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Wages for Food Service Workers Finally See Some Growth

Nobody takes a job in food service expecting a huge salary – unless they’ve watched too many episodes of Top Chef. If you work in food service, it’s either because you have a passion for it or you’re biding time until you move into a different career (you know, like movie star).

Nobody takes a job in food service expecting a huge salary –
unless they’ve watched too many episodes of Top
Chef
. If you work in food service, it’s either because you have a passion
for it or you’re biding time until you move into a different career (you know,
like movie star).

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For those who fall into the passionate category, the
unfortunate truth is that your determination and talent will likely be rewarded
with long hours, high stress and low pay. And, in recent years, the low pay has
been even lower than normal with a big drop in food service worker wages during
the recession and little to no wage growth since. However, the two most recent
quarters this year (Q2 and Q3) show some signs of life in food
service worker wage growth
.

Quarterly Compensation Trends for Food Service & Restaurant Jobs

Do You Know What You're Worth?

The PayScale Index uses 2006 average total cash compensation as a baseline.
Food Service & Restaurant Jobs

According to The
PayScale Index
, wages for food service workers were up 2.3 percent in Q3
2012 from 2006 wage levels (the baseline for The PayScale Index). That’s the
highest they’ve been since Q3 2008 and nearly at the all-time high for food
service worker wage growth of 3 percent, achieved in Q2 2008.

Of course, compared to national wage growth, the picture isn’t
quite as rosy (though food service wage growth has always trailed national
trends.) In Q3 2012, national wages were up 7.8 percent from their 2006 wage
levels, showing more than three times the growth of food service wages.

Quarterly Compensation Trends for Food Service & Restaurant Jobs

The PayScale Index uses 2006 average total cash compensation as a baseline.
Food Service & Restaurant Jobs
National (US)

So, what does this mean for talented chefs, servers and
other food workers? If you haven’t seen a bump in your paycheck in the last
year or two, now might be the time to ask for a pay increase. But, if you’re
hoping for a significant jump in your wages in the near future, the answer is
probably in another career path. Ever thought about a job
in technology
?

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(Photo credit: Lynn Friedman/flickr)


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