The gap between mandated wages and what the market requires restaurateurs to actually pay is highlighted in neon by a new study of compensation rates within New York City restaurants.
The state of New York has set a complex schedule of minimum wages exclusively for restaurants operating in the city, a reflection of the Big Apple’s high cost of living. Full-service restaurants employing 11 or more people are required to pay at least $13 an hour. The minimum for smaller places is $12.
Workers in quick-service outlets are entitled to $13.50 an hour, regardless of staff size.
The rates commanded by employees most in demand are 23% to 127% higher than the legal minimum, according to the data from Merlin, an app-based jobs board for the restaurant industry. Analyzing input from 8,822 New York City users, the company determined that sous chefs in the nation’s largest city collect an average of $27.28 an hour, the highest rate for any restaurant position.
They narrowly beat out banquet servers, at $26.25, but were far ahead of a waitstaff position, at $23.36. New York allows restaurateurs to take a tip credit, with employers directly paying $10.50 of the $12 or $13 a waiter or waitress is due per hour. The Merlin data shows they average at least $10.36 in tips per hour.
Overall, the company found these hourly positions, in ascending order, to be the highest paying within New York City restaurants:
10. Line cook ($14.85 an hour)
9. Dishwasher ($15.15)
8. Baker ($15.50)
7. Kitchen helper ($16)
6. Porter ($18.66)
5. Nonsalaried restaurant manager ($18.90)
4. Waiter/waitress ($23.36)
3. Sushi chef ($24.06)
2. Banquet server ($26.25)
1. Sous chef ($27.28)
Those rates compare with a national average, as determined by the placement service Gecko Hospitality, of $12.53 per hour for women and $13.29 for men.