Editor’s note: How to Negotiate Your Chef Pay Rise was originally published in May 2021 and updated in May 2022.
The pandemic has had a wide-ranging impact on the restaurant trade and the hospitality sector. This has been amplified further by the effects of Brexit in the UK.
Pre-pandemic it was getting harder to find skilled, professional chefs in many places around the world. As a consequence of Covid, there’s been a sharp fall in the number of people working in the industry. There just aren’t the numbers of skilled people in the job marketplace that there were even pre-Covid-19.
From an employer’s point of view, this makes it a testing market to hire chefs right now. A global shortage of skilled chefs is being reflected in the uplift in chef salaries across the board.
This is something to bear in mind should a pay review be approaching, chef. No. We’re not advocating holding a current employer to ransom here! But the present trend is that chef salaries are on the rise. The simple law of supply and demand applying.
Negotiating a pay rise is primarily about demonstrating your worth and value to your employer. Let’s take a closer look as to how to that successfully.
How to negotiate your chef pay rise – research your market value
To do this properly you need to take a current snapshot of what’s happening in the chef jobs market. Spend time looking at job adverts online and salary surveys. Talk to recruitment agents who are currently hiring for your role in a similar size/type of establishment. Ask trusted friends in the industry and in your network.
Build a business case
It’s important to gather evidence to support your request for a pay rise to build your case for it when negotiating. Build a record of your successes, achievements and over achievements that demonstrate your worth and value in the kitchen. Highlight incidences where you have gone above and beyond, added value, increased motivation, productivity or revenue to the business.
Be clear about what you’re asking for
This is key. Begin with the end in mind. Be clear about what pay increase you want and your rationale behind it. Why should you get the pay rise you want? What’s in it for your employer and why does this have to be done now?
How to negotiate your chef pay rise – timing is key
Pick your time to meet with management to negotiate your chef’s pay rise with care.
Ask yourself if you can dovetail your request with your next chef performance review or appraisal. If your company doesn’t have a set pay review time – or you’ve just missed it – raising the subject of your salary during your performance review is a good option.
Get ready to discuss and negotiate
Be well prepared to discuss your pay at the negotiating table. Be clear with yourself on what your boundaries are. What are you willing to accept or not accept?
There may be different elements of your chef pay package that could be interchangeable or traded-off. Identify what these are so that you know what your options are.
Pitch your case
When presenting your case for a pay rise use all the information you’ve gathered to clearly and really demonstrate all the value your bring into your employers kitchen.
Take some time to consider the offer
Each situation is different, and you may need more or less time to consider the offer depending on how close it is to what you want. But you can take some time to consider the offer. Don’t feel compelled to accept it straight away.
And remember a negotiation is a two-way conversation. You should have the confidence to counter offer a compromise or alternative package, if what emerges doesn’t look like an offer you’d be prepared to accept.
How to negotiate your chef pay rise – accepting the offer
If you decide to take what’s being finally offered accept the offer enthusiastically and with thanks. You have successfully negotiated your chef’s pay rise. Go celebrate!
Close the discussion
If the outcome of negotiating your chef pay rise is not as you hoped it would be, you will need to close the discussion around pay. If you’re happy to stay, then stay and think on how to improve your pitch for a better result next year.