According to a new survey conducted by a Seattle-based firm, San Francisco restaurant and bar workers are doing a fair bit better than their New York City counterparts, unless the people in New York are just lying.
As the Business Times reports, the survey goes back two years, and includes responses from January 1, 2013 to January 1, 2015, so does not reflect SF's new higher minimum wage. But, along with Seattle, SF had a higher minimum wage than elsewhere, which is reflected in the "percent of income from tips" comparison, compared to the East Coast.
The survey, by Payscale, found that food service workers in SF reported total median hourly incomes of $21.50, including tips and wages, which is pretty good compared to $15.30 an hour in New York, and $19 an hour in Boston. (Even though it still probably isn't enough to rent an apartment here, unless you get lucky or you've been here a while.)
SF bartenders are also sitting pretty, by comparison, making the nation's highest hourly total of $26.50.
Now, we should be careful touting surveys like this because a) they are only as accurate as the respondents are honest (it might be a median, but New York servers claim they're only making $9.50 an hour in tips, which seems ridiculously low), and b) stuff like this is used to argue against minimum wage increases although if we want our restaurant workers making a living wage, Seattle and SF workers clearly are doing better than anywhere else because of higher minimums.