Pastry Chef Job Negotiations - Salary, hours, and responsibilities

Joined Mar 31, 2011
I'm looking for guidance about what I should ask for and reasonably expect when renegotiating my wage with my boss. 

I started at the restaurant in Chicago where I work about a year ago as a garde manger with no professional experience at all.  My responsibilities at that point were working the GM station and basic prep. My starting rate was $9.50.

I was finishing my undergraduate degree (not culinary school) over the last year so my hours have remained pretty low (33-37 hours/week) but in addition to working the GM station and doing the station's prep I also do all of the pastry work for the restaurant including creating my own weekly specials.  I got these additional responsibilities after a sous chef who had previously done them left and I took them without any additional pay raise because I was so glad to have the opportunity.

My chef is happy with my work (trust me, I'd know it if he weren't) and I got a quarter raise at one point but I want to renegotiate my pay, job title (currently just nominally a cook like any other), and responsibilities.  I'm thinking that $14 an hour @ 40 hours a week sounds like a good goal in exchange for:

-preparing all of the desserts

-creating specials and dessert menu

-preparing petit fours, party desserts, and catering desserts

I'd have to do some of my own product shopping off the clock as well as keeping control of dessert costs, inventory, etc.

In your experience as people who have been hired before or who have done hiring what kind of 1) pay should I ask for and 2) job description should I draft for myself? 

As I said, I only have experience within this restaurant but my work speaks for itself and even without any experience I've advanced very rapidly.
Joined Aug 26, 2010
RM, before you go off and make a pay raise demand, you should sit down with your chef and ask for an evaluation. That way you can see if - in management's eyes - you are worthy of what they're currently paying, or any areas where you need to focus on. Trust me, there will be a few. You'll probably get the "bottom line" speech, but if you do ask your boss what you can do to merit an increase in pay. Every chef I've worked for encounters this all the time, and they're usually willing to work with you if they feel you're an asset. If they're smart and you're good, they'll want to work with you.

And beware of "first restaurant syndrome": when you feel you're worth more than you really are after your first job only to find that you're just getting started (and there are plenty of others out there who want your job.)

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