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Wage in Michigan kitchens?

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
I was just offered $8-$9/hr. prep/line for the job I've been waiting to hear from for 3 weeks. :( That seems really low for someone with 20 years of catering experience.
What do you pay your staff?
Just really curious.
post #2 of 29
That is extremely low in my opinion. I pay my dishwasher 10, morning prep 12-13, and its up from there.
post #3 of 29
Kitchen wages, are, in my opinion, rediculous! They are often not even a living wage unless you are 20 years old and living with 3 other room mates. $8-$9/hour? That is what I got in high school (which, by the way, was pleanty of years ago) working in a mall selling jeans. At $9 an hour, that is under 19k per year (assuming 40 hours a week for 52 weeks). Who can survive on that? No wonder so many restos go under so quickly in this country...I am sure that one of the reasons why is lack of talented work staff. I am sure that if the wages were raised, and passed on to the customer, the public would pay the increased food charges. It has been done in so many other industries, why not the food service inductry? Sure, they will complain about it at first, but ultimately, they will accept it and everyone will be happy.

We deserve a living wage.
post #4 of 29
I'm not sure about Mich., but that is an average-above average wage in my area.
I hire for the position, and if someone such as yourself applies, I would hope to offer them a higher position.
If I don't have a higher position open, then they have a choice.
Get paid what the position pays, which is less than their experience would warrant, or not take the position.

Occasionally I can swing a higher than normal wage for someone because I really want their experience in my kitchen, but it is the rare exception.
Once in the door, then they hope that a higher position opens up.
But timing can be everything.
If my Sous Chef's never leave, no one else is ever going to be promoted to Sous.

I guess that is your big decision....if you really want to work in this kitchen, you might take the lower paying position in the hopes that you can advance in the near future.

One way or the other, you'll make the decision that is right for you.
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
post #5 of 29
Average to above average? Are you serious? What do you pay your Sous's and Line Cooks?
post #6 of 29
Yes, that is the going rate up here in Podunk.
Our Sous' make just over 30k, line cooks 8.50-11 hourly, depending.

Keep in mind, I don't set the wage scale.
But it's not just the establishment where I work, cooks are undervalued in this area, as they are in many others.
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
post #7 of 29
Keep in mind the general economic climent in Michigan.

8-9 is the low end here in L.A., average is about 10, but it depends alot on where you work. Of course the min wage is 7.50 at the moment and will be going up to 8 on Jan 1, 2008.

I remember one job I was working, I realized that the teens at In'n'Out where getting a better wage (not too much ~50 cents more) and bene's. That was a real low point in life.
post #8 of 29
It is kinda depressing, I have heard that the hot dog guy @ Costco is getting $12/hr.
post #9 of 29
I guess its just the area then, but my jaw is dropped. I realllly cant believe it. Who knows, maybe I am just overpaying my employees, I dont know.
post #10 of 29
Thread Starter 
I'm glad to hear your jaw dropped! I think our professional expertise is worth a heck of a lot more than $8/hr. Especially for experienced cooks you can assign to anything and they get it done FAST!
post #11 of 29
Definately, the LEAST I will pay for somebody even just out of school is start them at 12. I think 8 is purely ridiculous.
post #12 of 29
Thread Starter 
Yeah baby. That's the confirmation I was looking for!! Thank you. I knew I wasn't crazy, he's just some ******* trying to take advantage because he knew my catering biz was slow and needed to make some $$$.
post #13 of 29
No, you're not overpaying.
I wish every place payed accordingly.

BTW, where should I email my resume? :D

Hmmm, on second thought, the commute would probably kill me.:roll:
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
post #14 of 29
Jim, Jim, Jim, if only you did not live in California!
I guess my line cooks and sous chefs will have a rude awakening if they ever leave and try to go elsewhere. They will try to go else where, and the way it sounds, probably get paid, ALOT less.
post #15 of 29
Maybe. Then again you didn't say what postion you were applying for. Minimum wage here in B.C is $8.50 /hr, and that's what I pay the prep monsters.
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
post #16 of 29
FoodPump, this is purely a question that I am curious about, no pun intended, and dont want to start an argument...

Okay, so minimum wage in your area is 8.50.
Now I am just curious in what you have your prep monsters do. In my restaurant, they do alot. They do burger sets, make dressings, butcher meat and fish, cut 90 percent of the veg for the day, make salads, make cakes, frost the cakes, grill eggplant, clean shrimp and calamari, skewer scallops and shrimp, clean, trim, pound, and butterfly ALOT of chicken everyday. They also get the stocks started. They clean their mess, wash and sanatize the walls and tables after they are done, and they also do dishes in a pinch.

Now I am not sure if your prep people do all of this or not. But mine do.
And is saying mine do, I CAN NOT, in ANY WAY justify paying them minimum, or even CLOSE to minimum wage. The same as the gas station attendant down the street is making. I cant do it.

Like I said, this is my opinion, and I reserve judgement. I would just like to hear your words of wisdom. I think it is good that Chefs that run a kitchen, like you and I, can share our opinions like this. And again, Im quite sorry if I offended anybody during this post.
post #17 of 29
I was going to make a joke about foodpump paying them in greenbacks, but, alas, I can not at current exchange rates.
post #18 of 29
Thread Starter 
The main reason I didn't accept the offer to take the job at that low wage, is exactly what Chef Torrie was talking about. I worked in that kitchen for 5 hours and I saw what everyone does. Everyone does everything and at a very intense pace. So why is it that you would pay the prep people less when they are doing the same as the others? It makes no sense to me. Why work that hard when I don't wish to climb to a better position and just want to make some $$$ for my labor? My daughter makes that kind of money working concession at the local movie house! I pay my assistants for my little catering biz 10/hr. I think this is a great discussion. thanx for all the input.
post #19 of 29
No problem with the input, that is what we are here for. That is why this forum is so great.

However, I did not say I did not pay the prep people less than the line cooks, I do. My line cooks start at about 14 depending on experience and rep, higher or lower, my prep men/women, I start between 10.50-13. Like I have said in the past, my dishwasher makes 10. If u ever say how busy a dishwasher was on a Saturday night, doing 300 covers, or on a mothers day, you would know they are worth more than minimum. Also like I stated, minimum is for the guy down the street pumping gas. Minimum is the grocery bagger down the street. Minimum is for blowing up balloons at the party store. Minimum does not belong in my kitchen.
post #20 of 29
Thread Starter 
I really like your attitude. The offer to me for $8 was prep/line cook. For both jobs. Just doesnt' make sense.
post #21 of 29
Nope, not at all, at least not in this Chefs eyes. Im sure you were more polite than I would be, but, I would have told them to shove it you know where. 8 DOLLARS. HOW, HOW, are you even supposed to make half a decent living with that. EVEN as a single bachelor. Ludacris.
post #22 of 29
For me, I get what I pay for, minimum wages gets me a pair of arms and legs and usually nothing between the ears. I call them prep monsters because when I have an event and I volume work done, like skewering stuff, veg prep, fruit prep, and cleaning up. It doesn't amke economical sense to get a line cook to do this. A line cook I usually pay around $13.00 and on site cooks $15-18 depending on the requirments of the event (ie flipping burgers vs carving gravad lox and leg of lamb).
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
post #23 of 29
Very well, and I thank you for your input, I just wanted to see what you had your prep people do. I do get what you are saying, you may them the minimum, because they do the minimum. And I respect you for that:D

Now, just another quick question. You say you pay your line cook 13. Now, do you start them at 13, or is your highest paid 13. Also how often do you evaluate for raises, promotions, etc.
post #24 of 29
recent no experience in a kitchen, college student hire makes $9 an hour for making lavosh, prepping veg, making rolls, cleaning veg, pretty much anything I need and has great follow through after showing an example....during an event the same person makes $15 an hour + tips.

Sous chef that has been exec and culinary teacher makes $25 an hour. Just supply the list and he knows what I want. Unfortunately or fortunately for him, he's now exec at a restaurant across town.

I've made numerous mistakes in paying someone way more than they were worth to me, so now I see how they work in the kitchen prior to setting a rate. Got really burnt the last time by hiring someone that had LOADS of experience but was slow, burned multiple batches of pastry dough, brought home problems into work......really rough, took 45 minutes to not make a cheese's actually perferable to work with a newby where I'd expect some of these problems.
cooking with all your senses.....
cooking with all your senses.....
post #25 of 29
I got ya, but with catering do you think it is a little different shroomgirl...
Cuz when I do catering events, I also usually hire a couple "kids' if you will, for some temporary labor. I tell them they will make 9, but usually give them a dollar more per hour they work. This is just how I run things. If I a catering event alot of the times I dont even need to look for help, I will have family or neighbors or or my sons friends want to help. So he11, I give them a chance!
post #26 of 29
absolutely catering is different than running a restaurant.....
most of the time we can prep for multiple events at one time, most of the time it's setup to finish at the event.
We're not creating the same menu day in and day out.....though there are some things that are fairly standard on the menus: lavosh, rolls for sandwiches, special bite size tarts....soon marshmallows will be on numerous menus. This year appears to be a huge decorate your cookie year.

May totally regret the 250 guest Christmas party (2 hour) where they decorate their own cookie.
cooking with all your senses.....
cooking with all your senses.....
post #27 of 29
In regards to Cheftorries questions. Cooks start at $13, probation period in this province is 3 mths, so after that time I review the work, and usually every 6 mths make some kind of a salary increase. Also usually every January we include a substantial bonus.
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
post #28 of 29
I used to live in Connecticut and work for a private chef's operation, and I know I might never make more than I did then, at the age of 19. (How sad.)

However, I'm still 100% satisfied with making $12-$15/hr as a line cook here in Vancouver, BC.

I know, though, when I apply for a fine dining place, I'll be taking a big pay cut. And that's fine-I see the learning as having value as well. But if I was honestly working for 20 years, I'd never take a prep position, and absolutely not for $8-$9/hr, unless I was working under Charlie Trotter or something.
post #29 of 29
Independent, elegant, high-end restaurant, big city in Texas, no unions. Each day 100-120 patrons for lunch ($50 per person) and 80-100 patrons for dinner ($75 per person); closed Sun-Mon. Private parties and some offsite catering. Over $3.85 million in total sales per year, serving 40000+ patrons per year. Four primary owner/investors.

Front: 75 seats, 20 tables, 4K bottles of wine in-house. One GM, one assist GM, Maitre D', six waiters, six assisitant waiters, four bussers, one sommelier, two hostesses. Three bartenders: one for service bar, two in the bar (seats 25). Accounting: three in office, two CPAs on retainer, one law office on retainer. Cleaners: each Monday a contracted service does heavy cleaning for the entire restaurant. Costs always run: 35% food and beverage, 30% labor, 15% overhead. Average 20% gross profit per month.

Back: Full brigade kitchen (wages are per annum, everyone is scheduled 40 hours weekly):

Executive Chef - $110,000 + quarterly bonus
Executive Sous - $55,000 + quarterly bonus
Senior Sous - $45,000 + quarterly bonus
Sous - $40,000
Junior Sous - $35,000
Chef Saucier - $45,000 + quarterly bonus
Chef de Partie (6) - $30,000
Demi Chef de Partie (6) - $24,000
Commis/Prep Cooks (12) - $10-12 per hour
Pastry Chef - $48,000 + quarterly bonus
Assistants Pastry - (2) - $28,000
Head Baker - $44,000 + quarterly bonus
Bakers (2) - $28,000
Dishwashers (4) - $10.00 per hour
Maitre D' - $50,000 + quarterly bonus
Restaurant GM - $70,000 + quarterly bonus
Assistant Restaurant GM - $50,000 + quarterly bonus
Certified Sommelier - $55,000 + quarterly bonus
Kitchen office staff (3) $28,000
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