I was searching for a topic to write about and I came across this question: why are chefs paid so little?
I do agree that chefs get paid little compared to what they are worth. but the question is why is that.
After doing research, analysis and thinking I came to this conclusion:
There are three main reasons why are chefs paid so little. There is too much competition in the restaurant industry, most chefs just don’t have enough patience and there is a culture where tips don’t get shared by servers. we would look into all three matters in detail In this short post.
let’s first talk about the competition.
Too much competition in the restaurant industry
Chef as a career is getting very professionalized now. you’ll see more and more culinary institutes promoting their education programmes. many people are coming out of those universities every year as future chefs. after the covid pandemic, many people came and joined the industry from nowhere as the concept of cloud kitchens is getting popular.
with increasing competition price is the factor on which restaurants are forced to compete. which results in lower pay to the staff. it’s not just the chefs who are underpaid but everyone in the restaurant industry is underpaid. running restaurants is a tough business.
this is the way it is. but as you might know, a chef’s life is not for everyone. there are benefits for those who really want to become a chef. if you want to find out whether is chef a good career for you? you can read this article in which we talk about 7 reasons why being a chef is a good career choice for you.
Not enough experience/patience as a beginner chef
Entry-level jobs in the kitchen are bus person, server, dishwasher, pantry or prep cook. All these jobs don’t pay much. In most cases, it pays below minimum wage. then you get promoted to be a line cook. that won’t pay you well. then you will be promoted to chef. The minimum requirement of being a chef is 5 years of experience as a line cook plus a degree.
Most chefs get access to food at their work. which allows them to reduce their living expenses. that’s how most people in the kitchen are able to survive in the industry. that’s the reality of the culinary industry. you need to have patience till you get to the top. we don’t recommend someone to be a professional chef if he doesn’t have a passion for it. yah! you can work your ass off to make ends meet if that’s required for you in the kitchen. if you want to find out whether is chef a good career for you read this post.
Server tips culture
in many cases, as we know that servers make more money than the people who actually do the hard work for creating an amazing experience for the people. The more people tip less they have to spend on food.
I’ve read news about a case in Pennsylvania. a few days ago where a customer tipped the waitress 3000$ and the bill for the food 13$. after a few days, the customer came back to the restaurant and asked to return the tip. now both of them are fighting a case in court. I’ve included the link to link to that news article in the webliography section if you’re curious to know more about it. but the point is customers give tips. and it doesn’t end up where it actually should.
well, there are three main reasons why are chefs get paid so little. we have discussed them above. we can’t do about much about the competition but we can improve ourselves. Have patience and stay focused and committed to your job. As professional chefs, we do the job for the pay but most chefs you’ll meet in your life are chefs because they love their work.
Find out whether is chef a good career for you. and if you know chef life is for you brother then go for it. have patience, discipline yourself, improve your craft and you’ll be blessed with success and fortune.