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What is a fair wage?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
I am the Chef owner of a small (45 seat) upscale bistro about 60 miles north of New York City. My assistant recently left and I have been having a **** of a time finding a replacement. I have started to think that the money I have been offering is not enough. So I will put the question to you. What sounds fair? 52 Hours. Sunday's off. Four Hours on Mondays. Lunch and dinner shifts from 11:00 to 9:00 Tues-Sat. No Menu creation. No ordering. Prep and cook. Give me a clue. :confused:

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" I hate people who do not take their meals seriously" Oscar Wilde
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" I hate people who do not take their meals seriously" Oscar Wilde
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post #2 of 23
Out of curiosity, what were you paying?
post #3 of 23
$18.00 Hr. + benefits. Health , Dental , Life, 2 weeks paid vacation , Bonus depending on sales and a liberal food allowance. :chef:
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One time a guy pulled a knife on me. I could tell it wasn't a professional job; it had butter on it.- Rodney Dangerfield -


'We're ALL amateurs; It's just that some of us are more professional about it than others'. - George Carlin
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post #4 of 23
I'll be there Thursday :D :chef:
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My latest musical venture!
http://myspace.com/nikandtheniceguys
 
Also
http://www.myspace.com/popshowband "I'm at the age when food has taken the place of sex in my life. In fact I've just had a mirror put over my kitchen table." Rodney Dangerfield RIP
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post #5 of 23
I wouldn't put in a dollar figure just to attract people. I'd make sure I have the absolute right candidate and then talk money. Some people value free time over anything else, some value benefits. It all depends.
post #6 of 23
$18 is fair in any city. I agree that you should look at the person and skills then talk about money. There are a lot of hungry chefs looking for work with the benifits offered it seems more than fair. You might want to talk to the right person about a creative outlet over time. Good luck!!!
post #7 of 23
I concur. That seems like a fair wage/benefit package. Maybe the right person has not yet come along.

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Invention, my dear friends, is ninety-three percent perspiration, six percent electricity, four percent evaporation, and two percent butterscotch ripple

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post #8 of 23
Thread Starter 
Sorry....are you serous??
" I hate people who do not take their meals seriously" Oscar Wilde
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" I hate people who do not take their meals seriously" Oscar Wilde
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post #9 of 23
Is that $700 - $800 a week gross ? Any benefits ?
http://www.frappr.com/chefsunited
One time a guy pulled a knife on me. I could tell it wasn't a professional job; it had butter on it.- Rodney Dangerfield -


'We're ALL amateurs; It's just that some of us are more professional about it than others'. - George Carlin
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http://www.frappr.com/chefsunited
One time a guy pulled a knife on me. I could tell it wasn't a professional job; it had butter on it.- Rodney Dangerfield -


'We're ALL amateurs; It's just that some of us are more professional about it than others'. - George Carlin
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post #10 of 23
Is the assistant position only prep and cook ? I am sure there are other responsabilities that come with the [ assistant position ] ? Or is the position more like a sous and you as chef just do not want to share ? Why don't you look for a cook and pay him accordingly and you as chef do more prep and cook yourself ? Maybe then you would reconsider what a [ assistant is worth ]. :chef:
http://www.frappr.com/chefsunited
One time a guy pulled a knife on me. I could tell it wasn't a professional job; it had butter on it.- Rodney Dangerfield -


'We're ALL amateurs; It's just that some of us are more professional about it than others'. - George Carlin
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http://www.frappr.com/chefsunited
One time a guy pulled a knife on me. I could tell it wasn't a professional job; it had butter on it.- Rodney Dangerfield -


'We're ALL amateurs; It's just that some of us are more professional about it than others'. - George Carlin
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post #11 of 23
Thread Starter 
Gross Salary. No benefits..... so I see where this is going. Not enough? Let me give you a run down with your numbers....$900 week gross salary (My cost $1008) Health Insurance with Dental and Life (single $490, couple $750, Family $1160) per month. Two weeks paid vacation ($2000 for a replacement). Bonus?? 2 percent? 3 percent? $1500. So the cost for this one person would run me close to $70K? How do you make those numbers work?
" I hate people who do not take their meals seriously" Oscar Wilde
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" I hate people who do not take their meals seriously" Oscar Wilde
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post #12 of 23
Do you have insurance through the business ? :chef:
http://www.frappr.com/chefsunited
One time a guy pulled a knife on me. I could tell it wasn't a professional job; it had butter on it.- Rodney Dangerfield -


'We're ALL amateurs; It's just that some of us are more professional about it than others'. - George Carlin
Reply
http://www.frappr.com/chefsunited
One time a guy pulled a knife on me. I could tell it wasn't a professional job; it had butter on it.- Rodney Dangerfield -


'We're ALL amateurs; It's just that some of us are more professional about it than others'. - George Carlin
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post #13 of 23
Maybe you just need a cook who lives at home with his / her parents , Maybe 2 part timers . Explore more options , local schools ? Retiree's etc... Asking someone for 52 hrs. a week is more in line with a mgt. position. One Chefs Opinion. :chef:
http://www.frappr.com/chefsunited
One time a guy pulled a knife on me. I could tell it wasn't a professional job; it had butter on it.- Rodney Dangerfield -


'We're ALL amateurs; It's just that some of us are more professional about it than others'. - George Carlin
Reply
http://www.frappr.com/chefsunited
One time a guy pulled a knife on me. I could tell it wasn't a professional job; it had butter on it.- Rodney Dangerfield -


'We're ALL amateurs; It's just that some of us are more professional about it than others'. - George Carlin
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post #14 of 23
So how many people do you really need? Seriously, if you're doing 60 covers a night you don't need more than 1.5 guys. How much hands on involvement do you have with the kitchen right now?
post #15 of 23
Thread Starter 
Good point! Maybe I could deal with some part time people instead.
" I hate people who do not take their meals seriously" Oscar Wilde
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" I hate people who do not take their meals seriously" Oscar Wilde
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post #16 of 23
I would find out what the average local wage is for cooks, and then offer a little more. Part-timers to begin with, the better one will rise up. I'v found Hispanic cooks fill this opportunity perfectly. Be creative.
post #17 of 23
It may be that Hispanic cooks are different and possibly a good match for your organization, but I wouldn't discriminate. Let's just stop right there.
post #18 of 23
AGREED !!! :chef:
http://www.frappr.com/chefsunited
One time a guy pulled a knife on me. I could tell it wasn't a professional job; it had butter on it.- Rodney Dangerfield -


'We're ALL amateurs; It's just that some of us are more professional about it than others'. - George Carlin
Reply
http://www.frappr.com/chefsunited
One time a guy pulled a knife on me. I could tell it wasn't a professional job; it had butter on it.- Rodney Dangerfield -


'We're ALL amateurs; It's just that some of us are more professional about it than others'. - George Carlin
Reply
post #19 of 23
This wasn't said as a discriminatory , or disparaging remark towards any group. I have over 15 years in the restaurant and hotel industry, and mostly what I've experienced is that kids comming out of culinary school have this delusion that they are entitled to middle and upper tier salaries, don't want to start at the bottom(just read some of the other related threads here), feel the need to "express their creativity". Everyone wants to start out a F&W top 10 chef. But the REALITY(again, REALITY) is that all kitchens operate on a tight budget, and line pay has ceilings. This is known as business, and those that don't follow , fail. In most major cities, Hispanics are the backbone of the foodservice industry, this is fact. Why? because thgey walk in without the preconcieved ego and demands, and are willing to work and appreciate the opportunities given to them. Think about it, how many kids graduate from all of the culinary programs across the country each year? If you survey a random selection of resaurants,high end to low end, you'll find a a low percentage of them working there. The resaurant industry is not huggy feel good like on tv or in the magazines, itsa business, with tight profit margins. Wake up.
post #20 of 23
OK. We're done with this.
post #21 of 23
Just a little math here. If the hours are correct as stated (52/wk.) and the person is being paid overtime the actual pay would be $ 53,640 per year assuming 40 hours per week for the vacation time. In many parts of the country that would be a more than fair wage. Since the cost of living in NY is considerably higher than most of the county it would not be as good as it might seem. Still it doesn't seem like it would be out of line. My experience in non-restaurant businesses has been that once someone is paid enough money to live with a little for some of the nicer things in life the non-monetary things in the workplace become more important. Do you appreciate your employees hard work and let them know it? Do you praise in public and criticize in private? Do you say "thank you" on a regular basis? If someone goes the extra mile one day do you call them the next Sunday night and tell them to take the half day off on Monday with pay? It's these kind of things that differentiate a good boss from a not so good boss. What's your reputation among your former employees? If it's not good, then maybe no amount of money will attract a good chef. Just some things to think about. I wish you well in your hunt.
post #22 of 23

In CA...

I work in one of the San Francisco Chronicles Top Ten restaurants of 2004 as a lead line cook, and I make $11. No benefits. $18 an hour alone seems more than fair.
post #23 of 23
AlexR
Even considering the Bush admin changes to labor rules, if an employee's major job function is production and service, it precludes you from paying him a gross weekly or monthly salary and requiring him (or her) to work overtime. Gross salaries can only be paid to employees whose responsibilities are 50% or more administrative.
Of course, many food service operations do this with impunity. But all it takes is one sharp employee(usually one of your best) who is informed about labor law and you are faced with a "Fair wage standards" lawsuit and you are ultimately liable for that person's back pay for unpaid overtime.
Had the statute of limitations not run out I could reasonably be compensated to the tune of several hundred thousand dollars from a very high-end hotel chain for unpaid overtime. I worked 18 months, 6-7 days per week, averaging 110 hours a week for a miniscule weekly salary. How I wish I had known then about fair wage and labor law.
Protect yourself and your employees.Pay a fair hourly wage and overtime. Add some benefits and treat them well. It's more cost effective in the long run than constantly retrianing new recuits. The costs of recuiting and training averages out to 3 months worth of a new employee's pay going right down the drain.
Good Luck.

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