Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Compensation for waiters at high-end restaurants

Head waiters at top-tier restaurants can earn from $80,000 to as much as $150,000 a year including tips, according to industry executives. In comparison, a line cook might earn as little as $35,000 to $45,000 a year while working longer hours. ...

Customer expectations of servers are high. Waiters are expected to be at ease and in command of a wide range of facts and skills. In a 16-course dinner at Eleven Madison Park, a single plate might have 15 ingredients and five preparations, says co-owner Will Guidara. Menus change seasonally. Servers are expected to have accurate answers to specific questions about food allergens, the type of sea salt in a particular dish or the origin of the duck. Service of one dessert, a seasonal cheesecake with chocolate, requires the server to perform a card trick. ...

Many of the servers at Eleven Madison are recent grads of the Culinary Institute, Cornell, University of Pennsylvania and Harvard.
--Alina Dizik, WSJ, on what those pricey tasting menus buy