I agree with the above posters. Location is big - where you are working by state, city, in that city, establishment, and where you are in that establishment. Locals will give you the best advice. That said, my worst day I OWED money (if someone skips out on paying their bill or steals your stuff...or car). The average during a hot season and location was about $300 to $400 a night. What I heard from ppl working at Olive Garden, Red Lobster, etc. was more like $75 to $100 a shift. Keep in mind you might have tip out and uniform requirements (ie you have to pay the bar, busser, kitchen, and buy the uniform from the place). You may also need to get a serving license (to serve alcohol), which is similar to taking a defensive driving class (not hard, costs a little money, the bad part is usually the time and location). Each place is different. I would strongly suggest getting a job before May, when all the kids get out of school.