Business Category Business: career motivation and tips to move ahead

What is a good salary for a dishwasher at a restaurant?

In restaurants, dishwashers are responsible for ensuring that all plates, cups, glasses, silverware and cooking utensils are kept clean and free of debris to ensure safe and sanitary food preparation and service.

Most dishwashers are paid according to the current state minimum wage laws. The most recent reports by the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics indicate that in 2007, that was about £5.0 to £5.2 per hour. What would be considered a good salary for a restaurant dishwasher depends considerably on where you live.

Lowest Average

The U.S. Department of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the lowest 10 per cent of dishwashers nationwide earn an average of about £4.2 per hour, about £8,866 annually. The BLS indicated that states that impose no minimum wage laws like Alabama, Louisiana or Mississippi would fall within that 10 per cent. Dishwashers in states with lower minimum wages like Puerto Rico £2.60, Wyoming £3.3 and Minnesota £4.00 fall into that category as well.

Highest Average

Some major metropolitan cities, tourist attractions and vacation destination areas with restaurants and eateries that experience high volume business offer substantially higher wages to dishwashers and maintenance personnel. Some of the highest paid dishwashers earned between £6.10 and £6.40 per hour, which works out to as much as £13,364 annually, according to the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics.

Median Average

BLS statistics show that the overall average national median salary for U.S. dishwashers is about £5.10 per hour, which is around £10,881 per year. In 2004, State University published comparable numbers reporting the median average hourly salary for dishwashers was estimated to be £4.70.


While promotions vary by establishment, dishwashing jobs are commonly considered entry-level restaurant positions, and usually lead to opportunities for advancement, which would increase your earning potential. Many dishwashers advance to higher paying positions such as food preparation assistants, bus boys or even chefs.

It is not uncommon for full-time dishwashers to become tipped employees and receive daily cash bonuses from servers and bartenders in addition to their hourly wage. In some instances, dishwashers are paid an increased wage to take on additional responsibilities such as sweeping, mopping and washing windows.