How Much Can You Earn in the Restaurant Industry?

One of the top three questions I get comes from chefs, line cooks, bartenders, and servers has to be, "Who's hiring?" 

"We're always looking for great help," said manager Christie Ajakie, of G&B Oyster Bar, the subject of this week's review. "Even if we're fully staffed, if someone is a great fit, we'll either find a spot for them or make them a first priority." Including sibling Coconuts, the restaurant employs 40 servers and about 20 cooks.

It's not just restaurants on the lookout for new employees. The South Florida job market continues to grow, reported The Atlantic Cities, seeding tenth in metropolitan regions that have added the most new jobs between July 2010 and July 2011.

What's the earning potential for chefs and managers?

The American Culinary Federation has released its first salary study since 2008, which reports industry stats on average salaries, length of workweeks, highest-paying industry segments, and gender pay discrepancies.

Some findings:
-Only 3 percent of respondents were unemployed, significantly less than the national unemployment rate of 8.3 percent.
-34 percent report working more than 50 hours a week.
-Corporate managers and execs make the most bank, of course, earning an average of $97,000, followed by research chefs at $90,000 and educators, $74,000. The average pay for executive chefs is $66,000.
-The median base salary for male managers is $28,000 more than that of women. The median base salary for a male executive chef is $18,000 more than that of a woman.
-Chefs in the mid-Atlantic make the most, at $65,000, followed by New England and the Pacific, at $60,000. The lowest salaries are west north central U.S., at $53,000.

The 2011 study is the result of responses from 2,711 members, of which 88 percent were employed full time. A third are executive chefs, and four of five are male. More than 50 percent are over 45. The average base salary is $63,786.

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Food Critic
Contact: Melissa McCart