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How Much do Restaurant Dishwashers Make?

Tyler MartinezAuthor

Restaurants couldn’t operate without dishwashers. They are responsible for ensuring that the restaurant’s kitchen equipment remains sanitary and in good working condition. And, dishwashers help service to run smoothly by cleaning dishes, silverware, and glassware throughout the shift.

This article explores dishwashers’ wages in the restaurant industry. And, we will provide some tips for increasing your earnings as a dishwasher.

How Much Do Dishwashers Make? (Average Dishwasher Salary Data)

On average, dishwashers earn between $21,000 and $34,000 annually, with a median income of $28,000. We got those numbers by averaging these three sources:

  • The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is a government organization that reports on salaries across the US. According to their data, the bottom 10% of restaurant dishwashers earn $19,200 and the top 10% earn $34,870 annually. The median income for dishwashers is $28,130.

  • reports on hourly wages for dishwashers based on HR data. They report that the national average is $12/hour for dishwashers, about $24,000 annually.

  • collects data on the national average of dishwasher salaries. They report a range from $24,000 to $37,000 annually and a median income of $29,964. They also report earnings by state. 

An excellent way to determine how much you should earn as a dishwasher is to talk to other workers in your area. It might seem taboo to talk about wages, but it will give you an idea of how much your skills are worth at similar restaurants. That way, you can enter negotiations with a range of salaries (considering your location and the kind of restaurant).

How much do dishwashers make?

What Influences Dishwashers’ Earnings

A dishwasher’s skills, knowledge, and years of prior experience all influence their earning potential. Additionally, the location and kind of restaurant wages in the restaurant industry.

While many restaurants will hire dishwashers with little to no experience, a successful work history can go a long way in helping you land the job. And, if you have experience, the restaurant’s managers will be more likely to start you off at a higher-than-average wage.

Your knowledge of restaurant industry standards influences earning potential as a dishwasher, too. States all have different standards for food safety and sanitation. It’s important to know about the different food-safe chemicals that are used to clean and sanitize service ware and cooking equipment.

Each restaurant will have different expectations for its dishwashers. The responsibilities and duties that the restaurant expects you to perform also influence how much they will be willing to pay. 

Dishwashers are Hourly Employees

Dishwashers are offered hourly wages. That means that they are paid a set wage for the number of hours that they work. Dishwashers also typically work longer hours than service staff. They work the same hours as kitchen staff, and sometimes longer if there are additional cleaning duties to perform.

How to Earn More as a Dishwasher

There are a few ways to increase your earnings as a restaurant dishwasher. Building rapport with the restaurant’s management team is a good way to put yourself in line for raises. And, staying loyal to a company or restaurant is another way to ensure that you earn steady wage increases.

While it doesn't require special training, restaurant dishwashers have to have specialized knowledge and be able to work quickly under pressure. During busy shifts, dishes will pile up quickly as tables turnover. And, there will be a steady stream of pots and pans from the kitchen that is necessary for food preparation.

It’s important to be able to efficiently sanitize both kitchen equipment and service ware. Work with the kitchen and service managers to understand what to prioritize. Working efficiently as part of a team is a great way to earn a raise as a dishwasher.

Negotiating Higher Dishwasher Wages

When it comes to negotiation wages, being confident in the skills and knowledge that you bring to the restaurant is crucial. Display to the management team that you know about the various sanitation chemicals.
Bring stories about specific times when you picked up an extra shift or went beyond the regular responsibilities of your role as a dishwasher. That will help you to build a solid case for why your work is worth an increased wage.

Don’t Sell Yourself Short as a Dishwasher!

Being a dishwasher in a restaurant is challenging and dirty work. Doing the job well takes a particular set of skills. Don’t sell your knowledge and experience short by accepting a wage that doesn’t meet your needs!

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