Food runners, unlike food servers, are only responsible for taking food to customers. Food runners do not take customer orders or collect customer payments. Like servers in the restaurant industry, food runners rely heavily on tips to round out their salary at the end of the day.
Food runners do not need education beyond a high school diploma or GED. Higher education does not affect the amount of salary you will receive. If you are attending high school during your employment, you do not need a diploma. Food runners need a small amount of upper body strength to carry large trays of food and to occasionally clean tables. Because food runners do not handle monetary transactions, strong math skills are not usually required.
Food runners act as assistants to the wait staff of a restaurant. If a server has many tables and no time to bring out food that is ready, she will ask a food runner to deliver the food. Servers and bartenders typically tip out food runners at the end of their shift for the extra help. The tip out is a percentage of the tips that the servers and bartenders made during the shift.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national average salary for food runners is $8.01 as of 2008, an amount that includes tips and base pay. The base pay before tips for a food runner is typically only a few dollars, sometimes below minimum wage. Restaurants can do this because part of your income relies on tips from customers. A food runner's salary depends on the type of restaurant and amount of business revenue the restaurant makes.
Restaurants may offer incentives to achieve a certain sales goal after a specified period of time. This incentive could be cash or gift cards for workers. If the incentive is cash, a server may give more money in the tip out to a food runner that has helped her win. For example, if the prize is $250 for the most clam chowders sold, you may receive a percentage of the clam chowder prize for helping out. This incentive acts like a small bonus for food runners.