Ranking It

Dallas tippers are best in Texas but our servers still feel the pinch

Dallas tippers are best in Texas but our servers still feel the pinch

restaurant tip coins empty cup of coffee
Dallas waiters and waitresses do slightly better, tip-wise, than their Texas counterparts in Houston and San Antonio. HuffingtonPost.com.ca

Dallasites might love to go out, but we may not be tipping our local bartenders and servers well enough. According to a new study, Texas service-industry workers make less in tips per hour than many other food-centric cities in the country, and their overall hourly incomes also pale in comparison.

The report, from compensation data site PayScale, looked at 15,000 profiles of food service workers from January 2013 to January 2015. It shows Dallas waiters and waitresses make a median of $9.10 in tips per hour, placing Big D at No. 9 out of 18 cities in the survey, while bartenders make $8.40 in tips, which is No. 8 out of the 13 cities included on the bar side.

San Antonio and Houston servers make $8.80 per hour in tips (which puts them tied at No. 10 with San Diego), and the cities’ bartenders make the same as those in Dallas: $8.40.

But here’s the rub. The report also looks at how much of their overall hourly wage comes from tips, and those in Dallas, San Antonio and Houston depend on tips at a higher rate than other places.

For example, even though San Diego waiters make the same amount in tips as those in Houston and San Antonio, that $8.80 accounts for 50 percent of their overall hourly income. Comparatively, servers in Dallas, San Antonio and Houston depend on tips for 69, 72 and 76 percent of their incomes, respectively. Houston’s 76 percent is the highest of all cities included in the report.

Bartenders fare a little better for the three cities, depending on tips for 54 (Dallas), 60 (San Antonio) and 63 (Houston) percent of their hourly wage. But a New York bartender makes $15.11 per hour overall compared to a Dallas bartender’s $15.56 per hour overall, even though a New York bartender only makes $7.10 per hour in tips, which is the lowest of the 13 cities polled for bartenders.

In terms of total hourly comp, Dallas servers do better than their San Antonio and Houston counterparts, earning about $13.10, thanks to a slightly better base pay. San Antonio and Houston waiters make $12.30 and $11.60, respectively, while their drink-making counterparts pull in $13.90 and $13.40.

Compare that to the national medians. Waiters and waitresses earn a median hourly wage of $13.20, including base pay and tips. Bartenders do a little better, with an hourly wage of $16.30.

So where is it good to be in the service industry? San Francisco. The city fared well for tips, at $11.90 for waiters (third overall behind Boston and Miami) and $15.50 for bartenders, which is the highest on the list. But a much higher base pay for both means that the median hourly income for a bartender in San Francisco is $26.50, and a server pulls in $21.50 per hour.

It still won’t get them a place much bigger than a closet in the Bay Area, though.