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shelora

labour shortage in the hospitality biz

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Service staff are purely providing a service, and not really producing anything at all. The connection isn't there.

You're the art and we're the dealers. :wink:

These kinds of statements although witty to some take this discussion no where.

This topic is somewhat off track. What about solutions? Perhaps restaurants that take a 1-2 points for the house should reconsider and divert to the kitchen brigade. That would easily inflate wages by an additional 1-2$ perhour.

Sounds like a great idea, but I'm not sure what it means. Please explain. I'm a newbie cook and would like to know more about the financial side of the biz. It sounds like some restaurants take a % of the tips and you are suggesting they should pass this on to the kitchen staff instead. Is that right? What is the breakdown say of a place like West or Lumiere?

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Give or take, this is how it works in places I've worked over the years.

Let's say my net sales are $1000 and I make $200 in tips.

1.5% of my net sales goes to my busser. This amount is taken from my tips.

.75% of my net sales goes to the bartender. This amount is taken from my tips.

3.25% of my net sales goes to the house. This amount is also taken from my tips.

The 3.25% to the house gets divvied among hostesses, management, and the kitchen staff. This is the number that should be increased to even the playing field and up the money that goes to the kitchen.

As to why management gets a cut has always been beyond me...


Edited by Andrew Morrison (log)

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Give or take, this is how it works in places I've worked over the years.

Let's say my net sales are $1000 and I make $200 in tips.

1.5% of my net sales goes to my busser. This amount is taken from my tips.

.75% of my net sales goes to the bartender. This amount is taken from my tips.

3.25% of my net sales goes to the house. This amount is also taken from my tips.

The 3.25% to the house gets divvied among hostesses, management, and the kitchen staff. This is the number that should be increased to even the playing field and up the money that goes to the kitchen. 

As to why management gets a cut has always been beyond me...

Ok, I'll play.

Just to keep it all in perspective. How many hours would you have to work to earn that. Sometimes four, sometimes six and occasionally eight.

Let's pick six.

You are left with $145.00 in grat ( primarily tax free I might add, but that is another story )

six hours @ $8.00 is $48.00

$193.00 for a six hour shift is................................

wait for it

$32.16 per hour

Overhead for that is, well, next to nothing. ( a couple of hijacked pens from the house, a wine crank "borrowed" from someone else, old menu paper torn up to become waiter pads, a few drops of olive oil from the kitchen to shine your shoes etc., man, you do not even have to pay for coffee and quite often food in this job, I could go on, but, well I think you get the point. )

Boo Hoo

Now, what if you had to buck up an extra point to the house.

That leaves you with just over $30.00 per hour.

I would think that this would be the end of this discussion but I fear I have just opened a giant can of worms. Let the games begin.

With these kinds of numbers being knocked around, there should be no labour shortage in the front of house, ever. ( in your higher end eateries at least )


Edited by nwyles (log)

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Not at all, Neil. I'd be happy to buck up. It's an absurdly unfair set up. If the tip out was even as high as 6%, I wouldn't do anything but applaud, just as long as I knew the money was being steered to the kitchen rather than management (paying management should be the cost of doing business, no?).


Edited by Andrew Morrison (log)

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Not at all, Neil. I'd be happy to buck up. It's an absurdly unfair set up. If the tip out was even as high as 6%, I wouldn't do anything but applaud, just as long as I knew the money was being steered to the kitchen rather than management (paying management should be the cost of doing business, no?).

As I am my own manager as well as the owner, the house tip goes to the boys ( and girls in the kitchen )

In a 1 million dollar establishment, 5 % tip is $50,000. You can see how an owner might use a part of that to pump up the managers wage. Let's remember, the manager is usually one of the waiters who got moved up.

Anyhoo, pick one of the 5 million dollar chain restaurants................

that 5% is $250,000.00

all of a sudden, that is a lot of money !

In my place, a general rule of thumb is that the tip is about another $2.00 per hour to the kitchen.

It is barely a step in the approx $20.00 per hour wage gap between the front and back of house.

And I will add that I do realize that my actions perpetuate this system, not fix it, even though I realize the inequity.


Edited by nwyles (log)

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Proposing that the gap be shortened, however, is a step forward. Waiters are a dime a dozen in this town, while cooks, clearly, are not. Why not start making the job more attractive now before the shortage is really felt (in 2010).

Anyone object to the suggestion of doubling or tripling the tip out to the kitchen?

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Give or take, this is how it works in places I've worked over the years.

Let's say my net sales are $1000 and I make $200 in tips.

1.5% of my net sales goes to my busser. This amount is taken from my tips.

.75% of my net sales goes to the bartender. This amount is taken from my tips.

3.25% of my net sales goes to the house. This amount is also taken from my tips.

The 3.25% to the house gets divvied among hostesses, management, and the kitchen staff. This is the number that should be increased to even the playing field and up the money that goes to the kitchen. 

As to why management gets a cut has always been beyond me...

Thank you for the explanation. Appreciate it. When I was at work no one wanted to have this discussion. A busser is possibly making more money than a cook. The giant can of worms needs to be opened in order for changes to occur. Thanks Neil. No overhead, but dealing face to face with the public deserves some rewards.

I'm feeling less bad about some of those staff meals I made for the servers. :wink:

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You're welcome. Keep in mind that the breakdown above isn't universally representative. Still, the numbers Neil came up with don't lie. It's not uncommon to work a 4 hour shift and walk with $150 plus wages. In many high end restaurants, this is post tip-out. If that number was to drop to $100, I don't think we'd see an exodus of service staff from the industry.

When a line cook makes less than a busser, something is definitely out of whack. :blink:

Of course, we're not dealing with eurekas here by any stretch. We've known this weird gap has existed for a long time. The real question is how one can go about lobbying for such significant changes?


Edited by Andrew Morrison (log)

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Anyone object to the suggestion of doubling or tripling the tip out to the kitchen?

And the board goes silent.

You answered my next question...so there's no labour shortage FOH in Vancouver. So, what's stopping the change? I believe there was a forum held a few months ago by the BC Chef Assoc that's sole purpose was to discuss the need for cooks for the 2010 Olympics, but I couldn't make it. Did anyone go? Was money discussed? Probably not. I was invited to it through my school, NWCAV. I'm going to find out what was discussed and if there were any resolutions.

There would have to be a cap on the tips, but that wouldn't be difficult either.

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wow 6% Andrew, your waiterblog legion will revolt at such heresy. Su It is up to management/ownership to review the whole structure of tips, Keller did it, lost a few waitrons but i guess that was the price to pay for a system based on experience, position & other such reasonable criteria. I can't tell you how many service staff i have worked with that do not contribute to MSP,let alone taxes(the figure could very well be the same for BOH, but they dont make $32 an hour). So really employers should take the responsibility of paying all their staff a livable wage & ensure that the government receives it's dues(of course this notion is fantastical- but beautiful no???). I think the issue will be moot in a few years anyway as Canada allows Mexican immigration to develop & they replace the kitchen crews & are comfortable with the pittance they shall surely receive.(Checkout NY-many line cooks are hispanic, & very good too!)

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Changes to immigration policy aside, the wage gap is unfair and nonsensical, especially when there's a deficit of cooks and a surplus of waitstaff. Waiters might get pissed at me for saying that, but I think most would agree with me when I say they've got a swell set up. I don't think the bottom line for restaurateurs allows them to pay a living wage at all. Gratuities make excellence in the restaurant business viable. The only solution, in my opinion, is a more equitable divvying of the spoils.


Edited by Andrew Morrison (log)

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Oooh, a tip cap. Never thought of that. :huh: That would surely shake things up.

Say, if the server makes more than a $100 on a shift after tip-out, the difference is split with the kitchen staff (after a tip out increase to 5%).

I'm awaiting the death threats...

:laugh:


Edited by Andrew Morrison (log)

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We have gone round and round on this before.

Sean, Keller did do it, but he has a certain clout that I do not have.

I would be interested to see someone put a 17 % service charge on a bill, for everyone. Using that money to bridge the pay gap would certainly ease the shortage we are going to experience.

This is an imperfect system which we have but it will take a huge amount of work to change it.

I was thinking about taxes this a.m.

You have $100 in your pocket.

You paid tax on it. ( Let's say 25 % ) tax, cpp, ui etc. ( $25.00 )

Your employers pay 13 % in taxes on top of that. ( $13.00 )

You walk into your local restaurant and order a bottle of wine - $40.00 ( the government saw multiple levels of tax on this purchase, effectively tax on tax many times over ) and two dinners $18.00 each.

You tip 20 % of the net. ( $15.32 )

Taxes ( $9.32 )

By the time you have done dinner, the goverment has seen nearly $50.00 in taxes from your $100 and the hits just keep rolling with the waiter's taxes on the tip you just left them, and the restaurants taxes on the few cents that are left over.

This sort of taxation on taxation is part of the problem that we have existing in labour shortages and the drifting away from back of house jobs. The cash gratuity are a little bit of "tax free" money, that makes the whole scenario work out.

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Perhaps Len from "C" and "Nu" could chime in with what was discussed at the BCFRA meetings.

He is on the Board of Directors.

They should have a plan as to what might happen.

There is a natural progression through the restaurant business that will take place - moving up the ladder as it were, but you do see lots of old waiters, you do not see many old cooks. They ( we ) either become chefs or move into the front of house or move out of the business. I have done all three at some point but, here I am now.

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Well the topic is definately straying and this is a can of worms.

For the owners of restaurants and managers at hotels you should be aware and concerned for the future. I am currently going through and audit with CCRA and it is pretty much their intention to begin looking for source deductions on grats if they determine that the management is controlling tips. By that, if the house holds back grats then it is deemed that the grats are controlled by the house and then liable for the source deductions and unfortunatly for all you waiters out there the day is coming that you will have to pay taxes and live a legitmate life like the rest of us. I am going to appeal any ruling as the compliance audit covers 3 years but I also have to be prepared to either relinquish the house tip or, once again, have increases to my wage costs.

Back to the labour issue. Track down this past Thursday's Globe and Mail as it has a great article on the Alberta labour crisis which is triggering inflation. Ultimately, the market will dictate and inflationary pressures will burst the bubble and bring us all back down to reality. (which I hope as I sit on the sidelines waiting to by a house for a somewhat decent price).

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Not at all, Neil. I'd be happy to buck up. It's an absurdly unfair set up. If the tip out was even as high as 6%, I wouldn't do anything but applaud, just as long as I knew the money was being steered to the kitchen rather than management (paying management should be the cost of doing business, no?).

While understanding the point made that management salary is a cost of doing business, in order to pay a manager "fairly" for the amount of hours that they work would put a restaurant under faster than you can say your own name.

Although I don't make grats in my management job, here is why managers make a cut of the huge pile of money at the end of the night.

Who runs a good portion of your food? Me.

Who clears and/or sets your tables when you are trying to look busy? Me. (I have met more waiters than I can count that won't lift a finger unless it is taking a plate or drink to a guest, feeling that everyone else but them should venture into the dreaded dish pit)

Who (ideally) keeps the door staff under supervision, trying to ensure that they don't triple seat you? Me.

Who ensures that your counterparts do their side duties so that you don't have to doily 200 plates, polish 100 glasses and countless cutlery at the end of the night? Me.

Who deals with your angry guest when you have forgotten to call pick up/rang in the wrong order/spilled wine on their lap/been perceived as rude to them? Me.

Why do managers get a cut? Because they too, are part of the team. Managers do not get treated as people in this business, unfortunately from both sides.

To say "pay managers more with no cut of grats" is exactly like guests saying "pay servers more, so it costs me less in gratuities"

It would be another separate thread to discuss the management jobs in the industry in terms of fair pay, hours, duties and theories as to how many managers to have on the payroll etc. but one that may be interesting.

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It would be another separate thread to discuss the management jobs in the industry in terms of fair pay, hours, duties and theories as to how many managers to have on the payroll etc.  but one that may be interesting.

[host]

Yes it would be another thread, and one for the General forum as well, not here. Let's keep things focussed on regional discussion ... i.e. local laws & regulations, not management philosophies that can be applied anywhere.

A.

[/host]

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Labour Shortage Vs Cost of doing business

In BC minimum wage is one of the highest (Canada) and it is one of the biggest factors to why the cooks wage has not seen much of an increase since 1989- the average then was ten- the average now is ten- Not much growth in like 15 years. Waiters wage has increased in that time period in relation to cooks wage. How could owners increase cooks wage if waiter’s wages increased 5-10 % during that time period- something had to give?

The cost of doing business has gone up and the cost of doing business is very much tied to this topic. How can you talk about wage without discussing the cost of doing business?

When industry people start talking we get of topic and always get railroaded into many more splintered topics usually getting derailed and the discussion fizzes out.

We have some things to discuss here and all have to do with wage and the cost of doing business- sometimes sidebars arises but that is just industry habit; we are all about side bars.

As for tips and divvying out that is definitely another issue.

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Perhaps Len from "C" and "Nu" could chime in with what was discussed at the BCFRA meetings.

He is on the Board of Directors.

They should have a plan as to what might happen.

My mistake. It wasn't the BC Chefs Assoc. It was according to the e-mail I rec'd CHTRC (anyone know what this stands for, maybe a hospitality, tourism, and recreation assoc???) and was held at GPC Public Affairs, #615 - 700 West Pender Street in January. The facilitators were Gail Haarsma and Verónika Sanchez. Don't know who they are either. Supposedly, the only chef who attended from BC was a David Larsen from Painter's Lodge. There were also 4 other industry people from the Yukon and Saskatchewan. It was called, "A Cook's Focus". I also heard someone from Aurora Bistro was going to attend. Any info Chef Jeff? Perhaps this was such a small, disorganized forum that it wasn't important enough for the B.C. Chefs Assoc. to get involved.

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From Monday's Globe and Mail

This story says

Vancouver's food fight

With dozens of restaurants opening recently, competition for staff has turned cutthroat - and accusations of poaching are flying in the once tight-knit community. The gloves are off

Another e-gullet link

This is just the beginning of the labour shortage; it will get worse before it gets better, one result will be the increase in menu prices to pay more money for cooks. I have said in the past that the end is near in the cheap city. Bye Bye cheap Vancouver food. Calgary and Edmonton are in crises and Vancouver is next.

steve

jerichocafe@hotmail.com

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Good. It's about time cooks get a wage worth working for.

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I'm for one glad to see cooks holding out for better wages. The entire point of working is to make money. Talk about passion all you want, it doesn't matter when you can't pay your bills. Might as well get as much money as you can in your industry.

If a restaurant is losing lots of employees, it means they aren't paying enough. That's the bottom line. If the industry as a whole is losing employees, it means they aren't paying enough.

Without cooks, you don't have a restaurant. Might as well go to a bar. Yet cooks are the lowest paid staff. I worked at one restaurant where all of us cooks got treated badly and paid shit, and the owner expected us to be grateful because the restaurant had a good name. Now that same restaurant doesn't have any kitchen staff at all (not even a head chef), and I for one won't shed a tear.

Two years ago I was cooking for 11 dollars an hour. Now if anyone offered me less than 18 I'd tell them to go @#$% themselves... The way the housing situation has gone in Calgary, $15/hour is the new minimum wage.

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You all live in a dream
:cool:

This is such a momentary thing- it affects us all and you all just ignore the reality

steve

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