What should I be paid?

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Joined Jun 3, 2018
Hello everyone,

My question is..... How much should I make for doing events? My friends bought a banquet hall and asked me to come work for them. I have done several events now and I feel like I'm being robbed and to friendly. They pay me $20 an hour whether I'm there 4 hours or 10 hours. The job is 40 minutes from my house. Events range from 50 to 150 people. I receive no gratuity. I've created the menus. I do all the prep day of. Pretty basic. I'm the only person on the kitchen. Also, sometimes I bail them out doing dishes and repairs on their kitchen equipment. Should this be fine. Am I getting completely screwed? The owner buys all the food after I make shopping lists. I'm at a loss. Is this too friendly? Sorry for the rant. Thanks!
 
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Joined May 30, 2015
They pay me $20 an hour whether I'm there 4 hours or 10 hours.

I'm assuming they pay you a salary of $20 per hour capped at 40-50 hours, right? How many days a week do you work?

The owner buys all the food after I make shopping lists.

So you're essentially an executive chef rather than owner/operator. If it makes money, you get no extra pay. If it loses money, you still get a check. $20 per hour sounds fairly reasonable for the size banquets you're describing. I don't know where you live, which can make a difference, but $20 isn't exactly highway robbery.

I receive no gratuity.

Do they have servers? The the owners serve? Who's getting the gratuity? If you're having to serve in addition to cooking/planning, I would want a cut of the gratuity. It also depends though on what the owners' salaries are and whether they pay themselves primarily with the gratuity or if the gratuity is just icing on the cake. In the latter case, I would definitely expect a cut, but only if you serve and work FOH.

Also, sometimes I bail them out doing dishes and repairs on their kitchen equipment. Should this be fine.

It depends on whether they have other employees and how willing they are to help. If the three of you team-clean everything, it's fine. If it's just you by yourself, I'd take issue with it unless the dishes/repairs are minimal (30 minutes or less). If they have other employees (servers, catering assistants, etc.), it's time for you to learn the word "delegation". If they have no other employees, it's time to hire at least one part-timer to help out.
 
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Joined Jun 3, 2018
I work maybe 6 events a month. Slow slow slow. FOH is the one owner and a random anyone they can find to collect dishes and serve. One bartender. The other owner is the house DJ. The establishment is in the Detroit downriver area. Because of work bring so sporadic and it's tough to keep someone longer than a couple events. Hell I'm debating leaving. I'm just wondering if I'm being selfish or if this is just how they do things. Also, we're talking $28 pp w/ 16% gratuity charge. So, ok I can only think FOH is making crazy cash. $15 an hour plus tips/gratuity. Smh. Am I being foolish?
 
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Joined Jun 3, 2018
The owners set the hall during the week. I help tear down and reset when we have back to back events.
 
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Joined Jun 3, 2018
Also, dishes are done by hand. They have a small under counter dishwasher for bar glasses. So when I do get hours.... It's doing dishes. Longest repair time was maybe an hour trying to figure out and replace heating elements in the Hobart undercounter dishwasher.
 
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Joined Mar 1, 2017
I suppose the only question that really matters given your situation is how many hours per month are you getting paid for??
 
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Joined Jun 27, 2012
I base my work ethic on “if you have time to lean you have time to clean”.
Meaning if my job description duties were completed I would find something else to work on in order to give my employer (the one with the skin in the game) value for his dollar.
mimi
 
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Joined Feb 8, 2009
I work maybe 6 events a month. Slow slow slow. FOH is the one owner and a random anyone they can find to collect dishes and serve. One bartender. The other owner is the house DJ. The establishment is in the Detroit downriver area. Because of work bring so sporadic and it's tough to keep someone longer than a couple events. Hell I'm debating leaving. I'm just wondering if I'm being selfish or if this is just how they do things. Also, we're talking $28 pp w/ 16% gratuity charge. So, ok I can only think FOH is making crazy cash. $15 an hour plus tips/gratuity. Smh. Am I being foolish?

I would ask to be put in on the Tip wagon. I feel for this kind of operation the Chef/cook s/b part of the gratuity. if a function is $28 pp for 150 people the gratuity would be $672. No reason they shouldn't take care of the person who is making all the food and keeping them in business with great food quality. On this kind of party I would expect 16% of the $672 Or $107.52. It's important to keep all the gears in the machine well greased....... Get my drift ????????? If you can make an extra $107.52 on that size of a party it just may have you whistling while your Bitching that there's no dishwasher......Good luck........ChefBillyB
 
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Joined Jun 3, 2018
I suppose the only question that really matters given your situation is how many hours per month are you getting paid for??

I worked a total of 16 hours in November when I started. Maybe 20 hours for all of December, 20 hours January, 40 hours for February (Did a Polish dinner on Thursdays), maybe 16 hours for March, April 0 hours, May was maybe 20 hours, and now June I'm at 9 hours for two events. I'm thinking they truly just want me to come in, cook as fast as possible and go home.
 
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Joined Jun 3, 2018
I would ask to be put in on the Tip wagon. I feel for this kind of operation the Chef/cook s/b part of the gratuity. if a function is $28 pp for 150 people the gratuity would be $672. No reason they shouldn't take care of the person who is making all the food and keeping them in business with great food quality. On this kind of party I would expect 16% of the $672 Or $107.52. It's important to keep all the gears in the machine well greased....... Get my drift ????????? If you can make an extra $107.52 on that size of a party it just may have you whistling while your Bitching that there's no dishwasher......Good luck........ChefBillyB

Thanks for the advice. I have asked about this multiple times, never get a straight answer for how their gratuity works, but yeah I don't mind busting suds, I left out the part that my pay either decreases for dishwashing and or helping break down and reset event hall. So I go from $20 to $10 to free most of the time. I think I'm being taken advantage of because I go way back twenty years with the owners.
 
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Joined Jan 31, 2012
From what you describe they get for events, and based on my own
catering experience, i conclude you are being treated, intentionally
or not, as cheap unskilled labor. While youre making them tons of
money, theyre paying you peanuts. For starters, paying you
hourly is ripping you off. You need to etablish a minimum,
just as caterers do for number of guests before they book a gig.
And I agree, you need a fair percentage of the tips.
After all, theyre not just tipping the servers or owners, their
intention is to tip the food as well, which you cook, and the owners pocket.
Short answer....yes youre getting taken advantage of.

Also, theyre not giving you nearly enough work to keep you exclusive with them.
Look around for another caterer to attach yourself with, on an on call,
gig by gig basis. so whoever books you first, gets you for that date.
 
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7
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Joined Jun 3, 2018
From what you describe they get for events, and based on my own
catering experience, i conclude you are being treated, intentionally
or not, as cheap unskilled labor. While youre making them tons of
money, theyre paying you peanuts. For starters, paying you
hourly is ripping you off. You need to etablish a minimum,
just as caterers do for number of guests before they book a gig.
And I agree, you need a fair percentage of the tips.
After all, theyre not just tipping the servers or owners, their
intention is to tip the food as well, which you cook, and the owners pocket.
Short answer....yes youre getting taken advantage of.

Also, theyre not giving you nearly enough work to keep you exclusive with them.
Look around for another caterer to attach yourself with, on an on call,
gig by gig basis. so whoever books you first, gets you for that date.

Thank you! That's what I figured. I wondered why the first chef they hired bailed when he asked for 50k a year and they told him they couldn't pay him what he was looking for. Then I get the call to work for them and I've felt like I was being screwed, but I'm raising my kids and need the money. I figured it wasn't fair seeing everyone else making a lot more than I. I'm thinking they just go oh he's our friend, he don't care. So, yeah the search for elsewhere it is. Thank you again. Everyone's comments have really opened my eyes to this situation. My fault. I should have properly researched ahead of time instead of thinking things would change. Meh.
 
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