Comment of the Day

Reader: Denver Restaurants Aren't Paying Cooks a Living Wage

Ultreia has a novel idea for evening wages.
Ultreia has a novel idea for evening wages. Westword
Ask Denver chefs about challenges in this city’s burgeoning restaurant industry, and one theme will come up over and over: We have a major talent crunch in the kitchen. “There are not enough cooks in this town,” Frank Bonanno said bluntly last summer. And while Colorado's minimum wage went up this week, it won't ease the pressures that Denver restaurants are feeling. In fact, it might only aggravate the challenge of balancing front-of-the-house and back-of-the-house pay, as Laura Shunk reported this week.

And readers have served up plenty of food for thought about the situation. Says Sylvia: 
What are they paying cooks these days? Not a living wage. They don’t get tips, stand in a hot kitchen for eight or more hours, get no paid vacation and on and on. If employers would treat their employees better —like how about a break during the day/night? — retaining employees would be easier. Basic management.
Adds Erik:
I was formerly a cook in Denver, and that was the major driving factor for me going back to school and getting a different career. It's hard to survive in this city on $11 an hour. I hit a point where I flatlined on my pay, cause I could not get anymore raises, and there was no room to move up.

Comments Gregory: 
Servers don't deserve to make $60,000/yr. They are literally just food runners; the most difficult part of the job is remembering orders and that's easily fixed by carrying around a small pad of paper and a pen.
Theresa concludes: 
 Most people either don't tip — or tip poorly — so leveling out the wage in-house and not relying so much on pay that won't show (or is used against your wages later) seems at least worth trying out.

At the least, it might keep the place out of a pissing contest. It's not each other any worker should be upset at. If a cook makes less because a server had a good night, it's not really on either of them to fix that alone.
Keep reading for more of our coverage of restaurant pay.

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