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ChristysConfections

Chocolatier's Hourly Wage

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I have an opportunity to work as the head chocolatier for a local chocolate business. I will be going in to discuss with the owner tomorrow. I am notorious for undervaluing myself and my skills, but I want to change that. I have worked in the industry for 10 years and worked in one of the larger artisan local chocolate companies for 5 years. Does anyone know what the going hourly rate it for this type of position? I would be developing new recipes and running all production operations myself. It's only a part time gig (at the moment, as they have very small production). I will continue with my own business on the side for now - the owner knows this and is completely comfortable with it. I would possibly even be able to be the successor to this business once the owner retires. 

 

Also, anyone have input on working as an employee while developing recipes for another business? I feel so protective of my recipes that I will be sad to see some become the property of another business. I guess it is just all part of the nature of this line of work. I could be a sub-contractor and just provide this company with product, but they would prefer that I work and consult with them in-house and utilize their facilities.  

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Posted (edited)

Location?  Looks like you are near Vancouver BC?  Have they made you any offers?   Hourly pastry cooks in restaurants here (Seattle) might get up to $18/hr MAX with solid experience, but chocolate is a more specialized skill and you're doing product development so maybe $20-25.  What do various pastry jobs pay where you are?

 

Restaurants in BC always seem a little more expensive than comparable places here, so hopefully they are paying staff better.  And I suppose health insurance isn't a bargaining chip in Canada - here our salaries might be lower if the company is paying an extra several $K for benefits.

 

If you don't want to give them your recipes then sub-contracting seems better.  More efficient for your production if you're just making extra of your own products to sell to them.  But if they are already established with some of their own recipes, that could be tricky.

 


Edited by pastrygirl MAX (log)

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Thanks, @pastrygirl!

 

The shop is in Vancouver, BC - pretty much right downtown. I will look up pastry jobs in my area. Assistant chocolatier is $15-ish, so definitely more for the head position. I was honestly thinking $20-$25 ish. 

 

Extended medical benefits would be nice, but my family is covered by my hubby's plan for now. 

 

They would want a product made with different ingredients than I would use for my personal brand, so either way I would be making two different products. Unless I can convinced them otherwise. I think they want to scrap their current recipes and start fresh. I shouldn't be so precious about sharing recipes - I just want to be sure that I always have the freedom to make whatever I want for my own brand without conflict.

 

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4 hours ago, ChristysConfections said:

I just want to be sure that I always have the freedom to make whatever I want for my own brand without conflict.

 


You've already negotiated the idea that you'll still be working as a competitor with your own business while working for them and they're onboard with that. If you've managed to get that as a stipulation, doesn't seem like much of a stretch to explain to them that while you will be using your recipes for your own business as well as theirs, you use different ingredients for your personal brand and would likely, at least at this stage, be targeting a different market. That's with the assumption that you're currently working as a home business and not a directly competing local shop.

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Posted (edited)

Thank-you, @Tri2Cook!

 

You're right - it's not much of a stretch at all to explain how our chocolates are different and possibly targeting a different market. I just suck at business talk, haha. But it is something I am happy to learn. I am just moving from a home business to a commercial space (only production, no retail space of my own) but I'm basically starting fresh. I worked for other chocolatiers before and my own business was more of a hobby than anything else. I am trying to get my product out there in retail shops now (not the greatest to split the tiny profit margin with others, but at least it is exposure). 

 

Honestly, I love the owner of the shop that wants to hire me. They are a lovely place and because I would possibly even take it over when the owner retires, I would LOVE to just pour my heart and soul into their chocolates entirely. However, at this point, our visions for the product are a little different. Not bad different, but just different. So unless we could harmonize those visions, I still feel compelled to carve my own path as well.


Edited by ChristysConfections (log)
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10 hours ago, ChristysConfections said:

hey would want a product made with different ingredients than I would use for my personal brand,

 

Is that a nice way of saying they use crap chocolate? :laugh:  If they're not using premium ingredients, they might not want to pay for premium labor, but who knows.  If you do take the job, we will enjoy hearing about the experience. 

 

Even though I've long been frustrated by how low the pay is for pastry work (don't specialists cost extra in every other industry?) i have much more sympathy now that I have my own business.  It's profitable, but I'm still a long way from being able afford employees who want actual monetary pay instead of just chocolate! 

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10 hours ago, pastrygirl said:

 

Is that a nice way of saying they use crap chocolate? :laugh:  If they're not using premium ingredients, they might not want to pay for premium labor, but who knows. 

 

Bahahaha! That is what it sounds like. The chocolate they want to use is not bad. I personally want to try using local bean-to-bar chocolate which increases my costs significantly. They are actually open to it though, but more likely as a separate line from their regular product. I'm not sure what I think about having two separate lines of chocolates under the same roof. We'll chat about it more. I think my goal would be to merge our brands down the road if I plan to take over the business when they retire. 

 

Maybe it's not polite to talk about it, but it is the topic of this forum so I guess I'll be transparent - we decided on $20/hr for the slow summer months with the expectation of a raise as the sales increase and the busier season comes. I think it's reasonable.

 

The low pay for pastry work sounds frustrating. But you're right, it's easy to see how the cost add up. I think collectively pastry chefs, chocolatiers, artisans need to charge more for their products to actually have reasonable profit margins. It just doesn't really help put you at an competitive advantage. We kinda need everyone to be on board and do it.

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