Despite the tipped minimum wage being just $2.13 per hour in most states, servers can still make a substantial amount of money. This is because a majority of a server’s income can come from tips—in fact, as much as 70% of a server’s paycheck comes from customer gratuity.
However, how much a server actually earns is often a mystery to the everyday eater. That’s why so many servers have taken to TikTok to reveal the secrets of their profession, with many boasting about incredible sums.
For example, one user claimed she made over $450 in one night after working just 8 tables. Another says they made over $600 working an 11-hour shift. One Hooters server even alleged that they made over $220 in tips during their first shift.
Now, another user has detailed their restaurant earnings—and it has TikTok users jealous.
@z.sandoval this is your sign to start serving and make that bank #server #serving #money #serverlife #restaurant #fyp #howmuchimake ♬ original sound – nejla
In a video with over 16,000 views, TikTok user Zahira (@z.sandoval) tallies up her tip earnings from a Saturday night at work. According to Zahira, she worked for 3 and a half hours, served 4 tables, and made $379.
“This is your sign to start serving and make that bank,” Zahira wrote in the caption.
Viewers immediately wondered how Zahira was able to earn such a large amount of money in a short time with few tables.
“Only 4 tables?!?? where do you work,” questioned a user.
While it’s possible that customers may have tipped Zahira highly for the quality of her service, studies have found that tip amounts rarely correlate with service quality.
Instead, the answer to how Zahira managed to secure her sizable sum may lie in the type of restaurant in which she works.
According to Zahira in a comment, she says she works at a “high-end sushi” restaurant. As many simply tip as a percentage of their bill, a larger bill means more tips for servers. This can lead to servers at high-end restaurants earning a fair bit of money. As explained by a 2013 article in the Wall Street Journal, “Head waiters at top-tier restaurants can earn from $80,000 to as much as $150,000 a year including tips, according to industry executives. In comparison, a line cook might earn as little as $35,000 to $45,000 a year while working longer hours.”
For those who are interested in starting a serving career, Zahira has some advice in a comment.
“Memorize your menus,” she states. “and make sure you have an intro on how you introduce yourself to your table!”
The Daily Dot reached out to Zahira via email.