Chefs - here's why we have to work so hard - the harsh reality of the numbers behind our industry

I took a pen and paper and ran some numbers to figure out how the hell anybody makes money in hospo. *Still not sure.

Chefs work ridiculously hard. You know the drill - twelve to fifteen hour days, mental and physical exhaustion - I don't need to preach to the choir on this issue. I've been working in the industry for 13 years, I have friends who are chefs, restaurant owners, dishies and front of house - all of who will agree that shit is tough right now.

The truth is that there is a huge financial strain within our industry as a whole. The owner of the establishment that you work for probably isn't ballin' like he/she would've been if he/she owned a restaurant twenty years ago - there's too much competition now and the cost of running a restaurant has sky-rocketed over the past decade.

I decided to scribble a few numbers down to see how the hospitality business model is looking these days. I based my numbers on a small owner-operated restaurant/café in Australia, obviously every business is different but I think that these figures cover the basics pretty realistically. *Didn't account for when the council rocks up and demands that you install a new underground grease trap ($10,000) or make you buy electrostatic filters ($20,000) when your neighbours complain that your smokehouse is too smokey (shout out to JR's Smokehouse) :-D .. Unpredictable costs always somehow pop up in our game!

Check those numbers!.. As you all know there are both slow and busy weeks, it's just the name of the game - but too many slow weeks would be crippling for the business owner! In this example if you're doing about $12k per week in sales you might be ok (provided nothing huge and unexpected decides to screw you), but anything less for too long just isn't sustainable. $12k might not sound like much but that's pretty massive especially for a brand new business with no loyal customers yet, and in todays world with so much competition - I'm getting nervous just thinking about it!

I wanted to share these numbers for lots of reasons - for us chefs who wonder why we have to work so hard, for our customers who wonder why they have to pay so much for their meals, for anybody contemplating starting their own restaurant/café (I'm not trying to crush your dreams but these figures are super important to be aware of).

Please share this with anybody who you think needs to read it.

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- Johnny Devil

 

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