine dining establishments, upscale restaurants or establishments with Michelin stars typically offer higher base salaries and attract patrons who are more likely to tip generously, thus resulting in higher overall earnings for the waitstaff.

Conversely, casual diners or fast-food chains may offer lower base salaries and generally result in lower tip amounts.

Location

Geographic location plays a crucial role in determining Waiter/Waitress earnings. Urban areas, especially major cities like New York City or Miami, tend to have higher living costs and therefore higher average tip amounts. Additionally, areas with a strong tourism industry may offer increased earning potential due to higher volumes of customers and tourists dining out.

Experience and Skill Level

Experienced waitstaff who have honed their customer service skills and developed a loyal clientele often earn higher tips. Seasoned professionals may also have the opportunity to work in higher-end establishments that offer better compensation packages.

Shifts and Hours Worked

The shifts and hours worked by Waiters and Waitresses can significantly impact their earnings. Evening shifts, weekends and holidays typically result in higher tip amounts due to increased business and higher customer spending. Additionally, waitstaff who work full-time or have flexible schedules may have more earning potential compared to part-time or seasonal workers.

Teamwork and Collaboration

In some restaurants, tips may be pooled among the waitstaff or shared with other front-of-house employees such as Bartenders, Hosts/Hostesses or Bussers. This collaborative approach can lead to a more equitable distribution of earnings but may also result in lower individual tip amounts compared to establishments where tips are kept solely by the serving staff.

Economic Factors

Overall economic conditions, including factors such as unemployment rates, consumer spending habits and inflation, can impact tipping behavior and, consequently, Waiter/Waitress earnings.

During periods of economic downturn, customers may be more conservative with their spending and tip amounts, whereas, during periods of economic prosperity, tip amounts may increase.

Quiz: Is Waiter/Waitress the Right Role for You?

See if you have what it takes to be a Waiter or Waitress by taking our quiz below.

Results

Congratulations!

Based on your responses, it appears that a career as an Waiter/Waitress could be an excellent fit for you. Your skills and preferences align well with the demands of the role.

Embrace this opportunity and consider furthering your training or gaining hands-on experience to enhance your management abilities. Visit our Waiter/Waitress Career page for more info.

Here’s to a promising future in waiting!

There’s great potential!

While the quiz results suggest that a Waiter/Waitress role may not be an immediate perfect match, there’s ample opportunity for growth and success with commitment and focused effort.

Consider investing time in honing your management skills, perhaps by taking courses or gaining more experience in restaurant operations. You can also visit our Waiter/Waitress Career page to learn more about what this dynamic role entails and how you can improve your chances.

#1. When faced with a challenging situation during service, such as a customer complaint or a sudden rush of orders, do you:

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#2. As a Waiter/Waitress, are you comfortable providing guidance and support to your fellow team members during busy shifts?

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#3. How do you feel about working long and sometimes unpredictable hours, including evenings, weekends, and holidays, as part of your role in the restaurant industry?

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#4. Are you passionate about delivering exceptional customer service as a Waiter/Waitress?

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#5. As a Waiter/Waitress, do you possess strong organizational skills and the ability to multitask in a fast-paced restaurant environment?

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#6. How do you approach problem-solving in a restaurant setting as a Waiter/Waitress?

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#7. Are you comfortable with handling financial transactions, such as processing payments and managing checks, as part of your duties as a Waiter/Waitress?

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#8. How do you feel about working in a collaborative environment where teamwork among waitstaff is crucial for providing excellent service?

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#9. Are you willing to continuously learn and adapt to changes in the restaurant industry, such as new menu items or updated service procedures?

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#10. How important is career growth and advancement in the restaurant industry to you as a Waiter/Waitress?

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Legal Requirements for Waiter/Waitress Jobs in NYC

In New York City, Waiters and Waitresses, like all employees, are protected by various labor laws and regulations. Some of the key legal requirements for Waiters and Waitresses in New York City include:

  • Wages: Waiters and Waitresses in New York City are guaranteed compensation at or above the minimum wage as stipulated by both New York State and New York City regulations. As of January 2024, the minimum wage in New York City stands at $16.00 per hour.
  • Overtime compensation: Waiters and Waitresses are eligible for overtime pay if they exceed 40 hours of work in a single week, calculated at 1.5 times their regular hourly rate.
  • Break time: According to New York State labor laws, employees are entitled to designated meal breaks and rest periods, the duration of which depends on the length of their shift. For instance, employees working shifts exceeding six hours must be granted a 30-minute meal break.
  • Age requirements: The New York State Department of Labor (DOL) mandates that Waiters and Waitresses must be at least 18 years old to work in the industry. However, some establishments may consider applicants aged 16 to 17 if they possess a valid work permit or equivalent documentation.
  • Tips distribution: In establishments where tipping is permitted, tips rightfully belong to the employees who directly receive them. Employers are prohibited from claiming a portion of employees’ tips, except under specific circumstances outlined by law.
  • Paid sick leave: Employees in New York City are entitled to accrue paid sick leave based on their hours worked.
  • Protection against discrimination and harassment: Employees are safeguarded against discrimination and harassment based on protected characteristics, such as race, gender, religion, sexual orientation and disability, under federal, state and city regulations.
  • Workplace safety: Employers are obligated to maintain a safe work environment for their employees, which includes providing necessary safety training and compliance with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations.

Should establishments provide bonuses or shared profits with employees?

Frequently Asked Questions

Typical Waiter/Waitress duties include taking orders from customers, serving food and beverages, ensuring customer satisfaction, handling payments and maintaining cleanliness in the dining area.

Qualifications may vary, but employers often seek candidates with excellent customer service skills, strong communication abilities, the ability to work well under pressure and prior experience in a similar role.

Benefits offered to waitstaff vary depending on the employer. Some establishments may provide benefits such as health insurance, paid time off, employee discounts or meal allowances. It’s advisable to inquire about benefits during the interview process to understand the specific offerings of each employer.

Many NYC restaurants offer training programs for new hires to familiarize them with the menu, service standards and restaurant procedures. Training may include shadowing experienced staff, role-playing scenarios and ongoing support to ensure success in the role.

To increase your chances of success, focus on highlighting your relevant skills and experiences, such as customer service, communication and multitasking abilities, in your resume and during interviews.

Additionally, consider gaining certifications, such as food safety or alcohol service, to stand out to potential employers.

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