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Chef.... why? its not worth it! - Page 5

post #121 of 161
Before the TV masterminds worry over getting Jamie Oliver an assistant, they should get him a speech therapist.
post #122 of 161
I believe he is called the Naked Chef because his creations are bare bones, not very difficult and accessible to the average home cook. How does a guy like that get a TV show at 20 sumthin?
post #123 of 161
Great contacts!

:rolleyes:
K

«Money talks. Chocolate sings. Beautifully.»
«Just Give Me Chocolate and Nobody Gets Hurt.»
«Coffee, Chocolate, Men ... Some things are just better rich.»
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K

«Money talks. Chocolate sings. Beautifully.»
«Just Give Me Chocolate and Nobody Gets Hurt.»
«Coffee, Chocolate, Men ... Some things are just better rich.»
Reply
post #124 of 161

Chefs

Hi all you doubtful people out there.

I read all this about not reccomending our trade and such , but really don´t agree with any of the disconcrning things said .
I´ve been a chef nigh on 20 years and like all of you was well warned of the hours , wages and personal hardships involved .
Did it hold me back NO
As it didn´t you lot , this trade although both mentally and physically hard makes us either pessimists or optimists , it´s up to yourselves to change your daily grind for the better .
Me , i love my trade , love cooking , love the people i meet in the kitchens i´ve been in and the tight knit community being a chef opens .
I woulden´t change a thing , to be able to do something very creative everyday of my working life WOW.
Think of all those pen pushers who never get to feel the adrenelin pumping though thier viens when you´ve got a so many á la carte you think your about to go under , you survive because your a proffesional .........
Would you really give it up I DON´T THINK SO
post #125 of 161
As a mostly outsider starting to see the inside, I'm just amazed that cooks don't make more.


I spent a couple hours yesterday, for fun, looking through all the pastry equipment through links I found in the spun sugar thread over in the pastry forum. I read up on how to make poured sugar, spun sugar, the colors, the molds, how you glue pieces together.

I looked at all the different kinds of chocolate, tools, techniques, temperatures, timing, and just couldn't believe that they don't make as much as so many others in the world with jobs that require skills. There is a LOT needed by cooks, be they pastry chefs or food chefs, whatever. Science, math, creativity, patience, knowledge, knowledge, knowlege. I am humbled by what the people on this board and in my restaurant can do. As some of you know, I am a full time web programmer as my day job. From there I go to the restaurant, where education and experience is my payment. I pay my own insurance in order to be there. I know a lot of things, and maybe from a standpoint of a non-programmer, I know a LOT of stuff. It's always different outside looking in. But I am simply AWED by what an experienced cook can do, and knows, and creates. The amount of effort that goes into what they do, vs. me sitting at a computer for eight hours is drastically different. Cooks use brain and body power. I just don't understand why they don't make more. What I mean is, I don't understand how the world came to be that this is not recognized and appreciated. Following your bliss is supposed to equal success. Follow your heart and the money will follow. But it doesn't. I just don't understand how this ocurred, you know?

Not a very helpful post, but I did want to state how amazing I think professionals are in this industry. It's baffling how somehow the working world is missing out on this, at the detriment of the chefs, who love it so much they just keep doing it anyway.

SlaveGirl
http://www.restaurantslave.com
post #126 of 161

Why ask Why???

here i have sat for about 45 minutes reading all this replies....i couldnt help but to be thankful i like many of you get paid whats seems to be poorly... right now wheni pick up the paper it seems all i read about is layoffs now if i had my choice between being laid off of getting paid $15 dollars an hour i would have to choose the 15 dollars...i know the stats but i still have to wonder...it seems many of you have years and years of experiance running restaurants for other people, so why dont you take the risk and open one up.. many of the reasons i hear are, the owner works 7 days a week he/she is always her, well its seems to me many of you do that already, second i hear i dont have enough money...well if you have been working for 10 years and put away or better yet invested $100, $75 or even $50 dollars a week you would be off to a great start..
i also dont understand these statements, "if i had to do it all over again i would choose a different path" or "my advise to young people it to getout while you still can" If it is that bad than why are you still in it?? and by saying get out while you still can, what does that do?? im sure you have all seen it. once one person in the kitchen had a negative attitude it spreads like wild fire and is almost impossible to stop!! so why say it??
AFRA if you enjoy cooking and kitchen life..do it..and instead of picking up a second job with computers i would suggest learning about investing and making your money work for you!!:chef:
post #127 of 161
SlaveGirl, following your bliss or your heart means happiness for your soul, not always your pocketbook. Unless, of course you equate how much you make in dollars with happiness. Personally, I would not trade the amount of fun we had on the line tonight for any amount of money.
Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestemus!
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Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestemus!
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post #128 of 161

A little cheese with that whine ???

I must say I dissagree with the negative aspects of this thread .
And a global union with strikes ????? Give me a break ! We have an old saying in the culinary Biz , " IF YOU CANT TAKE THE HEAT THAN GET OUT OF THE KITCHEN " . I enjoy what I do and as far as I'm concerned if you are not happy in this Biz than you should take a hike ! Of course thats just my opinion.........................:chef: :bounce: :D
The two most common things in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity !
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The two most common things in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity !
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post #129 of 161
Maybe it's just my socialist tendancies and my strong belief in human rights, but I think the macho "if you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen" attitudes are very detrimental to the profession.

Sure, we love the work. But loving what you do for a living does NOT negate your right to decent pay and safe working conditions.
post #130 of 161

Whine and cheese .

Once again I will restate my opinion . . . .
There are so many forms of the food biz , small owner operated
places , large fine dinning estabs , country clubs , hotels , catering,
private chefs , cruise ships , resorts , hospitals , schools , jails ,
and the list can go on for ever . I myself do not want to work with people in this biz who are whiners . If you do not like it then change professions and do not be detrimental to our jobs . We
who do this for a living allready know the aspects of this work , and we have chosen to do somthing that we love . When I work with someone who is more concerned with thereselves than with the customer it just drives me nuts . This is a customer service biz so if you want a perfect world than open your own restaurant and
rule it under your ideas and philosophy . See how much money you make going Wa Wa Wa . Once again this is just my opinion................... But I realy do like what I do!!!!!!!!!!!!
The two most common things in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity !
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The two most common things in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity !
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post #131 of 161
"When I work with someone who is more concerned with thereselves than with the customer it just drives me nuts . "

Sounds like 99% of the owners and 50% of the managers I have worked with/for.

The hours with no pay was fine for a while. Didn't mind it at all when I was learning (not that I ever stopped) but when busboys make more per hour than the exec chef, things are just flat wrong.

Part of the problem I see is lack of immigration controls along with a lack of Federal action to inforce labor laws. The other part is greedy or just plain silly owners, may they be private or corporate.

I was asked to help get a kitchen in Wichita Kansas back on its feet. The owner had the place for 5 years and never turned a profit. First thing he cut was the cooks wages (but still spent over 10k a year on flowers and candle wax). It was impossible to get cooks for the money he offered. They could go push a broom in a factory for more money. As a side note, they were being offerd all of a dollar more an hour than I was making in 1976 as a line cook.

The last job I had in a 'regular' kitchen was as night sous responsible for two hotel outlets. First week of work I had two cooks. After that I was alone doing 50 to 75 covers a night of supposed fine dinning while the single line cook was dishing out bugers and fries to the grill.
The stress and lack of compensation sent me packing.

I now work as a personal chef.
post #132 of 161

A little humor goes a long way.

A few of the reasons we do what we do.

10. Tired of waiting for that Supreme Court Appointment.
9. Get to act like a bigshot at family cookouts.
8. Babes really dig that greasy french fry smell.
7. Makes me think my life is longer than it is.
6. Everybody knows the REAL party is in the kitchen.
5. The warm, moist air around dish machine is good for asthma.
4. Don't see enough cockroaches at home.
3. Low pay and long hours make me think I'm in the Peace Corps.
2. My cats and dogs love me when I get home.
1. Like any other junkie, WE'RE HOOKED!
What a relief! To find out after all these years that I'm not crazy. I'm just culinarily divergent...
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What a relief! To find out after all these years that I'm not crazy. I'm just culinarily divergent...
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post #133 of 161

For Wambly, mostly

I wish you would explain what you mean by the first sentence of this statement. If you mean what I think you mean, then my initial reaction of pure rage is right. But now I've calmed down, and suggest you read the applicable parts of Tony Bourdain's books, regarding the origins and value of the people who work the line.

As for the second sentence, amen.
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #134 of 161
Why be a chef? I read some of the thread and I agree with most,
But for me it's the fact that this is my life ,and while I don't have "Cheffy" days as much as we would like to I just can't seem to fit in anywhere else.I do well as I am and I don't have any worries about job security.I deal with people on a raw human level under stress and relief (If you work in this business long enough you know what I mean)and I can be myself.I have bad and good sides as do my co-workers and I feel at home in most kitchens.Why be a Chef?I really don't know but I don't mind the pay or the hours.I dont mind the fact that I'll never be a PBS wonder.I do what I do because I do.I'm currently working at a "Diner"Not an artsy-fartsy place and i love every minute of it;
that's where I grew up.I have held a lot of importiant positions
and have learned a lot from them but for me I'm at home in a kitchen and if I hold a Chef position I take the ball and run with a smile.Crazy huh?
Bill
p.s.
I just love slammin' on the line...:-)
post #135 of 161
Having spent the last 45 - 50 mins. reading all 11 pages of this thread I find it disheartening that so many people are unhappy w/ their situation yet don't seem to be doing anything about it. Not picking on anyone but a few posts really stuck out in my memories - "I only make around 40 grand a year and housing starts at about 175 grand for something decent" Try living in CA. where in my area those same fixer uppers start at 325 grand. While I agree, that alot of owners don't do as much for their employees as they could, alot of employees don't do all they can for their employers. In a business that eats up 3 out of every 4 new ones alot of these people lose everything to chase a dream that for many won't come true.
I've been in this business for 26 yrs now and have seen alot of things. I have always given 110% to my employers because they sign my check. They give me the ability to pay my bills, to put food on my table etc. . Alot of people talk about change and what it will take to get there. I wonder though if you were making 60 grand would that be enough? In the competitive business that we are in just how high can you raise your prices? There will always be the family run business that is able to skirt the labor laws. And back to the owners don't they deserve to make as much return on their investment as they can? Why is that the owners are always the evil doers? I agree that for the most part hrs do stink, but they are alot better than they used to be. And as far as week-ends and holidays we're in the restaurant business and that is when people go out to eat. Chef JohnPaul I believe brought up a good point there are alot of other options in the food business other than being in the kitchen, take one of those positions get the heck out life is too short and money is not all that important. While I think it is Very important to share the realities of this business to anyone concedering this business I find it shameful that anyone would actually discourage someone form entering this great field. In what other job can you receive instant acknowledgement for a job well done. Where else can you bend the statis quo and challange yourself and your team to new heights and concepts.
We in the restaurant business are a different breed that even our spouses fail to understand at times. We love the heat and the pace that things come at us with. While some of us have just stayed because "It's all I know" most of us have something inside that pushes us ever forward to reach new goals and heights even if it is only in our small part of the world.
I love this business and wouldn't trade it for anything if for no other reason than the satisfaction I get for doing a job well done.
Enjoy Life ~ Eat out more often
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Enjoy Life ~ Eat out more often
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post #136 of 161
Suzanne,

I wasn't inferring any one race, creed, color, or religion....
Mass migrations bring laborers willing to work for low wages. Illegeal immigrants will work for even less. When you scale up the pay for managment of those low wage earners, it doesn't get very high.

The labor laws part of it was refering to the same thing others have already written: the lack of compensation for overtime of salaried workers.
post #137 of 161

Thank you !!!!

:bounce: Thank you chefboy and fodigger.....fot some reason i thought i was the only one who felt that way!!!:D
post #138 of 161

Keep it up .

Way to go folks keep this thread on the up side . Afra you go kick some butt and have fun doing it . The reality is there are so many aspects to this food biz that a person need only open there eyes and smell the options . Sometimes we see just that little picture of where we are at this moment but in the words of a great philosopher " do not look at the finger pointing to the sky or you will miss all that heavenly glory " . Remember we are the ones who can make the difference and it is up to us to establish a new age for culinary employees . Of course thats just my opinion...................:bounce:
P.S. The philosopher was the late BRUCE LEE .;)
The two most common things in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity !
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The two most common things in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity !
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post #139 of 161
just my opinion:bounce:..........

Chefboy, your last post meant more than your previous "if you can't stand the heat get out of the kitchen" comment, that one puts us back in the stone age.

It isn't about keeping this thread on the upside or the downside. It's about exchange of ideas, it's about learning (learning where we've all been, where it needs to go TO BE BETTER). It also isn't about whining and getting people to run away from this field (I think something was mis-interpeted). If you've interpeted that, then we have MUCH more to learn about each other! You are my co-worker in this feild, we may not agree but it would be nice to at least understand each other. If we can't comunicate how can we make anything better?

Let's not pull the wool over our eyes, after all I think we all agree on many issues.

"alot of owners don't do as much for their employees as they could, alot of employees don't do all they can for their employers". Is this the majority of employees, REALLY? I really haven't seen this at all! The vast majority of people I've worked with in the kitchen, gave everything they had to their jobs. If theirs a dead beat it's your job and responsiblity to fire them and not let those individuals drag everyone down.


"I wonder if making 60 grand would be enough". We can be realistic workers, we aren't all gready but we have families and bills too. What would be wrong with an respectable wage? I can't think of any similar field that requires as much talent and hard work as we give, that doesn't pay QUITE abit more than the average chef/kitchen worker. Bus drivers make more, flag girls do, wait people do, factory workers do, stewarts make more.....

"and back to the owners, don't they deserve to make as much return on their investment as they can".
Of course they do! The difference is in other industrys they go over seas to buy cheap labor, you can't cook long distance so we get undersold by illegal works standing next to us. Honestly I'm not trying to be sarcastic, I want the owners to make tons of money that keep us in jobs. I just want to make enough to live as well as the bus driver.

"I agree for the most part the hours do stink". No one wants to quit, no one is really complaining about weekend and holidays thats basic necessity in this biz! But how about a 50 hour or UNDER work week or JUST having to pay for OT? Every other industry the people get time and 1/2 or ot, we get less then reg. pay on ot. WHY?


"Remember we are the ones who can make a difference and it's up to us to establish a new age for culinary employees", well said Chefboy. I'm not pointing a finger, I'm asking what are we doing to make a difference?

I think I'm actively talking about issues trying to pursade my co-workers that we need to come out of the dark ages buy having more reasonable hours (so "even our spouse don't understand" mentality is erased, we need time to be with our non work familys too with-out being told "then quit if you don't like it"). The price far too many chefs pay for their job is lossing their family.

How do we get the owners at our jobs to give the 110% you do Fodigger? Or do you think they already are?

It isn't about whining, look at how many people do leave this field. Do you believe that it's healthy for the industry?
"Bakers are born, not made. We are exacting people who delight in submitting ourselves to rules and formulas if it means achieving repeatable perfection", Rose Levy Beranbaum
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"Bakers are born, not made. We are exacting people who delight in submitting ourselves to rules and formulas if it means achieving repeatable perfection", Rose Levy Beranbaum
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post #140 of 161

Well Stated!!!

W. Debord ; now your talkin . The only people who can make a difference are us , right here and right now . Our industry has been dominated by bottom line owners & bottom line franchisers since the begginings of our industry , but we do not have to tolerate it . The first 12 years of my career were dominated by either one horse kitchens ( I was the Horse ) or european old school kitchens where the chef was GOD . I made a personal descision at the age of 30 to be true to my work but to be true to myself also . Quality of life is now # 1 for me and my employees . I live this philosophy and I teach it to all of my employees . Do you know how much teamwork this brings to the workplace ?
My employees like to come to work and they take care of there jobs . I have raised the wages and given them a ownership in our department . I treat my staff like humans and adults and I expect the same in return . Somthing else I have recieved out of this , I am under budget , 0 theft , customer service is way up ,
employee turnover is nil & I like to go to work everyday . Also my phone never rings when I am at home . All of this by just giving people a fair income , treating them like people , and also having consistent scheduling so that people can plan and have a life . I hope that what I teach and what you all can teach catches on and changes this industry 1 kitchen at a time , of course thats just my opinion..................
The two most common things in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity !
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The two most common things in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity !
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post #141 of 161

YES!!!!!!!!!!!!

Bravo, Chefboy, Bravo!:chef:
post #142 of 161
I have a problem with the concept that 40 grand is not a fair wage. I believe the medium household wage in the US is about 28 grand now so that is 12 grand less. The starting wage for a bus driver in LA is 27,500. By the way what is a flag girl?
I've also experianced that only about 20-25% of employees give 110% to their jobs , the rest are their to collect a paycheck that is not to say they are incompetant just that they don't give their all to their jobs. The 20-25% are usually interested in moving up the ladder and know that is how to get noticed.
Any owner who uses illegal workers is asking for trouble and I hope it finds them as the are fools and deserve to be caught.
If you accept a saleried position based on fifty hrs per week then that is what you work. If you work over that unless you are a supervisor at least 75% of the time then they have to pay you o/t based on the hrly wage your salery breaks down to at least here in CA. That's the law.
In as far as chefs losing their families I think they first need to look in the mirror. Far too many of them don't put the families first. They hang around work to have a beer w/ the crew they don't get out when the can not trusting their employees to properly put out those last meals themselves. Not making the days off count etc.... I think that it has far more to do w/ the indviduals management style than the industry as a whole employee management, time management etc. People chage careers all the time this is not exclusive to our industry. For alot of people this industry is a way to a means while they wait for their real vocation.
And while I think that we can all agree that we still have a way to go I can't help but borrow the slogan " We come a long way baby"
Enjoy Life ~ Eat out more often
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Enjoy Life ~ Eat out more often
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post #143 of 161
Good job Chefboy. Funny how things work when we show a little common sence and consideration for our employees. Good job. A you are right here is where the change starts. One place at a time.
Enjoy Life ~ Eat out more often
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Enjoy Life ~ Eat out more often
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post #144 of 161
So what if the median wage in the US is 28k. That doesn't make 30k good, or 16k bad. FYI, the average wage as reported by the bureau of labor and statistics was $493/wk or $25,636/yr in October of 2001.

40k doesn't buy you anything these days. Take 40k a year to your mortgage company and you might be able to buy a house in the boonies. Assuming you have a monthly debt of $100 and 5k in savings, this means you can afford a house worth $84,602. That's not much house. I used a mortgage calculator on the web to figure this. That really wouldn't be too bad if you were living in a smaller college town like Madison Wisconsin or Ames Iowa. But the cost of healthcare, for you, your spouse, your kids, (if you have any) can total upwards of $300/month. Simple liability insurance for one car at $800/yr and you're already at $1.2k/month in necessary expenses. If you buy a modest car you're looking at $150/month more. Since you take home 28,800 after taxes this leaves you with 1k/month for other expenses like gas, electric, telephone, food, groceries, daycare, diapers, sanitation, home repairs, cable TV, furniture, books, tools, auto maintenance, internet access... the list goes on. And then there's retirement.

I lived in a small college town where my wife was finishing her doctorate and there were exactly three chef positions in that town which paid 40k. Hardly any employer paid for more than half of their employees' healthcare costs and many who worked in restaurants had no benefits at all. Even subsidized plans received few takers. Half of $130 a month is still well over $600 a year.

People who work in this industry have so many familial problems because they're forced to work such long or weird hours. Whether this is for good money or no money doesn't matter. This will damage whatever relationship you have. There's nothing you can do if you have to spend all Christmas in the darn banquet kitchen firing brunch for 1000 people. You do it or your family goes hungry. Count yourself lucky if you see your extended family during the holidays and even luckier if they understand... many people don't.

I've started a personal crusade to never eat out or shop for anything on a holiday. Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Year, 4th of July, and all the rest I've forgotten about because I've had to save a few pitiful labor dollars.

Kuan
post #145 of 161
In the Chicagoland suburbs you can not buy a condo for $84,000. unless your REALLY REALLY slumming. Kuan forgot to add child care into those monthly bills, I couldn't begin to pay for that!

Illegal workers are the back bone of this service industry! They forge documents day in and day out. No one is being fooled when the employeer says 'they didn't know the person was illegal, they had papers', yeah right! It's sooooo wide spread it's becoming the norm. and citizens are becoming the minority. Really now, we all know what's going on......

I flag girl is the person who holds the stop and slow signs in construction sites to control the traffic. Construction flagers get paid over $20.00 per hour (yes it's seasonal (winters off and more pay then yearly workers) but they average $50,000. per year according to my construction manager husband who writes their checks). There are no road construction workers in Chicago that are paid less then $20.00 per hour and their salaries just go up from there. Because we are a Union city. Yes, unions slow somethings down (like conventions) but in the same respect it holds this town together. We are hardly hit buy recessions compared to other cities. Our housing prices just continue to climb.

Yes, we get ot (the goverment had to step in not that many years ago and get that for us, before then NO ONE saw OT pay!), but honestly....PLEASE......can you really tell me it's fair to pay us less then our hourly rate when were pushing it way past 50 hours a week. When your really putting in the extra hours because things are busy (like during the holidays your missing), wouldn't it be nice it the owner apperciated us enough to pay us a respectable 1 1/2x pay? In IL they are required to pay a portion of reg. wages for ot not the whole amount your salary would break down into a per hour cost.

I'm sorry you see your workers giving so little fodigger. I think there must be a problem where your at. Even though I see people goof off now and then I think the majority of us really try to give everything to our job.
"Bakers are born, not made. We are exacting people who delight in submitting ourselves to rules and formulas if it means achieving repeatable perfection", Rose Levy Beranbaum
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"Bakers are born, not made. We are exacting people who delight in submitting ourselves to rules and formulas if it means achieving repeatable perfection", Rose Levy Beranbaum
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post #146 of 161
I agree with Chef DeBord.

I got on with the State of Ca. after 17 years in hotel & restaurant fine dinning, why?

State:lead cook $18+ per hour, supervisor $20+ per hour, food manager $48k+ per year. Over time for all but food manager is double time and a half, or time and a half extra vacation that isn't taxed (you can earn an extra 3 weeks a year on top of your normal time earned)

Most weekends off, evenings off. $6 per month co-pay on full HMO coverage for whole family, 2% per year retirement (if you put in 35 years you'll retire with 70% of your wage for the rest of your life) For every 100 meals served one cook and two food service workers are added onto the shift (i.e. 400 meals=4 cooks and 8 food service workers, banquet style preparation + cafeteria style service with lots of creative leeway) and once you pass probation it takes an act of congress to lose your job.

Where are you going to find this in private industry? Yes, there are jobs out there that pay off, in more than just financial ways, but you wish more private industry jobs would offer what State jobs do. Then again you don't have to turn a profit with the State, right?
post #147 of 161
Wow, and double wow! JP can I come work for you? While I think four cooks and eight foodservice workers might be a little excessive for only 400 people, I'd like to see our industry get a benefits package like the one provided by the state. It may be a little more expensive for employers but I think in the long run it will be good for the industry. Don't ask me how, I don't have a clue as to how this might be possible. Anyone have any ideas?

Kuan
post #148 of 161
i think if the commute wasn't so bad i'd apply to work with chefboy. in the northeast, where i live, i've never met a manager or owner that treated his/her employees like humans. i'm not sure if corporations or family owners were worse, they both have their quirks. the largest problem i've encountered is that they think you should have no life other than working for them.
i do believe in giving my 110% (and always have) but i would like some appreciation in return.
post #149 of 161
I know of at least one company which is like chefboy's. It's a catering kitchen where everything is made from scratch. Employees are left to their own devices and take total ownership of their party. Even if there may be more than one party calling for the same item there is no one person who preps the same item for multiple parties. Of course, if one person is willing to prep for the other then no big deal, and it works out quite well when that happens.

The pay is good, not great, but they make it up during the busy season by working 70 hours a week. There aren't many disgruntled employees. In fact, the core group of people who work there have been there at least 5 years. That's amazing for this industry. Just goes to show how much can be accomplished by treating your employees like humans.

Kuan
post #150 of 161

that's the point

Just goes to show how much can be accomplished by treating your employees like humans.

Kuan [/B][/QUOTE]

I think that's the point. Look, it's a business but just because it is
it doesn't mean people should be exploited. Fair wages, fair time off, fair bennies..........:)
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