I believe this answer 'should' hopefully vary depending on which state/city/restaraunt we are talking about. In NJ, atleast where I work, we start out at a base of 2.14 per hour, after being there several years, I still haven't broken $3/hr... Now, I have to figure in my $42 a week for health insurance, automatically deducted, plus my 401k, and sometimes I am left with a negative balance, in which I have to pay the insurance company or I will lose my coverage. I know some servers in other states get minimum wage, but not where I work. We also have to claim our tips, and we get taxed upon how much we claim, so that is also taken from our measly base pay. I believe tips should be based upon the service received. When my husband and I go out to eat, we won't leave less than $5 for the both of us, for standard service. Usually we end up giving more if the service is excellent.