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First job offer

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
I got my first job offer to head up a kitchen for a small cafe that sits 20-25 people. The topic of pay is still on the table. I would have to start from the bottom up with the kitchen...meaning I would have to help in the purchasing of new equip and tools, I will be reworking the menu and I would have to hire my staff. My question is; what is the going rate for this type of position?

Thanks in advance
post #2 of 5
Do the math. Plug in your own numbers if these are inaccurate.

25 covers X $15 check average X 4 turns daily (2 lunch, 2 dinner)=$1,500/day

300 days per year (closed 1 day a week and some holidays) X $1,500(daily sales)=$450,000/yr

Labor cost @ 30%=$135,000/annual payroll
Roughly half annual labor expenses in kitchen = $67,500
How many hours for prep cooks?, dishwashers?, cooks?
How many hours do you plan on working?

Be careful.
post #3 of 5
Plus, unless you have a different menu for lunch and dinner it will be near impossible to do well at both unless you have a captive audience.

To put things in perspective, I was the solo chef at a place which did 150 covers a week at about $25/person. I got paid $30k and did my own dishes except on weekends when I had help Sat. and Sun. for four hours each. There was one other breakfast cook at $15k and she did her own dishes as well.
post #4 of 5

I don't want to insult your intelligence. I just want to make sure you're up to it both physically and mentally.

My first real chef gig was a horrible experience. I had been in the biz a good many years being anything from a prep guy, fry guy, sauté guy, grill guy, and eventually sous chef. I thought I was ready. In retrospect, I wasn't. I'm not saying this is or will be you. I'm just telling you what happened to me. Things got ugly.

Within 45 days of opening the owners had decided to change the complete concept of the restaurant. The menu changed, the manning levels changed, everything changed. I knew it was time for me to find another venue.

The place remained open for one year. I'm certain the duration of the building's lease was MUCH longer than that.

Anyway, if you're ready for the gig, find out what the going rate for a sous chef is at a reasonable size restaurant. That would probably be YOUR rate. Remember, hourly (for you) is better up to a point.

You mention reworking the menu. To me that means you're going to an existing place. Again, not trying to insult your intelligence, your menu drives your kitchen and labor. You can't offer foods you can't cook. Conversely, if you have a kitchen in place, it's easier to base your menu on your equipment.

A small restaurant like that should be easy to man depending on how many hours daily you intend on being open. Also remember, when scheduling, only use doubles as a last resort. They are a real demoralizer and it's darn difficult to be sent home only to 'look forward' to going back. As a worst case scenario, set things up so that if you've a gap between lunch and dinner, that is used for prep by both BOH & FOH employees.


Order In/Food Out ~ It's NOT magic.
- * - * - * - * -
"It's not getting any smarter out there. You have to come to terms with stupidity, and make it work for you." Frank Zappa
Order In/Food Out ~ It's NOT magic.
- * - * - * - * -
"It's not getting any smarter out there. You have to come to terms with stupidity, and make it work for you." Frank Zappa
post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone, I turned down the offer. I didn't feel I was ready for the task...so after a few more years of work, training and studying I feel I will be ready to handle anything.
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