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Restaurant kitchen pay


BigboyDan
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Last week I went through the back-of-the-house payroll, and thought I'd post what everyone's making. :smile:

Full brigade hotel kitchen (Mobil 4-star) in a large Texas city (per annum, daily personnel, minimum 40 hours scheduled weekly):

Executive Chef - $110,000 + quarterly bonus

Chef de Cuisine - $60,000

Executive Sous - $50,000

Senior Sous - $45,000

Sous (2) - $40,000

Junior Sous (2) $30,000

Chef Saucier - $35,000

Garde Manger - $30,000

Chef de Partie (6) - $26,000

Demi Chef de Partie (6) - $17,000

Commis (23) - $10-12 per hour

Pastry Chef - $48,000

Head Baker - $40,000

Baker (4) $18,000

Dishwasher (8) - $10.00 per hour

Buffet Chef - $28,000

Chef de Rang - $27,000

Restaurant GM - $70,000

Certified Sommelier - $45,000

Sommelier (2) - $25,000

Kitchen office staff (3) $24,000

Looks like a lot of people, but it's not: breakfast, lunch, dinner services, tea service, bar food service, 24-hour room service, pool bar, snack bar, etc...

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Is that a union pay scale? I would be curious to know what difference if any there might be. Are there any benefits in addition to the pay?

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Non-union (Texas), but kitchen employees get all the normal benefits that you'd expect from a large hotel. Pay scale reflects the fact that there are hundreds of employment applications received per year for work... so...

Three shifts, 7am-4pm, 4pm-11pm, and 11pm-7am. The kitchen is really run, of course, by the Executive Sous and the Senior Sous and the two Sous (one each day shift).

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The Executive Sous is an Executive Chef or a Chef de Cuisine in the making. If anything, that dude's underpaid given his duties. His job is considered management and he runs the entire kitchen, pastry/baking area included, during his shift. When you want something done, you go to him.

The Pastry Chef has a lot of autonomy, and she pretty much gets whatever she wants, when she wants it. She has a say in who works in her department, but she doesn't have management duties (she doesn't want them). And, a $24 per hour rate ain't too bad.

Edited by BigboyDan (log)
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Thank you for posting this.

Here in NYC, at the 3-star restaurant I just left, the dishwashers make minimum wage and the line cooks make about $10/hour, give or take .50 cents. We had a trail a couple of weeks ago, the guy was offered a line position- at $8/hour. He said no.

If you think it's tough to make a living on those wages in Texas, imagine trying it in New York. I honestly don't know how most people survive, though I for one was eating at least 2 meals a day at work. I was working about 60 hours per week, so overtime does come into it. We also had bennies, including dining vouchers redeemable at any of the restaurants in the group, which is kind of cool.

One guy who just went from line cook to Sous said his paychecks are the same now as when he worked a 50+ hour week as a line cook. He also works much longer hours now. So it seems to me that the sous chefs are actually the hardest-working and most underpaid, given their hours and responsibilities. I would not want to be a sous in that kitchen.

The union kitchens here pay about $20- $22/hour for line cooks. But many of us who are serious about the industry, and our roles in it, will work crazy hours for a lot less money. Not to mention putting up with the constant beratings and other unpleasantries that come with the territory.

Did I mention that this restaurant group is considered one of the best 100 companies to work for in America?

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NY in any business is tough and yeah 8-14/hr is what I was looking at before my wife landed a job in the South and I follwed her. But Ny is crazy and I don't know how anyone affors to live and work - buddy of mine - sorry big man - a CIA grad is Exec Sous at Morimotos and he was is one of the sole guys left after the open and he started making 10/hr and now Exec Sous and sad to say I have not heard form him in a while but he was pulling 70-80hr weeks while that place got off the ground - he could be in the gutter now - but hey why do any of us do what we do - insanity or passion

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The low rate of pay in NYC and San Francisco (as I can say from experience), is largely due in part to the simple principal of 'supply and demand'. In San Francisco, the CCA pumps out so many students per semester, that there is an overflow of cooks in that city. This is one reason why the rate of pay is so low. Working shift pay in SF had me working for a mobil 5 star kitchen making less than minimum wage.

Thank you for posting this.

Here in NYC, at the 3-star restaurant I just left, the dishwashers make minimum wage and the line cooks make about $10/hour, give or take .50 cents. We had a trail a couple of weeks ago, the guy was offered a line position- at $8/hour. He said no.

If you think it's tough to make a living on those wages in Texas, imagine trying it in New York. I honestly don't know how most people survive, though I for one was eating at least 2 meals a day at work. I was working about 60 hours per week, so overtime does come into it. We also had bennies, including dining vouchers redeemable at any of the restaurants in the group, which is kind of cool.

One guy who just went from line cook to Sous said his paychecks are the same now as when he worked a 50+ hour week as a line cook. He also works much longer hours now. So it seems to me that the sous chefs are actually the hardest-working and most underpaid, given their hours and responsibilities. I would not want to be a sous in that kitchen.

The union kitchens here pay about $20- $22/hour for line cooks. But many of us who are serious about the industry, and our roles in it, will work crazy hours for a lot less money. Not to mention putting up with the constant beratings and other unpleasantries that come with the territory.

Did I mention that this restaurant group is considered one of the best 100 companies to work for in America?

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I don't want to give numbers but I will say, that if it was a fine dining signature restaurant, the national restaurant assosiation was able to pass a law a few years back where you didn't have to pay overtime for "chef" positions in very upscale restaurants. Now the term "Chef" could be any Chef de Partie, it wasn't by managing people but by giving creative input. This means you could work 70 hours a week on $23k a year and be nothing more than a lead line cook.

I know for fact alot of places that use that formula. Now this is a 2 sided beast.

On one side you need moer personal to run a fine dining restaurants and alot more costs. If peope are willing to work for those wages then everyone wins.

My concern is what happens in a few more years when Young culinarians decide that they are not gona deal with low pay and long hours just to say you worked with said chef. This is a very possible trend given tht younger people are wanting more for less. Will fine dining restaurants mo ve to simpler foods to deal with less employees or will wages increase. ( I have heard from a few chefs with concern of having hard time finding and keeping good employees)

Edited by RyuShihan (log)
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And this is why more kitchens are staffed with (often illegal) immigrants. The common practice here is to obviously pay cash if they have no social, but if they do have on(a bogus one at that) the pay is payroll up to 40 and hourly rate cash after.

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My concern is what happens in a few more years when Young culinarians decide that they are not gona deal with low pay and long hours just to say you worked with said chef.  This is a very possible trend given tht younger people are wanting more for less.  Will fine dining restaurants mo ve to simpler foods to deal with less employees or will wages increase.  ( I have heard from a few chefs with concern of having  hard time finding and keeping good employees)

I suspect that in many cases they will just train immigrants who are willing to work for less.

Will the food quality suffer? Most likely. The recent turnover in my former workplace led to a kitchen full of inexperienced cooks. This directly impacted the food quality. For example, every cook is expected to chiffonade herbs very finely to garnish the dishes from his/ her station. In times past, if Chef thought the cut herbs weren't up to par, he'd throw them out, saying, "What is this? I can't use this shit. Do it again." But now he's just happy to get any herbs at all in time for service.

This kind of thing stretches the sous chefs even further, because they often end up doing the herbs or whatever little prep work the newer cooks don't get around to or don't do properly. So I guess it gets done one way or another, but it's not ideal.

Now, do finely chiffonaded garnishes actually affect the flavor/ quality of the food itself? That is a topic for another thread. It was just an example of how an inexperienced kitchen turns out inferior product.

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The low rate of pay in NYC and San Francisco (as I can say from experience), is largely due in part to the simple principal of 'supply and demand'. In San Francisco, the CCA pumps out so many students per semester, that there is an overflow of cooks in that city. This is one reason why the rate of pay is so low. Working shift pay in SF had me working for a mobil 5 star kitchen making less than minimum wage.

Yeah. Sometimes I think the entire kitchen is going to be staffed by externs one day soon. There's a way to cut costs!

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