Top 10 Waiter/Waitress Jobs – June 2024 Job Listings

We’ve handpicked the top 10 Waiter/Waitress jobs in the United States — complete with salaries, requirements and benefits.

In restaurants all over the country, there’s a big demand for skilled Waiters and Waitresses. Even though the employment outlook for this position shows a projected 3% decline from 2022 to 2032, approximately 440,000 job openings for Waiters and Waitresses are expected each year.

[Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)]
This chart is interactive. Hover your mouse over different parts of the chart to see detailed data. 

How Much Do Waiters/Waitresses Make in the US?

The average wage for a Waiter/Waitress in the United States is $36,530 base plus tips per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Explore the map below for annual Waiter/Waitress salaries across the U.S.:

[Source: BLS]

This map is interactive. Hover your mouse over different parts of the map to see detailed data. 

Waiter/Waitress Hourly Wage

The average Waiter/Waitress hourly wage in the U.S. is $17.56 base plus tips per hour.

Waiter/Waitress wage also differs in the four major U.S. cities, with New York City being the highest-paying ($24.45 per hour) and Chicago being the lowest-paying city ($16.51 per hour).


Average Hourly Wage

$17.96 base + tips

New York City

Average Hourly Wage

$24.45 base + tips


Average Hourly Wage

$16.51 base + tips

Los Angeles

Average Hourly Wage

$19.48 base + tips

[Source: BLS]

To gain a thorough understanding of Waiter/Waitress salaries throughout the U.S., including average annual earnings, state-specific data and salary details for prominent cities such as New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and Miami, check out our Waiter/Waitress Salary page.

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Waiter/Waitress Job FAQs

Waiter/Waitress job ads typically seek candidates who demonstrate a range of qualifications and skills essential for providing exceptional service in the hospitality industry. These include:

  • Customer service orientation: Ability to provide excellent service and create a positive dining experience for guests.
  • Communication skills: Clear verbal communication for taking orders and interacting with customers, as well as effective listening skills to understand customer preferences and needs.
  • Teamwork: Capability to work collaboratively with other waitstaff, kitchen staff and management to ensure smooth restaurant operations.
  • Time management: Skill in managing time efficiently to prioritize tasks, handle multiple tables and deliver orders promptly.
  • Adaptability: Capacity to remain composed and adapt to changing situations, such as busy shifts or unexpected customer requests.
  • Basic math skills: Ability to handle transactions, process payments accurately and calculate bills, including taxes and tips.
  • Attention to detail: Diligence in accurately recording orders, ensuring correct food and beverage delivery and maintaining cleanliness and organization in the dining area.
  • Physical stamina: Endurance to stand and walk for long periods and lift and carry trays of food and beverages.
  • Problem-solving: Ability to resolve customer complaints or issues professionally and efficiently, seeking assistance from management when necessary.
  • Compliance with health and safety regulations: Understanding of food safety practices, sanitation guidelines and alcohol service laws to maintain a safe and hygienic environment.
  • Professionalism: Presentation of a neat appearance, adherence to dress code policies and courteous behavior toward customers and colleagues.
  • Previous experience: While not always required, many job ads may prefer candidates with prior experience in the hospitality industry or as a Waiter/Waitress.

Yes, several certifications or training programs can enhance your chances of getting hired as a Waiter/Waitress. Some of these include:

  • Food safety certification: Many restaurants require staff to have certification in food safety, such as ServSafe or equivalent, to ensure compliance with health and safety regulations.
  • Responsible alcohol service training: For establishments that serve alcohol, completing a responsible alcohol service training program like TIPS (Training for Intervention Procedures) can be advantageous.
  • Customer service training: Courses or workshops focused on customer service skills can help you develop the interpersonal abilities necessary for providing excellent service to guests.
  • Hospitality management courses: Completing courses in hospitality management can demonstrate your commitment to the industry and your potential for advancement.
  • Language proficiency: If you’re applying to a restaurant where multiple languages are spoken, proficiency in languages other than English may be beneficial, especially if it aligns with the restaurant’s customer demographics.

To pass a Waiter/Waitress interview, it’s essential to showcase your customer service skills, communication abilities and enthusiasm for the role. Be prepared to discuss your previous experience in the hospitality industry, handle situational interview questions about handling challenging customers or multitasking and demonstrate your knowledge of food and beverage service.

New Waiters and Waitresses typically receive comprehensive training to prepare them for their role. This training often includes:

  • Familiarization with the restaurant’s menu items, ingredients and preparation methods
  • Instruction on using POS systems for order entry and payment processing
  • Guidance on customer service etiquette, including greeting guests, taking orders accurately and addressing customer concerns
  • Training on handling various types of food and beverages, including carrying trays and serving techniques
  • Education on food safety and hygiene protocols to ensure compliance with health regulations
  • Role-playing scenarios to practice handling common situations encountered in the restaurant environment

During interviews for Waiter/Waitress roles, you can expect questions that assess your customer service skills, ability to handle difficult situations and knowledge of food and beverage service.

Here are some common interview questions:

  1. Can you tell us about your previous experience working in the hospitality industry?
  2. How do you handle challenging or dissatisfied customers?
  3. What do you consider to be excellent customer service?
  4. How do you prioritize tasks during a busy shift?
  5. Can you describe a time when you had to work effectively as part of a team?
  6. How do you ensure accuracy when taking orders and delivering food to customers?
  7. What steps do you take to maintain a clean and organized work area?
  8. How do you handle situations where a customer has special dietary requirements or allergies
  9. What would you do if you noticed a colleague struggling to keep up with their workload?
  10. How do you handle situations where you make a mistake with a customer’s order?
  11. Can you provide an example of a time when you went above and beyond to satisfy a customer
  12. How do you stay updated on menu changes and specials?
  13. What do you enjoy most about working in the food service industry?
  14. How do you handle high-stress situations or busy shifts?
  15. Why do you want to work specifically in our restaurant?

Preparing thoughtful responses to these questions can help you demonstrate your suitability for the Waiter/Waitress role and make a positive impression on potential employers.

How We Selected These Waiter/Waitress Jobs?

We choose these jobs based on a few factors:

  • Pay: Most of the jobs we listed pay above the average hourly pay in their respective state
  • Benefits: We listed jobs that offer comprehensive benefits packages for employees
  • Reputation: We opted for establishments that have made a name for themselves in the hospitality industry

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