Most waiters expect a 20% tip for good service, but does this actually happen? According to data collected from Americans using digital payment service Square, the average tip in the United States is just 16.1%.
Waiters across the country made $20,880 on average in 2013. In all of the best cities for waiters, workers waiting tables earned at least $25,000 in 2013, or roughly half of the average wage in their city.
Households in the best cities for waiters often have high median incomes. In four of these cities, households earned median incomes of at least $62,000 in 2013, well above the national median of $52,250 that year.
In other instances, laws governing how waiters are paid dictate the amount of money they bring home. In 43 states, employees who regularly receive tips are only required to be paid $2.13 an hour. Waiters expect tips to bring average hourly earnings above the state’s effective hourly minimum wage of at least $7.25. If the combination of wages and tips does not exceed $7.25 an hour, the employer is expected to pay the difference.
In other states, waiters are required to be paid the minimum wage. Four of the best cities for waiters are located in Washington, which has the highest minimum wage in the country and requires that waiters be paid at least $9.32 per hour.
In some areas, the amount that people tip does not seem to matter as much as the frequency with which people tip. In fact, half of the cities on this list are located in states where people tip more often than the national average of 55.6% of the time.
To determine the best cities for waiters, 24/7 Wall St. looked at the average annual wage for waiters in each city relative to the national average. Average annual wages are from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and are calculated under the assumption that waiters work full time. We also looked at regional price parity from the Bureau of Economic Analysis and median household income from the Census Bureau. Employment and wage data are as of May 2013. All other data cover the 2013 calendar year.
These are the best cities for waiters.