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chef consultant plus wage

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
Hello All,

I hope you might give me some guidance.

I do apologize for the amount of pre-babble that follows. Bear with me please.

In order to clarify and completely explain my situation, I will try to summarize as best I can.

I have worked both back and front of house, in both as an hourly employee and management and prior to having kids was mostly off premise catering based. I worked "upscale/ fine dining/ gourmet/ blah blah"- you get the jist. Since my kids are now in grade school fulltime I have re-established a very small catering business-legal and above board. I keep it real small,- low to minimal overheads just extra income not high volume I am not interested in volume /stress/ compromise etc. Also only deal with drop off / pick up as I don't want that headache of servicing a party. You get the drfit, trying to minimize the dramas of catering, but trying to produce great quality and beautifully presented food.

So, to my dilemma...I have been approached by a wealthy client of mine who has recently moved her business practice to an incredibly upmarket section of our small but affluent city. In this new high end development they wanted to encourage a coffee shop type business. This client decided that she'd like to take that on but needed folk with expertise to make it work. She offered me the chance to be in charge of food etc. we are talking the "Panera" type operation- less bakery, very much smaller more seasonal menu, changing often, loads of specials etc. NO bulk bought muffins etc.

I know that I am the person to make this the best place of the type in town. Still do not want to go back to the 90 hour work week. Can't do that as kids still need a parent to be around when the school bus gets home. Client still game for me to be part. Assist where I can and step out where necessary. When I said that I have no money to invest, she says no money needed, they have all they need. Expertise is what counts....(Coz they have none). Could it get more perfect? Really could it?

That was 10 months ago and have played a fairly substaintial role in assisting making sure that "space planners" really know what the restaurant biz needs, what needs to be in kitchen as opposed to what the "kitchen design" guy wants to sell. Have done this happily as I have learned so much.

Now my husband, who is also in the biz (Master Sommelier) urges me to nail down renummeration. I know he is right but I can't figure out what to ask for in terms of money. After all you all will realize that in most circumstances the exec chef/ chef/ kitchen manager would be working ALL hours all of the time. Client realizes that I will be more of a consultant- not daily employee. Only I want to be as involved as possible. I will also be a very important part of the cafes fututer as all foods will be created by me. I may not be making every sandwich or soup but someone will be following MY recipes and ideas!

I am thinking that I will be there at 9.30 to ensure quality control especially at first and stay til 3 pm. Lunch being the busiest part of the day. I will train staff and provide recipes and design seasonally changing menus. Bear in mind that the menu will be standard cafe fare- soup/ sandwich/panini/ fantastic desserts and small plates to go along with great wine selections ( per husband!). But also keep in mind that this will not be club sandwich/ caesar salad type fair. I will strive towards local sustainable farm goods, great seasonal produce and innovative fare.

What sort of money should I ask for? I am thinking that I may put in 20 actual hours there. Will probably (definately) cease my catering bussiness but the intention is that I operate a web based personal chef business thru the cafe at some point in the future.
A web search puts exec chef wages at $45,000 for my area (for an estimation of cost of living etc here)

Have not charged anything so far as I am learning so much too.

Earliest communications offered a stake in the business.

OK that's it for now. I know that I have left a lot of holes. Wish I could fill in more. Looking forward to lots of input. Anticipate voices saying that I can't do it on so few hours.

Thanks for reading this LONG post,

post #2 of 3
lots of questions

Who signs the lease?
Who pays the bills?-including salary?
What happens if during the first 6 mths the place doesn't turn a profit?

This could be a wonderfull opportunity, or it could be a very realisitic lesson in working with partners who have absolutley no knowledge of the hospitality industry and their perceptions of those who do work in the hospitality industry...
...."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 #3 of 3
Not really a consultant job.... that would end after opening, save when needed to correct a business flaw.

I would say $22.00 per hour to start with... as the responsibility grows, (and it will cause employees rarely care) you can bump it up.

I would nail it down with a contract.
I am a reduction of my youthful mistakes mixed with the roux of a few adult successes
I am a reduction of my youthful mistakes mixed with the roux of a few adult successes
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