How Much Food Services Jobs Pay
Food service jobs do not tend to pay well in and of themselves, but the tips usually make up for the lack of payment from the restaurant. In some cases, the wait staff can make hundreds of dollars in an average night by working at a high-end restaurant because the tips are based on a percentage of the bill rather than a flat fee for service rendered.
The cooks tend to get paid slightly a bit above minimum wage at a diner, and may be paid quite a bit more at a high end restaurant, depending entirely on the restaurant's preference for paying their cooks.
In some restaurants there are highly-trained chefs creating the menu and cooking the food, and these people can almost set their own pay if they are good enough.
Hosts, bussers, and dish washers sometimes get a portion of the tips that the servers are paid by the customers. This is not true at all restaurants, and some servers skip out of paying tips to the support staff by under reporting their tips even when it is mandatory by the company. Servers, on the other hand, tend to come out on top when it comes to tips, often earning as much as $50 for a few hours of work in addition to their regular pay.
In a less formalized setting, food service can pay even less. In fast food and other settings where tips are encouraged at the counter but you are not served at the table, many customers tip much less or not at all, and the tips are often split between all of the employees, making it a bonus to the minimum wage pay - but not a large one. Fast food work is a good summer job if you are just starting out, but it is not likely to be able to help you really pay the bills.