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Something smells fishy in the pay pot

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

I'm sure we've all know the pay rate of any given job in food service. And when we sit down and crunch numbers we find that the cost of food has been rising rapidly for years, but mcdonalds still has a dollar menu and pays min. wage. Obviously they have offset the rising cost of food by lowering quality and extensive labor saving techniques like staggered labor. But the average restaurant who cares about quality of food typically has to raise menu price and slightly lower quality to meet increased cost of food. It is still very cheap to eat out in general when compared to buying and preparing the same meal at home in my opinion. Why aren't more chefs and kitchen managers raising price of food to account  for increase food, labor, and energy overhead costs? Our cooks and personnel need to have the ability to make more money once we want to invest in them and lead them to help us in our cause. I want to increase the average cost in a given menu to allow my team the opportunity to be invested in if I see it fit. Perhaps I am just naive to the mindset of a paying customer. But if the service is great and I get an experience I cant easily have at home with great food, I'll pay for it.

post #2 of 13
Don't know where you're at, unless I'm going for bahn mi it is in no way cheaper to eat out than to eat at home. Menu prices in seattle seem to have gone through the roof lately; apart from that every company i've worked for has had yearly price increases. So....?
post #3 of 13

I can but a nice Choice NY or Rib Eye steak for under $10lb. That same steak out at a decent local place would be $30

Three of us went out the other night for prime rib, $84 + tip no booze, no dessert.

I am not shy about raising menu prices either as the increases hit me, my customers understand the quality that they get an are willing to pay for it even though it's for burgers & sandwiches.

post #4 of 13

I can ALWAYS cook at home far cheaper than a restaurant meal unless it is some exotic food not avail locally.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by ChefDrewWatkins View Post
 

I'm sure we've all know the pay rate of any given job in food service. And when we sit down and crunch numbers we find that the cost of food has been rising rapidly for years, but mcdonalds still has a dollar menu and pays min. wage. Obviously they have offset the rising cost of food by lowering quality and extensive labor saving techniques like staggered labor. But the average restaurant who cares about quality of food typically has to raise menu price and slightly lower quality to meet increased cost of food. It is still very cheap to eat out in general when compared to buying and preparing the same meal at home in my opinion. Why aren't more chefs and kitchen managers raising price of food to account  for increase food, labor, and energy overhead costs? Our cooks and personnel need to have the ability to make more money once we want to invest in them and lead them to help us in our cause. I want to increase the average cost in a given menu to allow my team the opportunity to be invested in if I see it fit. Perhaps I am just naive to the mindset of a paying customer. But if the service is great and I get an experience I cant easily have at home with great food, I'll pay for it.

post #5 of 13

@ChefDrewWatkins,

  I understand the jist of your post. I also understand about the cooking at home statement. I'm sure you were just trying to put a point out there.

Over the past 20 yrs. of ownership the industry has changed greatly. Purchasing was a minor part of the job. It has now become major. I find myself pricing for things I have never done. Energy,Telephones, etc. There are no more sales reps, just order takers. If your're working for someone who has sold out to a large food vender then your hands might be tied. One sentence I didn't agree with is.

" But the average restaurant who cares about quality of food typically has to raise menu price and slightly lower quality to meet increased cost of food"

I feel this is the beginning of the end. I would never sacrifice quality or labor at the expense of our customers. I have to do everything in my power to keep quality and customer service. Let's face it, you can have 10 venues who basically offer the same product, the only thing that will set them apart is customer service.

It a shot load of work, sending out vendor bid sheets every week, returning product, but that's what it takes to keep cost down.

We have increased prices regularly and I try to keep my repeat customers informed why. Every one of our staff has ownership in the business.

This is the key to cut waste.

This is the new economy. If people are waiting for it to come back, good luck.

FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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post #6 of 13

The people who grow the produce are not getting paid more.  The people who harvest and butcher the animals are not getting paid more.  The people who prepare the food are not getting paid more.  People who go to restaurants don't want to pay more but want more more more.

 

What's left?  ;)

 

Just because food is getting more costly doesn't mean an automatic rise in menu prices will fix things.  People just don't have the money these days.

post #7 of 13

@kuan,

I think it's all relative. everything is up, technology, TP, charcoal, toothbrushes, energy, etc.

I had to give the grease trap guy 112.00 today. Use to give him $25. and lunch and a sweet.


Edited by panini - 9/8/14 at 2:51pm
FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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post #8 of 13

If you're asking why wages for cooks don't increase, the answer is simple:

 

Too much competition for the dining dollar.

 

That and the fact that there are no real standards for cooks, or what a cook should know, relate directly to what a cook should be paid.

...."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 #9 of 13

I probably don't really help the matter with my dining choices.  I tend to prefer specialty and ethnic "dives" over high class fine dining. I enjoy the food more and I like the relative value. 

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #10 of 13


Wow $84 no booze or dessert...oh my you and your party got jipped...it probably didn't melt in the mouth either...come to my house I'll whip you up prime rib w/the fixins, booze, dessert + tip and it'll be under $84 ...and also you get it $10/lb...u r a good wheel and dealer...the cheapest Ive gotten so far is $16/lb

 

Take care

post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 

A lot of good considerations here. I just feel like we are being strong armed into making sure our energy companies, food vendor, and all executive big wigs get paid first, then trying to keep our customers happy with menu prices so competitive we are counting grains of rice in our risotto, and clocking employees our for a break if they sneeze. Not just that but also using every trick in the book to keep labor,cost, waste, etc down. Obviously customer service is very important, and its hard to find trained employees who we can invest in and pay for their time when we are breaking necks to pay suits. Not that it all can't be done, but somewhere along the line we have to make some very bold moves and I think this is where a lot of chefs are falling off. These bold decisions and well taken risks are what many of us have to do. I just personally want to see a shift back into real customer service and cooks who are well trained or be able to pay for in house training time. Menu prices are going up, and I hope the average customer will understand why when we offer exceptional service and nicely crafted food from trained cooks. 

 

Also hello and thanks for your words. Just signed up, but been referring to post here for years.

post #12 of 13

The only real tool in a Chef's /Owner's toolkit is this:

 

Be unique

 

Or, to put it another way,

 

If Johnny across the street sells apples, you want to sell oranges.

 

That way, you never have a price war, never have to fight each other for the same customer, and both Johnny and you can charge to enough to cover costs and make a profit.

 

Supplier's prices will always go up, that's normal.  There's just so much ( deleted) competition for the dining dollar that very few places dare charge what they need to charge when increases do incur.

...."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 #13 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChefDrewWatkins View Post
 

 we are counting grains of rice in our risotto, and clocking employees our for a break if they sneeze. Not just that but also using every trick in the book to keep labor,cost, waste, etc down... and its hard to find trained employees who we can invest in and pay for their time when we are breaking necks to pay suits.

Speaking from the perspective of restaurants, with a profit margin somewhere in the 3% range, I can't remember when a time when this scenario wasn't the case if a business wanted to stick around.

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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