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Seeking advice regarding asking for a raise in the Restaurant Management world

Poll Results: Should I ask for better pay or wait for the business owner to bring it up?

This is a multiple choice poll
  • 0% of voters (0)
    Wait for them to bring it up
  • 50% of voters (1)
    Ask casually to feel it out
  • 50% of voters (1)
    Ask for a formal discussion on pay
  • 0% of voters (0)
    Move on to another position
2 Total Votes  
post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Here's my situation, feel free to weigh in with any advice or experience. All thoughts are appreciated! - Chris

 

My question is this: Am I right to approach the subject and ask for the raise that was mentioned upon promotion? 
 

I am a 21yr old male with 6+ years experience in the restaurant and sales industries. I started from the bottom of a fast food company and have worked my way into management at two of my jobs during the last 4 years. (I usually work 2-3 jobs at any given time).

 

I have been with my current company for 2+ years and have been a full time manager now for only 6 months (since January). The company trained me to take over my own store and I am proficient in meeting all the needs of a management position from menu creation and execution to management skills, food cost, ordering, boh/foh relations, labor, cost control, P&L's, etc.

 

When I got the promotion, I became salaried and now make approx $13.75 hourly equivalent ($550 / week before taxes). Upon agreeing to take on my own store, the business owner and I discussed and agreed that I could make $600/week the first year if things went smoothly and that pay would then increase marginally every year (like a normal salaried position).

 

The potential raise was intended to promote hard work and results and I feel that I've delivered on my part but am waiting to see any kind of reward. Verbal praise and coaching has been received and appreciated, but money is money, and I have bills to pay.

Compared to others in my location and position, I feel I am underpaid but enjoy the work and take pride in my store and the relationships I have with my guests. After a recent paycheck slip-up I discovered that the other managers in my company are making anywhere between $50-$250 more than me per week. In addition to that, my line cook makes $13/hour and is making more on busy weeks than I am. I respect him immensely and am more than willing to pay him more, but I feel that I am worth more.

 

 

As for my store, we are currently meeting food cost and labor goals + driving the company with new recipes and training valuable future store leaders. (whereas other stores have problems with employee retention, tardiness, cleanliness, etc).

 

Do you think it's too early to bring up in casual conversation? Or should I ask for a meeting to discuss my future development and bring up pay as a side note? I am worried that the business owner is never going to voluntarily throw money at me and that I should be proactive in my career (including salary discussions).


On a side note, I have a great skillset to work with now and if I wasn't so loyal to the company I believe I could find another restaurant position that pays better in my area for the same amount / quality of work. Anyone think I should look elsewhere?

post #2 of 12
You talk a lot. Ask for the raise. They are waiting for you to ask money doesnt grow on trees be assertive. Always ask its your life be responsible for it.
post #3 of 12

Yes you should be looking elsewhere. Not because you should quit but because you should have an exit plan or a back up just in case. 

 

What kind of time table was talked about? "if things run smoothly". Six months? 

If your owner expressed a specific time and the time is passed, then yes I would bring it up. In this case, I don't see a casual approach. As you said, you have bills to pay, are doing the job as requested and have gotten the requested results. 

Get your results together, achievements, etc before you talk. 

I would defiinitiely do a "formal" meeting. Formal in that you have an appointment to have a talk. Then you bring up the pay at the time of the discussion. 

     If the raise is not forthcoming, be sure to ask for specific guidelines to help you get it. what exactly is the owner looking for? 

Having said all that, be prepared for a bad response. I certainly hope you don't get one and I hope you get a good one. 

It is entirely possible you could get led down the garden path and left where you are for as long as the owner can get you to stay there. 

But be prepared by having looked around for other opportunities. Make sure there are jobs out there you can get. 

All the points you bring up here are valid points. You are doing the managers job and have every reason to think the owner will follow through on his earlier talk.

     As the Godfather says, "It's not personal, strictly business". 

I'm certainly no expert in this department. Stay tuned for others to answer as well. 

post #4 of 12

Hey Chris,

I'm no expert either but have been on the other side.  

 I think I would base it on the type of person the owner is. If he or she is successful, energetic, positive and usually speaks to people with level eye contact on a one to one basis, then I would definitely opt for a chat. If you are proving yourself as a productive manager as you say, then have a chat about your compensation. Speak to, not at, or up, and ask for the compensation you all talked about.

   If your owner doesn't always shoot straight, waffles, doesn't respect line cooks and down, etc, then I would ask for a meeting. Go in prepared with guns loaded. Like Chefwriter says, I certainly would be prepared in case the meeting goes south or negative. if you receive an emphatic no, then be prepared to walk on principle.

Wishing the best to you.

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 #5 of 12

There is an old saying,"you don't ask, you don't get."

 

Talk to the guy----this is business---

post #6 of 12

Salary discussions, in any professional endeavor, is a scary thing. If the promise was made then you need to address it with management in a forthright and professional manner. Waiting for them to bring it up will just frustrate you , and discussing the issue casualty could be misconstrued as lack of professionalism. Let management know that you want to talk and what you want to talk about. This will give them the opportunity to plan either an instant reply or some other response. (Remember, the response you want is "sure, your new salary is $$" rather than "Oh, Let me think it over, I'll have to figure out what we can do for you." Rehearse a very short but factual "script" for launching the conversation. If management doesn't comply, ask for some measurable criteria for "things working out". If your management is professional they should appreciate the interest you show in professional growth within their organization. If, perchance they respond something like "so sorry, but that promise wasn't really a promise but just idle chatter".. don't threaten to leave... quietly plan for your next job and just do it... quickly. 

post #7 of 12


The best time to ask for a raise is before you are hired......

 

"When things run smoother" is vague and very subjective.  That's what you tell someone who doesn't negotiate salary increases or bonuses before they are hired.

 

"When the business grosses X$, I'll give you a __ raise" is crystal clear  "When you achieve a Y food cost or Y labour cost, I'll give a z increase or bonus" is likewise crystal clear.

 

 

Odds are you won't get a salary increase, but you should ask any way.  But before you do, get prepared:
 

-Polish up that resume and get it out.

-Prove, on paper, that your food costs and labour costs are steady, a.k.a. "Smooth".

-How much of an increase do you want? If you want 10%, ask for 20%, don't let the employer decide the amount.

 

Smile, proove on paper that your worth it, never threaten, but always have an escape plan prepared.

 

Hope this helps

...."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
Thread Starter 

UPDATE

 

I ended up having the conversation this morning after a successful catering (father's day breakfast! Happy fathers day).

Here's how it went:

I printed out my year-to-date report including food cost, labor, p&l, etc. I asked the owner if we could talk about my progress in the company.

We sat down, went over the report, and I brought up the prior agreement in regards to the $50/wk salary increase. I said, "As we'd discussed previously I have the opportunity to be making the $600/week. I think things are going well and I have met the goals I set out to achieve. When can I see that reflected in my pay?"

She said, "It's going well. Food cost is looking good and sales are about what we'd expect. Costs are down from the previous years and that's good in the eyes of the upper management. Why don't you keep working on food cost and we'll talk when you get it below x percent."

 

I agreed (foolishly?) as I am only 3-4 percent away from the goal she gave me. However, I am started to feel that "being led down the garden path and left there" feeling. 

At least I have a clearer set number to work with that is realistic and doable. I work with her directly all next week and I'll make sure that's the only criteria I need to meet so that I don't get any more surprises. 
 

In other news, a local restaurant that I frequently visit (that's 15 minutes closer to my house) is hiring a dining room manager starting at $18/hr with guaranteed 40hrs / week... Time to get the suit cleaned and the resume updated.

post #9 of 12

Chris,

I'm a little confused. Upon agreeing to take on my own store, the business owner and I

                                 I asked the owner if we could talk about my progress in the company.

                                  that's good in the eyes of the upper management.

                                 I she the owner or manager?

 

Either way, I think I'd reg up the old Honda.

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 #10 of 12

Congratulations on having the conversation.  Sounds productive but a rather unsatisfying result.

 

Suggestion (if you intend to stay): document the conversation. Briefly state the prior "agreement" and the numbers you presented. Write the clarified agreement using the exact words used by the boss. State that you will let the boss know the second you achieve that goal so your new salary can be changed.

 

This will, hopefully, help you avoid what sometimes comes next -- well, lets see how stable those numbers stay and then we'll talk about the salary increase.

 

It sounds like you have a commitment on a criterion value to achieve but no requirement to maintain it for any period of time before it is considered valid... so don't give them any opportunity change the deal. If management was sincere they will thank you for documenting the deal.  If they weren't serious, they will balk immediately upon seeing your expectations in writing.

post #11 of 12

Congratulations on what sounds like a very professional discussion. Good for you for going through it and standing up for yourself. 

 

  From what you posted, I started thinking about how I would have responded as the owner/manager. 

     We're talking about a $50 week raise?  I would have given it to you. It's a $1.25 hr and you are on salary so it just ups the hourly comp you obviously deserve, especially when you already know the other managers are making at least that much. The numbers are being met. The owner didn't offer any criticism of your performance. No mention was made that the company is losing money or that you have reached the highest pay level for your position. On the contrary, you know you're on the low end.

     The goal of lower food cost comes across to me as a put off.  To be able to keep an obviously productive employee who met the original goals at $50 week more is a good deal. 

"We'll talk when you get it below X percent". Talk?  Not a "You'll get the raise when food cost is below X percent."

Start looking around, find a new job, make sure you give your two weeks notice. Remain professional from here on out but I'll suggest it's time to move on. If they lose you over $50, it's their loss. 

And at such a young age, it sounds like you are off to a great start in your career.  You will have many more opportunities. 

post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by panini View Post
 

Chris,

I'm a little confused. Upon agreeing to take on my own store, the business owner and I

                                 I asked the owner if we could talk about my progress in the company.

                                  that's good in the eyes of the upper management.

                                 I she the owner or manager?

 

Either way, I think I'd reg up the old Honda.

@panini She is the acting owner of the company. My location is a subsidy for a large chain of corporate centers (our company also has retail / standalone locations) so I also have to answer to the subsidy management. 

Their previous company was charging them somewhere between 100-%125% more than what we bill them under my management, so obviously a huge improvement. Pretty sure the last company was padding their books or just throwing food out the window. Also had a reputation for bad food / bad cleanliness which I have managed to beat so far. Got the company's management and old vets coming down for lunch everyday :) 
 

@chefwriter I don't think there's any harm in looking. Thank you all for your advice and opinions. Glad to hear that I am erring on the more humble side rather than unjustly letting my ego ask about my paycheck. Having worked my way from the bottom and trying to be an "up and comer" in the company it's frustrating to be in a position where I have to ask for equal pay.

 

Rev up the old Honda? No further encouragement needed :thumb:


Edited by Tingsoon - 6/19/15 at 1:30pm
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