So you Want to Run your own Restaurant?

So you want to run your own restaurant? This week’s blog post will give you a glimpse of what to expect.

This is the fourth and final post in the series: Careers in Food. And today, we focus on the front-end jobs: Restaurant owners, chefs and bakers.

Restaurant Owners: According to Jim Laube, founder of, a restaurant must focus on three things to succeed:

  • Operations: This includes all functions required to prepare and serve food to customers. 
  • Financial: These functions deal with accounting, cash management and cost control. 
  • Marketing: This involves public relations, advertising and image management of the restaurant. 

Most restaurant owners, however, gets caught up in all the details of each of these things, and this is when they fail. The key is to delegate to the best possible employees one can hire.

Here are some cool numbers for 2014 from the National Restaurant Association

  • 990,000: Restaurant locations in the United States.
  • 10%: Restaurant workforce as part of the overall U.S. workforce.

  • $683.4 billionRestaurant industry sales

  • 47%: Restaurant industry share of the food dollar 

  • Seven in 10: Restaurants that are single-unit operations 

  • Eight in 10: Restaurant owners who started their industry careers in entry-level positions (don't let that deter you!).

Average salary:  $79,222 per year, although this varies largely based on location, size and type of restaurant.  

 Photo Credit: Tony Hisgett, License

Photo Credit: Tony Hisgett, License


Executive Chef: The Executive Chef is accountable for all things related to the kitchen. This includes creating a menu, directing kitchen staff, ordering and purchasing inventory. It also includes deciding on the presentation of the dishes. 

Average Salary: $50,000 or more a year. Salary can increase to over $85,000 (based on experience and location).

Sous Chef:  The Sous-Chef is the second-in-command and direct assistant of the Executive Chef. This person is accountable for the kitchen's inventory, cleanliness, organization, and the continuous training of its entire staff. Sous chefs carry out the head chef's orders, perform line checks, and oversee the prompt delivery of dishes. They also perform the Executive Chef's duties when the latter is absent. 

Average Salary: $35,000 to just under $40,000. 

Line Cook: A line cook is in charge of a particular area of production. In most kitchens the line cook is the only worker in a particular department. This can mean chopping vegetables, butchering meat, or preparing sauces. 

Average Salary: $35,000 annually

Pastry Chef: Pastry chefs are in charge of making pastries, desserts, breads and other baked goods, and are employed in large hotels, restaurants, bakeries and some cafes. While pastry chefs have duties similar to that of bakers, at larger establishments, they are also in charge of the dessert menu, which may include traditional desserts, dessert wines, dessert beverages, and gourmet cheese platters.

Average Salary: $30,000 to $50,000. 

 Photo Credit: Missy, License

Photo Credit: Missy, License

Bakers:  Bakers mix ingredients according to recipes to make breads, pastries, and other baked goods. 

Commercial bakers work in manufacturing facilities that produce breads and pastries at high speeds. 

Retail bakers work primarily in grocery stores and specialty shops, including bakeries.  

According to the Center for Economic Vitality, the commercial side of the baking industry is highly concentrated, with the 50 largest companies generating 75% of revenue.The retail side of baking is fragmented — 50 largest companies generating around 15% of revenue. 

Most bakers learn their skills through long-term on-the-job training. Although no formal education is required, some learn through an apprenticeship program or by attending a technical or culinary school.

Average Salary: Approximately $23,140 per year 

 Photo Credit:  Nicola , License

Photo Credit: Nicola, License

Other front-end people include wait staff, maitre d', bartenders, sushi chefs etc