The Caterers Corner
Please Help! Salary and Commission Question Caterers Corner: Please Help! Salary and Commission Question
By Soochr (Soochr) on Friday, November 14, 2003 - 03:37 pm: Edit

Hi all..i need some help. i've been working with a very small and i mean very small, operation for almost 3 yrs. my take was a 1/3 of each party. my job was basically chief cook and bottle wash. i did everything alone except the shopping, including set up, break down and clean up. most of my events have been in the 25-100 range with the occassional 250-300 for bkfst and lunch. This has been a good situation for me for lots of reasons too numerous to go into. Now we have acquired a separate kitchen with a new name and i am to be in charge of that completely. Our events will be much larger and now i have a staff at my disposal. we have decided to change the pay structure because now we're paying rent, electricity...etc. I live in sarasota fl and those of you that know the area know that the salaries here are a joke which is why i have always worked for commission. The offer on the table right now is $150.00 per week for 15 hrs to develop business, work ahead for parties and produce finished food for their other stores. The commission rate is now 15% based on billed sales less rentals, servers (client usually pays for them) prep help, tax, delivery charges and discounts. Commission based on selling, menu planning, coordinating, prep, set-up, clean-up, shopping, cooking, paperwork, and collecting all monies. when my car has to be used, i get .30 a mile.

I have been going crazy trying to find out if this is fair. I had been out of the business for many yrs before i started with this company and had never worked on a commission basis, always salary as a chef. right now im not feeling too kindly about them as we just contracted for a huge party of 2800 ppl and my take on it has changed, not to the above deal, but something else. I have agreed to it because it's a huge amount of money and i would be insane to walk away. They have basically cut my commission in half. uuuggghhh the more i think about it, the crazier i get. I would love to walk away after this huge party and still may, but i truely love what i do and i actually have a life outside of work. doesn't happen too often in this business. i need to think on that.

Any help with rates of commission a catering director gets would be so helpful.

By Chefmanny (Chefmanny) on Friday, November 14, 2003 - 08:01 pm: Edit

Stop, cool down, analyze everything and start again re-thinking what you want to do.
Tell the owners how you feel if you are able to openly say it, if not tell them you feel you were short changed on the deal.
You know the busines better than anyone here, how much do you think you should get, it should be comparable to what you were always making! Just because the numbers went up does not mean that your money should decrease and your work load increase!
Overall 15% is a fair number on average!, but you are doing more than your "fair" share of the work also!

By Soochr (Soochr) on Saturday, November 15, 2003 - 06:25 am: Edit

Chefmanny...thanks so much for the input. I was able to openly tell them that i thought they were giving me the shaft. Tempers flared, voices raised, their reasons why, stories of how they were shafted out of commission, but that's you, appreciate you but your still not getting the full commission on this party cause i said so. that's pretty much how it went. i'm hurt, angry and really disgusted with myself for being so naïve as to think they wouldn't do this. Trust is gone for me now so the decision i have to make is to whether accept their offer that's on the table now with a few tweeks and know that every large party that comes up has to be reviewed and there has to be a contract between us or I keep my pride, walk away and find a job working 6 days a week, nights, weekends and holidays. Been there, done that...too old now and i kinda like hanging out with my husband...almost lost him once working in the hotel business...a 24/7 job if there ever was one. Life here in sarasota is a little slice of heaven...beach, great restaurants, beach, great friends, beach....i'm thinking i'm making my decision as i type this.

ok, i think i'm done ranting. i'm so glad to hear that 15% is average. I feel much better about it. Yes it's a huge amount of work, but i really enjoy it. i'm a geek about it....i don't care how much work it takes as long as the finished product makes my client happy. And we know a happy client is a repeat client :)

Thanks alot for letting me babble. Have a great weekend! i'm painting my bedroom :(


By Chefmanny (Chefmanny) on Saturday, November 15, 2003 - 10:05 am: Edit

Suzanne, now that you know where you stand with them; get on paper exactly what your pay is, what your duties are and do that ONLY!
Do what you need to make the client happy but, make someone else run for the work....maybe the owner, you make sure they know that all that extra work is not in the contract and you are not doing it anymore!
If you enjoy the work, stay there but, don't be a slave because the owners know you like the job!
I have been to Sarasota my son's mother's dad had a guide fishing business in Boca Grande before he died, I love that coast! I want to take my son on a Tarpon fishing trip out there soon! By the way I live in Weston, just west of Ft. Laud. by the toll plaza on St. Rd. 84 heading to the West coast!

By Chefmanny (Chefmanny) on Saturday, November 15, 2003 - 10:07 am: Edit

I also have a townhouse in Orlando Suzanne if you ever want to go Disney (10 mins from the parks), any kids????

By Soochr (Soochr) on Sunday, November 16, 2003 - 06:15 am: Edit

chefmanny, thanks again. I know that things have changed with the owners and i'm sad to see it. it was such an easy going relationship. now things are never going to be the same for me. if i were smart, i would branch off on my own, but the comfort level of being able to do what i love and being under their umbrella as far as insurance and licensing go is too high. plus, as i said earlier, i actually have a life in this business.

i really love sarasota. if someone told me 10 yrs ago that i would move to florida, i would have told them they were nuts. i lived in new jersey, worked in manhatten and the idea of moving to florida was unthinkable. only retired people move here. i moved out to arizona instead and lived in phoenix for awhile and loved it. Realized that i was too far from home after a few yrs and decided to give florida a shot. best decision i've made. i really like ft lauderdale. a few of us came over for the air show last yr. I have a friend that's a pilot and he was chopping at the bit to go...i figured cool, a beach weekend on the atlantic side....turned out to be a blast. i loved the air show...well, from the beach with a margarita in my hand :) we're going back this yr.

No I have no kids, and i'll keep in mind about disney. we were annual pass holders for 2 yrs and i thought i was disneyed out, but i'm not sure that's possible. :)

ok, i really have rambled on long enough. couldn't sleep and it's only 5am here. i tend to go on a bit...:)

have a good rest of the weekend.

By Chefspike (Chefspike) on Monday, November 17, 2003 - 11:59 pm: Edit

Why haven't you mentioned this before?
Sounds like a chef's trip in the making.
I call guest bed !!!
We should try to make this one better than the Tex-as one. small turn out there.

By Chefmanny (Chefmanny) on Wednesday, November 19, 2003 - 11:51 pm: Edit

Anytime Spike, and Elwood!

By Chefrev (Chefrev) on Thursday, November 20, 2003 - 10:05 am: Edit

Hey! My wife and I will be down in January for a conference, can we come too? She snores a little but she makes a mean cup of coffee and I do sticky buns that'd make you cry for joy.

Just a thought

By Chefspike (Chefspike) on Saturday, November 22, 2003 - 10:53 am: Edit

where are you chef Rev.?
upper east coast?
on another thought, anyone know what happened to Snuffy?
He started going to school didn't he?

By Chefrev (Chefrev) on Saturday, November 22, 2003 - 03:53 pm: Edit

Spike, yes, I'm in N.E. Pennsylvania. Just north of Scranton. <Insert Scranton joke here>

By Chefrev (Chefrev) on Saturday, November 22, 2003 - 03:58 pm: Edit

Haven't seen hide nor hair o' the kid since October's discussions. Snuff, if you read this, drop a line, Spike misses ya. That's so sweet. lol.

By Chefspike (Chefspike) on Saturday, November 22, 2003 - 09:07 pm: Edit

I don't know about that missing stuff......
I worked in Readding once, at the outlets.
Bucks Country Wines.
Had a real nice shop in the basement of this building and then one day during the winter it flooded, from a broken main in the street.
Headed back to New York after that.
I can't place Scranton, and I don't have a joke.

By Chefmanny (Chefmanny) on Sunday, November 23, 2003 - 08:49 pm: Edit

The National ACF Convention is in Orlando in 2004, we should all try to hook up down here, if you need a place to stay you can stay at my house up there, just don't tell my wife I invited all of you!
I'll tell her I only invited Elwood and the rest showed up with him!

By Chefspike (Chefspike) on Monday, November 24, 2003 - 05:55 pm: Edit

I don't think Elwood will be going.
We don't fly and that leaves bus or train.
They don't take dogs, unless I can get ahold of one of those blind dog handle things and a cane.
But if I go that route I can't read books, so...I'm kinda stuck.
Well there's the car but thats a long drive and all that hair and he always wants to stop.
It gets to be a pain in the butt.
But I'd like to come.
Pretty girls in bikini's,...ahhhhhhh.

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