How to negotiate your chef pay rise

13 Mar, 2022
Chef Pay Rise

Negotiating your chef pay – 9 tips

As we slowly emerge from lockdown your chef skills are in enormous demand so now is the time to negotiate a pay rise. However, pay rises are often a minefield to navigate so it’s important to know how best to negotiate in order to get what you want. Read on for our top tips!

Timing is key

Asking for a pay rise can be disruptive for employers, so it’s essential you get your timing right. If you get it wrong, you can easily get yourself labelled by your employer as a pain, at a time when they need to be thinking more about your value.

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. It’s very possible that your organisation’s pay review is being carried out at this time anyway.

Research your market value

Negotiating a chef pay rise is primarily about demonstrating your value. Get an idea of what you should be asking for by speaking to people doing a similar role to you, in the same type of business i.e. restaurant, corporate caterer etc. Also take a look at job adverts online and salary surveys. Do also speak to recruiters who specialise in hiring chefs.

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?

Talk to your boss

Find out what there role is in this process. Even if they don’t have the power or influence to make the final decision they will need to be involved at some point . It’s useful to know what they’ll do for you, just as much as knowing what they might need from you.

Build a business case

You need to support your request for a pay rise. Build a record of moments and events where you have succeeded and / or over achieved (even if its been a while since you’ve been in the kitchen due to the pandemic). This may be assuming the role of a more senior member of the kitchen team or perhaps undertaking a specific event that wouldn’t normally fall under your responsibility. You need to show that you’ve been working well on tasks that are beyond what everyone else is doing.

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Pitch your case

When presenting your case for a chef pay rise to whoever you’re negotiating with, use all the information you’ve gathered from the market and from your record of achievement to really highlight and demonstrate your value. Be sure to point the decision-makers towards recommendations from other co-workers in the kitchen.

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. How much scope for flexibility are you going to allow? What are you willing to accept or not accept?

It’s worth remembering that you’ll have the option to go back with a compromise and other suggestions if the offer you get isn’t what you were hoping for. There may be different elements of your pay package that could be interchangeable or traded-off. Identify what these are so that you know what your options are.

Sometimes saying nothing is the best approach

Don’t be tempted into committing yourself to an offer too early. Negotiation is about timing. 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 and what the other options may be. If you’re asked how long you need to think the offer over, say you’ll let them know that day or that you’ll sleep on it, depending on how much time you need. Even if you think that the offer is perfect, take a bit of time before you give your decision.

Close the discussion

If you get an offer that’s not what you wanted you can easily say it’s close enough, or it isn’t close enough. Whether you get what you want or not, you need to close the discussion. Whatever happens, if you’re happy to stay, then stay. If you’re not happy to stay, then you’ll have to consider leaving. If you want to try again next year, then remember to plan ahead and repeat the above!

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