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M1k3

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The industry is.... changing. Hell, Amazon starts at $15/hr AND you get regular breaks.
 

MarcelNL

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that is great, I have always been amazed how things work(ed). My US colleagues repeatedly and patiently trying to explain me how it all works, you need to tip the guy pouring water because he makes next to nothing amount x, the waiter amount y etc etc.... :oops:
 

GorillaGrunt

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Yeah a lot of people got out of it. Where I’m at nobody really seems to want to commit to anything either employers or employees, buyers nor sellers
 

M1k3

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Yeah a lot of people got out of it. Where I’m at nobody really seems to want to commit to anything either employers or employees, buyers nor sellers
Yeah. And yet here I am just thinking "I can haz job AND respect? I haz sharp knivez."
 

Bigbbaillie

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I have a really hard time justifying working in restaurants to myself sometimes. The work culture in most places is pretty bad, whether it's poor cleaning, excessive drinking/drug use, bad knife culture, or poor management - there is always something lacking in my limited experience.
Not to mention how bad the pay and hours usually are, if you aren't working long days you are probably at least working pretty late. I know there is a lot of variance in these things, but there is no denying that good cooks should at least be paid more for the work they do.
 

Chang

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My boss has been trying to find a decent cook for months now.... loooot of people are just comfortable with unemployment compensation rn... When the pandemic first hit, I was like, " Cool, I'm still getting my wage and I get to take a break? Sweet." but after two months, it got old.

oh and by decent I just mean a chill person that can somewhat cook. Attitude > Skillset.
 

NO ChoP!

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We gave minimum 11.5% raises across the board. Raised starting disher wages to $15.50 and line guys to $17.50. Still, zero new hires. Tons of applications, but no follow through. Getting pretty frustrating. Business is almost overwhelming some days. Fielding applications and dead end interviews have got to be driving my superiors insane.
 

DaM0w

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Moved down to Charleston about four months ago. Over the past month with regulations rolling back, people being vaccinated, and the weather turning this town has been a mad house, all without enough cooks. Some places are offering 500-1000 bucks if you stay for a month. I think that the people who used to cook just because they always have got out and now realize there’s nothing for them in a kitchen anymore
 

TSF415

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I'm pulling tips and BOH are getting 25%. Comes out to an extra $3-5 on top of the $19-$23 wages. Due to unemployment funds being so high this is the first time in SF that theres more cooks than servers because most cooks are undocumented. Now if you're talking about cooks that went to culinary school and have dreams of becoming a chef, forget about it. They're at home collecting unemployment. I dont mind those hack jobs and their egos staying at home anyways.
 

Alwayzbakin

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I'm pulling tips and BOH are getting 25%. Comes out to an extra $3-5 on top of the $19-$23 wages. Due to unemployment funds being so high this is the first time in SF that theres more cooks than servers because most cooks are undocumented. Now if you're talking about cooks that went to culinary school and have dreams of becoming a chef, forget about it. They're at home collecting unemployment. I dont mind those hack jobs and their egos staying at home anyways.
If you don’t mind sharing, I’m curious where you work.
I’ve been (working) back in SF since late last year. Now that I have the freedom of not relying on a work visa, it only took a couple months making $16/hr at a fine dining spot to push me over the edge (after 15 years cooking) to something in FOH (coffee) where at least I add another $10/hr+ in tips, better hours, and the serenity of a manageable workload.
Wages that coincide with skill sets and abilities and more equal tip sharing is one of the things I think will help the problems described in this thread, although I think there’s a lot more to it than just that.
It’s nice to hear of more and more places out there (such as where you are working) that are moving in that direction
 

TSF415

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I didn't mean to sound so jaded in my last post but..... well.... I'm a bit jaded. lol.

Pay in SF, and I'm sure most major cities, is a huge issue. Right before the pandemic hit it was near impossible to find a cook. There were the cooks who were willing to make very little money working fine dining for the experience and then there are the cooks who need to feed a family. Most cooks were working 2 jobs and SF got so damn expensive that even working 2 jobs you couldn't come close to surviving. The talent pool was very limited and quality cooks were an issue. We're not a hip restaurant so we weren't getting the young "I want to be a chef one day" guys and gals. I went thru about 30 cooks in 2 months to fill 2 roles and had finally got myself a full staff on, March 16th, the same day we closed.

The cooks I have are not nearly as talented as a lot of cooks that have more experience and are well trained but they are good people and I can do a lot more with that. I quickly had to get myself to stop playing the pay for experience game. Yea a lot of great restaurants are paying horrible wages for really great cooks and I'm paying more for less skill but I'm paying as much as I can right now for the work that they do. It's not enough but I hope as the business builds back up I and everyone else can start making more money. I'm not really worried about other restaurants because I have enough to worry about for my own restaurant. Eventually the talent will get better because the the restaurant will continue to get better and that can't happen with cooks who dont want to be better.

Now it's harder to find good servers because they aren't making as much as before, especially with the larger tip share. But lets be honest, most aren't cut from the same cloth as BOH staff. Even though they are making $40plus an hour with tips, their shifts aren't long enough and too many are too comfortable to not go get a second job so they aren't making enough to survive in SF. The servers I know that had a cooks mentality of survival in SF and would hustle, used to make close to 100k if not more a year.

Unfortunately with everyone on unemployment in California making 4k a month to not work, a lot of people are just milking it. I think it was good for a lot of cooks and I dont blame them for taking a step back and reassessing the way they make money but also it has crippled a lot of the hustle in people.
 

AT5760

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Unemployment here is apparently 2.9%. Some local restaurants are cutting back hours, like weekday dinner and brunch, because they can't find staff. Small business owners in other industries don't get applicants, and when they do, they are getting ghosted on interviews.
 

daveb

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Meanwhile back in corporate land the company is still using the $10/hr wage for 75% of the employees business model. "Yes he's been here 7 years. Yes he knows how to work in accordance with state and corporate requirements. No, you can't bump him to $12/hr just because he's been offered that at the competitor down the street."

Hiring is a problem, retention is a problem. It's not considered a corporate problem. Effing bean counters think the problem is at the local level. Eroding profit is a bad thing and the metric that matters. I can't even look for quality candidates - just hire anyone who applies (and that's not many) and passes the background checks. Got a pulse? Check. Ever been caught _______? Check. Start next week.

Stop me before I start a rant.
 

TSF415

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Oh it gets better. California passed a law that basically allows Uber and the rest of the food delivery apps that cut into restaurant profits to be able to operate outside the law and not have the same restrictions restaurants do.
 

Nagakin

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There were 16000 open cooking positions in Seattle pre-COVID, the city long priced us out. The median wage here is $105K and the average line cook makes under $40K. My "fortunate" situation was an employer who allowed us 25 hours of OT each week because we convinced the owner not to replace the recent firings and keep us understaffed. I commuted an hour each way everyday. To be industry around here you're either depressingly desperate or depressingly naive (*ahem* passionate).

I think about cooking professionally again everyday. I just don't feel done yet.
 

Bigbbaillie

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I honestly think another part of the problem is just how customers and the general public view the restaurant industry. Most people take restaurants for granted to the maximum degree. So many people just think about fine dining (or eating out in general) and automatically associate it with overpriced food, but if you have worked in the industry, you automatically understand that the people behind the process are just scraping by at most places - owners and cooks alike.
If anything prices are too low when you look at the supply side of things. Just think about how few of customers could actually cook a halfway decent meal for themselves but are ready and willing to spam bad reviews about an "undercooked" steak or some other dumb thing. It's an undervalued skill because 90% of customers have absolutely no idea how a restaurant functions and what goes on behind the kitchen doors to provide them the food on their plate.
 

ModRQC

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As a customer I tend to leave 20% tip as a basis, 25% when service was "greater than usual", 15% when I've been deceived in any important way. I never leave no tip. At least somebody has done his job right that night for me and doesn't need to suffer. Often the waiters are perhaps more of a problem than back of house, and I hate to know in many places I'll go they may not distribute tips to all staff.

Only complaint I ever made in a restaurant was finding a beetle - alive - in the salad. They proposed to cook another meal for me but I asked them to toss the salad replate and bring it back. I was done for any salad for that night anyhow but the rest was good. Beyond their own costs for food, I'm also thinking about food as a resource in general. and don't like to see stuff being trashed.

I hope for myself that industry can find a better track. I'd sure hate that there wouldn't be this service at hand for myself.

I hope even more that it can for all of you guys.
 

YumYumSauce

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I didn't mean to sound so jaded in my last post but..... well.... I'm a bit jaded. lol.

Pay in SF, and I'm sure most major cities, is a huge issue. Right before the pandemic hit it was near impossible to find a cook. There were the cooks who were willing to make very little money working fine dining for the experience and then there are the cooks who need to feed a family. Most cooks were working 2 jobs and SF got so damn expensive that even working 2 jobs you couldn't come close to surviving. The talent pool was very limited and quality cooks were an issue. We're not a hip restaurant so we weren't getting the young "I want to be a chef one day" guys and gals. I went thru about 30 cooks in 2 months to fill 2 roles and had finally got myself a full staff on, March 16th, the same day we closed.

The cooks I have are not nearly as talented as a lot of cooks that have more experience and are well trained but they are good people and I can do a lot more with that. I quickly had to get myself to stop playing the pay for experience game. Yea a lot of great restaurants are paying horrible wages for really great cooks and I'm paying more for less skill but I'm paying as much as I can right now for the work that they do. It's not enough but I hope as the business builds back up I and everyone else can start making more money. I'm not really worried about other restaurants because I have enough to worry about for my own restaurant. Eventually the talent will get better because the the restaurant will continue to get better and that can't happen with cooks who dont want to be better.

Now it's harder to find good servers because they aren't making as much as before, especially with the larger tip share. But lets be honest, most aren't cut from the same cloth as BOH staff. Even though they are making $40plus an hour with tips, their shifts aren't long enough and too many are too comfortable to not go get a second job so they aren't making enough to survive in SF. The servers I know that had a cooks mentality of survival in SF and would hustle, used to make close to 100k if not more a year.

Unfortunately with everyone on unemployment in California making 4k a month to not work, a lot of people are just milking it. I think it was good for a lot of cooks and I dont blame them for taking a step back and reassessing the way they make money but also it has crippled a lot of the hustle in people.

I admit to being one of those "hack jobs" that stayed home. Have to do whats best for myself as the business will do whats best for itself regardless. I may not be the smartest but I sure as hell won't turn down more money for staying home and I dont think most would either given the opportunity, regardless of profession. Made more than my regular wages not working. Think that speaks a lot about the pay in the industry.

Alas, I'm back in the kitchen now, I can sense that things are returning to normal.
 

ModRQC

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"Normal" will never quite be normal again, It's a whole new thing now. But yeah... it's already normal after one year of that ****.

In my case, government aid was quite less than my salary, otherwise I sure would have sucked on it as long as I could have to stay at home. I was a month and a half off work (first lockdown, one year ago) with "reasonable" income, and it was the best time of my life in years. Sure won't point the finger at you!
 

M1k3

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@M1k3 Time to call the nearest work release center
Oh I ditched the "work forever on the one day you requested to be off and had steaks that grew legs because **** paying the cook correctly that's working on the single day a week that was requested when hired that's not a day on the weekend!" place. I now work in a respectable establishment.
 

tcmx3

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Oh it gets better. California passed a law that basically allows Uber and the rest of the food delivery apps that cut into restaurant profits to be able to operate outside the law and not have the same restrictions restaurants do.
what Walmart started 20 years ago Uber is trying very hard to finish

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YumYumSauce

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Oh I ditched the "work forever on the one day you requested to be off and had steaks that grew legs because **** paying the cook correctly that's working on the single day a week that was requested when hired that's not a day on the weekend!" place. I now work in a respectable establishment.
Scheduling is a mess at my current spot, its almost comical.
The "Chef" that makes the schedule redoes the schedule 2-3 times a week. Couple weeks ago, I was scheduled for split days. Got called in for one so after my one day off on thus, I look at the schedule and lo and behold, it says I was supposed to be off weds too. After I already worked it...

We're currently dinner only except for Sunday brunch. Pretty much everyone who works it closes the night before. Except for me, theyve been scheduling me off sat the past 2 weeks so they could keep me 13-14 hrs on sunday, but theyve been calling me in on sat anyways. Today was my 1st fully off sat.
 

M1k3

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Scheduling is a mess at my current spot, its almost comical.
The "Chef" that makes the schedule redoes the schedule 2-3 times a week. Couple weeks ago, I was scheduled for split days. Got called in for one so after my one day off on thus, I look at the schedule and lo and behold, it says I was supposed to be off weds too. After I already worked it...

We're currently dinner only except for Sunday brunch. Pretty much everyone who works it closes the night before. Except for me, theyve been scheduling me off sat the past 2 weeks so they could keep me 13-14 hrs on sunday, but theyve been calling me in on sat anyways. Today was my 1st fully off sat.
Tell me about it. They wanted me to work Wednesdays because "they don't have anyone else to work the station" that day. Even though the same exact crew works Thursday minus me 🤷‍♂️

So I quit abruptly right before Mother's Day and they have an open case for wage theft now.
 

tcmx3

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oh lord not a pizza party.

in my line of work that's a euphemism for a team or company wide layoff lol
 
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