Monday, May 4, 2009

Get Rich Quick!

Or maybe not. The 2008 Salary Survey is a detailed and intriguing look at the economics of the restaurant business for those in the kitchen. The quick take-aways:
  • Salaries for executive chefs are down (3.5% from last year), averaging $74,869.
  • Salaries for pastry chefs are way down (13%), averaging $46,228 - guess we're all skipping desssert more often.
  • Sous chef salaries are actually going up (5% from last year), averaging $44,205.
  • Miami is the place to be. Executive chef salaries in Miami, at an average of $90K+, are higher than any other city noted in the survey, including NY, LA, San Francisco, Boston and Chicago.
  • Doing a stage in a working kitchen (especially one outside the U.S.) may be a better investment than culinary school. While culinary school grads actually make less on average than their uneducated brethren (just kidding!), chefs who have worked outside the U.S. make nearly 20% more than their peers who have never ventured abroad.
  • Maybe not getting rich so quick after all - executive chefs with 5-8 years of experience are not getting close to that $75K average, instead their average salary is $52,579. It's only those with 13+ years of experience that are making in the $75K range.
  • Kitchens are still, by and large, sausage fests. 78% of the 1,000+ survey respondents were men, and male exec chefs are earning nearly $15K more than women.
  • Slackers need not apply. Most culinary professionals are working 9-11 hours a day and 50+ hours a week, with more than 16% working 65+ hours a week.

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