Making less than servers

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by fantality, May 10, 2015.

  1. fantality

    fantality

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    What do you guys think about majority of chefs making less than servers?

    I remember someone posting about chefs not being paid well enough for a skilled labor. I think that's putting it nicely. Chefs are ridiculously underpaid.

    At any restaurants that are semi busy, servers will make more than most chefs do unless you're like an executive or sous chef. But at that point, you're management level so it doesn't really count.

    My restaurant owner once said "if you want to make money, this is not the right career."

    So for what kind of people is this a correct career? People that wants to work their butts off and make barely enough to survive?

    Passion for cooking is good and all but this is unfairly compensated hard work. If you can reverse time and go back to childhood, would you become a chef again?
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2015
  2. dc1346

    dc1346

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    I left the food service industry after my general manager abused the terms of my contact. Although the contract said that I would work a minimum of 50 hours a week, there was no stated maximum. I wound up working 84 hours a week ... often with no days off and certainly without overtime since I was on salary.

    I quit my job in 2007 and went into a related field - Culinary Arts. I initially worked in Arizona but the state economy was so bad that I lost 3 jobs over a 6 year period due to budget cuts. I now work for the Clark County School District in Nevada. I earn $60,000 a year, have weekends, evenings, and holidays off including 4 days for Thanksgiving, 2 weeks for Christmas, and 1 week for Spring Break. I also get a summer vacation.
     
  3. alaminute

    alaminute

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    Good for you DC!
    I can't answer for everybody, but I know that for me it's something deeper and intangible that I can't really justify. I want to be the hardest worker, I want to be a craftsman, I respect and almost worship food. I'm NOT willing to do something or say anything that I makes me unhappy or I don't believe in for a living. I've always been one of those believers that money doesn't make you rich, and I have always made enough to pay my bills- sometimes I would have to work two jobs but I had enough for my family.
    I guess in short it's because I don't work for the money, I work for the joy of cooking and everything else I need comes.
     
  4. redbeerd cantu

    redbeerd cantu

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    There possibly might be a misunderstanding here. Chef is a management position. Yes, labor, but management. COOKS may have pay comparable to servers at the beginning. Servers, for the most part, are paid in tips. The tip payment system varies from place to place, but in general, cooks are paid a steady wage. Low ones, at that. Cooks and servers are at the bottom of the totem pole in the food service industry.

    Now, if I am mistaken with my above paragraph, and you work in a place where the CHEFS are making pay anywhere close to that of the servers, then there is a severe injustice, bordering on abuse going on.
     
  5. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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  6. equal parts

    equal parts

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    For me it's about choice. I worked both FOH &HOH early in my career and CHOSE to Cook because it is something I enjoy, even though I knew it meant no tips. I just excepted a new job where I took a $2 pay cut hourly over my last position. As well as moving from a kitchen management position to a prep cook. Although this is my opinion I am young still and can choose exp > $.... Just my 2 cents.
     
  7. jellly

    jellly

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    I agree with Redbeerd Cantu and would also add that it is helpful to look at the pay over a longer period.
    For example, servers can make good money, but it's a young person's game. I would expect a talented chef's salary to increase over time while many servers see their peak income when they are younger.
     
    flipflopgirl likes this.
  8. flipflopgirl

    flipflopgirl

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    Think of a server as the commissioned sales staff who's pay depends on how much product they can move to each customer.

    It looks like a huge amount when you think of what they make each shift but they have to turn around and tip out two or three people that help them.

    The shifts are also (usually) short and they don't (usually) work a full 5 days per week.

    The actual paycheck sometimes (IDK last time I looked around $3 per hour) only covers taxes (not only hourly wage but % of tips) so they are pretty much living on poverty wages themselves (this is why most are just there to make enuf to squeak by on until they graduate).

    Lots of threads on this topic.....   ....was kinda ridiculous but a few good points were made.

    mimi
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2015
  9. spoiledbroth

    spoiledbroth

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    I do know servers who take up to 1.5k a week in tips... 500 on a saturday night would not be uncommon for these guys and we're talking about fine dining a la carte... on the backs of people who work largely for minimum wage + 3-4% of tips or culinary students all under a CDC (yeah one of those places). Those situations are kinda screwey.
     
  10. flipflopgirl

    flipflopgirl

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    You are right.

    There are the exceptions...

    At one point I bartended/waited tables/hostessed the humidor rooms at an upscale steak and chop place.

    Until my full of child belly got too big for the uniform that is lol.

    GREAT money but like I said an exception.

    Then there are your career waiters/captains that are at the places like per se or the owners suites at the professional sports stadiums.

    But like @Jellly  noted it is mainly a young person's game.

    mimi
     
  11. chefboyog

    chefboyog

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    Your talking about lin cooks and prep cooks, not Chefs.

    Put your time in, get educated and with experience you should make more than a server or find a new/ change career path.

    Or be a server, the grass is necessarily greener.