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A Restaurant Owners Salary

Updated: Jun 6, 2018

How much do you, the restaurant owner, make per per hour?

Are you the business owner, providing jobs for others, or do you simply own your own job (or in the case of restaurants… jobS)?

I was recently asked by a 10 or 11 year old girl if I own the restaurant she was sitting in. I said yes and her eyes went wide.

You must be really rich, she exclaimed!

I wish, I said. I explained to her that a restaurant owner can be more of a firehose operator. A lot of money flows in and a lot of dough flows out. I’m lucky to get a drip sometimes.

You are the restaurant owner. You have taken all the risk (I feel your pain!). You have poured your heart into a thankless business with long hours and crazy hours. You work when everybody else doesn’t.

If you are like I used to be, I worked 80-100 hours per week in the restaurant, putting in a ton of energy and sacrificing so much time with my little ones.

When my husband and I started the restaurant I was the pizza maker. And the dishwasher. And the manager. And the scheduler. And the HR department. And the marketer. And the networker. And the trainer. And the counselor. And the …. But how much were all those tasks worth? What was the time away from family and having a life worth?

So what do you pay yourself for all of that effort?

How much is your time worth?

How much do you make per hour?

$7.25 per hour? That is only $14,000 per year.

$10.00 per hour? That is only about $19,000 per year.

$25.00 per hour? This is about $48,000/year.

To make $100,000 per year you must pay yourself $50-55/HR. Can you take good care of your family and life with that much money? Yes!

Let’s look at a concept that saved enough time to have a life, that allowed us to be the restaurant owner instead of the pizza maker or the dishwasher.

If you are doing that $7.25/hr tasks all the time, you are making $14,000 per year. Is that worth 100 hours per week? Wouldn’t it be better to work 40 hours a week? 10 hours a week?

If you are working at $10.00/hr tasks for 100 hours per week, is owning a restaurant worth $19,000 per year? And then we get to a very, very painful question.

If you are so busy doing those tasks, who is doing the marketing to grow your sales, to reduce your overhead % of sales? Who is going to manage your team and create HR systems to protect your business and livelihood?

Probably nobody. And when nobody does it, you keep working as a dishwasher.

So, if you can train someone to do that $10/hr task, so you can focus on marketing (which is worth at least $50/hr), what happens to your business then?

What happens to your life?

It changes.

It changes so much for the better.

You might actually have one!

Actions to take this week to get going:

  1. Spend 2 hours and create a training video for a $7.25/hr job that takes 25 hours of your time each week.

  2. Hire someone to do it.

  3. Get back 20 hours of your time! (you will have to spend 5 hours training and managing that person, but isn’t that better than 25 hours of dishes?

  4. Rinse and repeat.



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