Your Humble Server
The Average Server
Making Below Minimum Wage
It's not well known as it should be but experts have suggested, as of May 2017, that the average hourly wage (and also including tips) for a legal citizen who works at a restaurant as a waiter/waitress in these great United States that received tip income was $11.82 – a little surprised? Well, it's true. However, if wages and tips do not equal the federal minimum wage of that state per hour during a work week, the employer is required to increase cash wages to compensate.
The Wait Staff
$2.13 an Hour
How is this Legal?
The state minimum cash wage payment is the same as that is required under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act at $2.13/hr.
So yes. It's legal.
At the moment, but that doesn't mean it can't change for the better for our underappreciated food server. With how the Internet has changed the way people/customers have changed their spending habits it has affected commerce even in the food industry, including restaurant owners and employees.
The Fair Labor Standards Act establishes the minimum wage, overtime pay, record-keeping, & youth employment standards affecting legal American citizens as employees in the private sector (including restaurants) and in Federal, State, and local governments. This means that all covered nonexempt workers have the right to a minimum wage of not less than $7.25 per hour that was put into effect on July 24, 2009.
Not all states are the same. Some states require employers to pay tipped employees full state minimum wage before tips. These states include Alaska, California, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and including Guam.
There are states that require employers to pay tipped employees a minimum cash wage above the minimum cash wage required under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act at $2.13 an hour. These states include Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, Wisconsin, West Virginia and also includes the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands.
Then there are the states that get the shaft. Unfortunately, waiters/waitresses receive a minimum cash wage payment is the same as that is required under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act at a measly $2.13 an hour. These states include Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wyoming and also includes Puerto Rico.
The Origin of the Common Waiter
The meaning of the waiter is quite obvious, if you ask me. It's a person that waits at a table (or group of tables) and is ready to take your food and/or drink order. It is believed to have originated during the late 15th century. However, waiters have been around a lot longer.
Restaurants have been around since the Roman Empire & Ancient China, possibly even longer. As societies grew and cities expanded, the need for public eateries have steadily increased.
The Roadside Inn
It's believed that the common roadside inn was the first type of restaurant to exist. Farmers and peasants would travel, sometimes for days, to sell their goods to these roadside inns and other urban markets for a competitive price. These roadside inns were normally found at the center of the countryside, strategically located and intended mostly for travelers. These roadside inns had no menus and food items were limited, usually only preparing one or two items or even sometimes it was the chef's choice. It was either the chef that brought out your meal or you had to get up and get it for yourself.
Eventually, as societies grew and cities expanded, inns got larger and more common. These inn keepers got the idea of having to prepare more than one or two items and to give their customers a variety. A menu was soon needed as well as someone to bring these items from the kitchen to the tables. This is how the origin of the waiter got started.
What is the Meaning of "Tipping"?
How Tipping got Originated
Although it's really not known it's thought to have originated in the taverns of 17th Century England.
Heavy drinkers or extremely hungry travelers would sometimes tip a waiter or barkeep to ensure fast service. The last thing a drunk wants to do is have to wait for their drink.
My Personal Experience as a Waiter
I was a waiter for about four years and I have to honestly say that I did not like it. People are rude, unappreciative and borderline mentally abusive. If someone were to ask me my opinion about working as a waiter or bartender in the state of Indiana, I would tell them that I would not recommend it.