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Cook's pay...Am I getting screwed?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Hello chefs! I'm 18 years old and I'm a line cook at a restaurant downtown in my city. Menu items are between 15 and 35 dollars, with the majority being local beef and fish. Very nice place. I work the grill station. I have been working here several months, and it's my second line cook gig. I'm not sure what other line cooks get paid, but I make 8.50 an hour. My city is about 1.2 million in population, to give you an idea of area. There is no such thing as an 'introductory rate' or anything like that, I mentioned that idea to the chef and he said there is nothing like that here. I make 8.50 and probably will until I say something about it.

 

I know line cooks don't usually get paid much, but isn't this a really low rate?

post #2 of 12

Define several months? Once you've proven yourself there, which is seems like you have, if its a regular gig for you I see no problem asking for a raise from 8.50. I was in the same situation as you this past summer at a new place and was getting 9 and considered asking for 10 when I was given more responsibility but it is almost closed for the offseason now.

post #3 of 12

Realize that you first should have a place to go if you get fired for asking for a raise. You've "been working [there] several months, and it's [your] second line cook gig.". How much exactly do you think that job is worth? 

post #4 of 12

Rate of pay and when it would increase are part of a conversation that you should have had before you accepted the job. Having said that;  $8.50 sounds low, but that's only my perspective. I don't know the industry standards in Nebraska.

 

Check the ads for line cooks, what are people offering? Remember that a few months is not the same as years of experience....you'll get there.

"The satisfactions of making a good plate of food are surprisingly varied, and only one, and the least important of them, involves eating what you've made" - Bill Buford, Heat

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"The satisfactions of making a good plate of food are surprisingly varied, and only one, and the least important of them, involves eating what you've made" - Bill Buford, Heat

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post #5 of 12

 

Quote:
if you get fired for asking for a raise....

Go straight to the labor board and file a complaint.

This is illegal.

You cannot, legally, be fired for asking for a raise.

It is your right (and responsibility) to look out for your best interests and the only way to grow your abilities, hence your value to the organization, is to ask those in authority how to do so.

www.foodandphoto.com

Liquored up and laquered down,
She's got the biggest hair in town!

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www.foodandphoto.com

Liquored up and laquered down,
She's got the biggest hair in town!

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post #6 of 12

Oh yeah. Good luck with that. Do you have the # for "Judge Judy"

 

BOSS: Your job pays $8.50/hr. 

18-yo kid: Boss, I need a raise. 

BOSS: Oh? There are a dozen other guys I can call that will be here in half an hour for your job. Do you still need a raise? 

18-yo kid: Oh yeah. My job is worth more than $8.50/hr.

BOSS: Wonderful. Do me a favor, clean up those pots/pans/dishes before we get real busy. OK? 

18-yo kid: Whatever. 

 

~ Later ...............

 

BOSS: HEY, 18-yo kid ... meet Julio ..... he'll be on the line tonight. Leave your coat in my office when you leave. 

 

 

Look, I'm not trying to be ugly and nasty, just real. A new place opens up by me (Chicagoland) every other month. I was "Applicant #700" of 1,200 on the very first day at one place. We're talking "line cook" here, not the "Master/Executive/Chef de Cuisine" of some 4* Michelin place. With today's economy and the entire job-world in general, be happy working. I'm not all sure about the rest of the world where line-cooks are making big-$$$, but by me, $8.50/hr is a good place to be working. 

 

post #7 of 12

Around here we don't fire for asking for a raise--oh no you could get a complaint filed at the labour board.  No the way it's done here is, we just cut down on your shifts, from 30-40 hrs/ week to 8-12 hrs.

 

Look, I may sound like a a-hole, but the restaurant industry is a nasty place.  If you don't have a minimum wage in your state, then there's no bottom to how low you can go.  Most places usually  have a "performance review" after 3 mths, and, based on that, pay raises may follow.

 

You do realize that with a pay raise, that the expectations of your work will increase.  The guys on salary are NOT working 40 hrs/week.

 

Like Iceman says, have a back-up plan in place if you do want to ask for an increase.

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #8 of 12

Dont know what your skills are, but I pay my dishwashers more.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #9 of 12

I'm from the minnesota area. I worked downtown Minneapolis. when I was 19 and I started there at 9.25 hr. However, my first two jobs line cooking, I made 6.50/hr. and 7.00 hr. 8.50/hr is ok starting out. It takes time. I am now 22 and right now Im working for 12.50 hr. My last jobs I was making 14 hr., 13.5 hr, and 12 and hr. Keep your head down, and knife sharp. You'll get there.

post #10 of 12

Even in the State of Florida which pays low and is a right to work states. I don't know of any Proffessional Chef working for $12.50 an hour. Line cooks and prep cooks yes and pantry yes.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #11 of 12
There may be 100 people that will stand in your place in a half an hour, but the real question is can they show up on time and deliver a product as well and as consistently as you? Is there attitude professional and positive as yours? I have been around this business awhile and know this industry attracts a lot of people who are maybe 10% of their resume. They are drunks or junkies or can't show up on time. Never know which personality you get from day to day. So my thought is this: if you show up on time, deliver a quality product, and do your job well, you are deserving of a raise, and most managers will agree that you are worth the investment, as it makes their job less maintenance in dealing with crappy cooks and all the headache that comes with it. Also, give it 6 months of good solid shifts to prove to yourself and superiors you are worth it.

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post #12 of 12

I'm totally corporate now at both of my jobs and believe it or not I make more money as a worker than I did as assistant KM at the breaky place. Yes the owner of the breaky place was cheap but to pay your management mere cents more than your line cooks like he did was just not right.

OK ... where am I going?.. and WHY am I in this handbasket??
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OK ... where am I going?.. and WHY am I in this handbasket??
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