18 August 2015

Pay Them More Money, You Stupid F%$#ing F%$#s!

It appears that are having a problem finding and keeping experienced cooks:
Behind the swinging doors of restaurant kitchens around the country, things are getting a bit more chaotic. It’s not the sort of thing diners would not have noticed, because it’s happening behind the scenes, out of view. Orders are still coming in, and plates are still coming out. But there’s a growing problem that chefs and restaurateurs are talking about more these days.

Good cooks are getting harder to come by. Not the head kitchen honchos, depicted in Food Network reality shows, who fine-tune menus and orchestrate the dinner rush, but the men and women who are fresh out of culinary school and eager.

The shortage of able kitchen hands is affecting chefs in Chicago, where restaurateurs said they are receiving far fewer applications than in past years. “It’s gotten to the point where if good cooks come along, we’ll hire them even if we don’t have a position. Because we will have a position,” Paul Kahan, a local chef, told the Chicago Tribune last week.

It’s also an issue in New York, where skilled cooks are an increasingly rare commodity. “If I had a position open in the kitchen, I might have 12 résumés, call in three or four to [try out] in the kitchen, and make a decision,” Alfred Portale, the chef and owner of Michelin-starred Manhattan restaurant Gotham Bar and Grill, told Fortune recently. “Now it’s the other way around; there’s one cook and 12 restaurants.”
Gee, why is it so tough to find good cooks?

Maybe it's this:
One of the clearest obstacles to hiring a good cook, let alone someone willing to work the kitchen these days, is that living in this country’s biggest cities is increasingly unaffordable. In New York, for instance, where a cook can expect to make between $10 and $12 per hour, and the median rent runs upward of $1,200 a month, living in the city is a near impossibility. As a result, people end up living far from the restaurants where they work. Add to that how late dinner shifts can end, causing people to arrive home well into the night.

Top it all off with the fact that culinary school graduates are often working through significant amounts of debt, and the burden can be insurmountable.
It's markets, baby.

You cannot find cooks to underpay and abuse because ……… Oh, I don't know ……… Maybe there are fewer illegal workers out there to depress wages:
And then there’s another subtle but significant change happening across America that doesn’t bode well for the restaurant industry. After years of steady inflows of Mexican immigrants, who have proved both eager and talented cooks, the trend is reversing itself. The number of unauthorized immigrants living in the United States has leveled off over the past decade (it peaked eight years ago in 2007). By 2012, net migration to Mexico was already zero, or even negative, meaning that more Mexicans were moving out than moving in.
So you want your employees to go heavily into debt at cooking schools, you want to work them mercilessly, and you don't want to pay them well, and now the guys that you can use the threat of La Migra to keep them in line have gone home.

The pay sucks, and they are treated like crap, so people are not flocking to the profession,

You find the same thing in other fields where this has happened, like, for example, airline pilots.

We have been eating our seed corn in terms of skilled professionals for over a generation, if we are finding it hard to find new guys, the solution is not more gastarbeiters (H1B, L1A, etc.), it is to strengthen worker rights, strengthen union rights, and raise the minimum wage.


Anonymous said...

Yes sir, exactly right.

Post a Comment