How much should I pay?

Joined May 12, 2011
I am about to start two more restaurants (gourmet pizza joint & a gourmet sports grill & bar) and I wanted to get some thoughts from you guys.

I want to completely get rid of my BOH manager in the new stores and just use a Chef and hire two Sous Chefs along with a few line cooks. I feel like some of the tasks are redundant and a good Chef would like to do it all. We would still have a General Manager & FOH Manager in each store.

All of our restaurants are casual family dining, but I need more "foodie" thinkers in the kitchen because we also incorporate lots of unique flavors. We like to make "gourmet" food approachable and affordable to everyone.

So, the big question is: How much $ should I start a Chef who does all BOH manager duties? Salary? Hourly? How much $ should I start Sous Chefs? I assume they would be hourly.

We do voluntary quarterly & mandatory 6 month performance reviews for raises.

(I know some of this takes into account cost of living and competing restaurants, so I will say that we have a very low cost of living and hardly any competition).

Thanks for the advice.

Joined Sep 18, 2008
...So, the big question is: How much $ should I start a Chef who does all BOH manager duties? Salary? Hourly? How much $ should I start Sous Chefs? I assume they would be hourly...
For me, a "chef" IS the manager, definitely BOH, but often FOH as well!

Hire a competent chef and pay him/her at least what you are paying the current BOH manager, if not a premium, and let him/her run the kitchen, including the staffing, inventory, menu, everything involved in getting food from the back door to the FOH and, IMHO, add on the pay for the FOH manager and let him/her handle both.

Remember, "chef" is French for Chief, and a chief only reports to the owner, not some other "manager".

And remember, your success depends on satisfying the customer, and the FOH and BOH must work together to do that!
Joined Apr 3, 2010
RAY  !

      Hire a chef manager, let him know the buck ends with him. You don't need a back of house manager, or food and bev manager. Put your managers on a % and they will make $ for you, Why  because you have given them the incentive to do so. Put yourself in their shoes, wouldn't  you try harder.? I would

PS you can't be in all the places at once remember that. So you need good trustworthy people who care like you do.
Joined Apr 3, 2010
Can't tell you what to pay as I do not know the market in Arkansas, but I can tell you that in this economic enviorment that we are in that it is an employers ball game.. Start lower but remember that % factor. You will have to find out what the local job market is and salary averages. Base your pay scales on prevailing rates in your area. and Good LUCK
Joined Feb 8, 2009
The Chef is your partner in the success of the food operation, The FOH Manager is the success of the Customer service and basic management of the whole operation. Both of these people need to be paid well, they are your eyes, ears and carry out your vision. These people also need to be trustworthy and be very professional and manage the Restaurant to your guidelines in your absent. I would say 60K for the Chef, I would just have leads and front line cooks, the Chef is the head guy in this kitchen and there isn't a close second...ChefBillyB
Joined May 29, 2011
From the better run places I have worked at and have had friends that worked at, a Chef should be the overall manager[general manager if you will]. They know and set the standards for the food and how it is to be presented. A good one should know it all. As the owner you set the vision and the chef makes it happen. I would say pay them a salary at the lowest scale for the area and then a% of the profitability. BUT, once you set this do not fuck with it. There is nothing that will kill moral like messing with peoples money. If his/her salary is 35k and you have to pay them another 60k because they are that good, count your blessings and pay them. Do not get high and mighty and think that it is to much. It is their hard work and systems that are driving the boat at that point, don't rock it. As far as the rest goes, I would make sure to have someone in charge of prep and inventory and making sure things get done in those departments, and one that makes sure that food in going out correctly, as the chef will most likely be in the FoH most of the time during peak service hours. Chefs understand food costs and control standards like no other, and people love to see a chef in the dining room and he can defuse any situation better than anyone else and has the authority and respect to back it up in the kitchen. You can have a lead server, host, and bartender. They would be hourly and report directly to the chef like the sous' would. This is my fantasy setup though. If you can't find a chef that can handle this and has enough interpersonal skills you will need to go with the general manager, FOH, Chef, and maybe a BoH manager too. This will cost you more in the long run, BUT it is much more common because good chefs are very hard to come by.
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