2006 Compensation Study: What I make

Salaries increased 1.9% for FSDs last year. Did yours?

Tipping point? Results from a related FSD survey suggest that situation may have more dire consequences, namely in the form of an exodus from the marketplace. When asked if they’d consider leaving the non-commercial foodservice industry in order to increase their compensation packages, 36% of operators in all segments surveyed said “yes.” The highest percentages of individual segments giving that response was Colleges & Universities (42%), Hospitals (36%) and Nursing Homes (34%), with B&I and Schools each coming in at 28%.

Where would they go? By and large, their write-in responses indicate they’d stay in foodservice and hospitality, including hotels, foodservice distribution, food safety, restaurants, sports venues, fast/casual restaurants and catering. Some cited “Anything but foodservice” or words to that effect, but there were very few mentions of non-food-related industries such as pharmaceuticals, finance, politics, information technology or education.

Paying dues: Can higher pay possibly forestall such a scenario? One way to earn more money is to do more work, conventional wisdom dictates, and rewards seem imminent for those sticking it out. According to FSD’s study, meal volume has a direct correlation to compensation, despite last year’s low raise performance. Half of survey respondents who oversee daily meal production of 5,000 or more earn $80,000-plus a year. Salaries are also higher among those who oversee large staffs: 74% of those making $80,000 or more have a minimum staff size of 50.

In addition, putting in your years yields definite results. Those earning $80,000 or more have an average of 13.6 years invested in their current position, on top of nearly 30 years in foodservice. Not surprisingly, average salaries are highest among those between the ages of 51 and 60 ($57,421).

The gender gap: In non-commercial foodservice, the “gender gap”—the difference between the average salaries for men and women in the director’s position—closed somewhat. The average salary for men this year was $60,854, while it was $49,457 for women. That means women earn 19% less (or, men make 23% more, on average). Salary increases for men and women were roughly similar: 1.8% and 2.1%, respectively.

By market segment, salaries were highest in colleges, though the largest increase, 13.2%, occurred in B&I. Salaries in both hospitals and nursing homes/long-term care facilities decreased a bit compared to 2005 but are roughly similar to 2004 numbers.

In addition, directors working for contractors make nearly 10% more than their self-op counterparts, study results show.

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
dress code geeks

Team uniforms are a way we encourage fun. I tell the mangers that every person on your team needs to look like a member of your team, but they can decide together what they want to wear. When the students see a cafeteria person that is matching and having fun with their outfits, they relate to those people better. We don’t want them to look stiff and stuffy.

Menu Development
meatloaf slices plate

“This is the best meatloaf I’ve ever had,” a diner at Alcatel-Lucent telecommunications in Naperville, Ill., once told chef Iraj Fernando. The dish was rooted in a tried-and-true source—the “Betty Crocker Cookbook.”

“I just seasoned the breadcrumbs differently, used fresh parsley and beat the eggs to make them frothier,” says Fernando, executive chef and manager for Southern Foodservice Management.

Consumer interest is up for classic and comforting meat dishes like meatballs (16%), beef pot pie (26%) and meatloaf (12%) for dinner now compared to two years ago, shows...

Ideas and Innovation
oxford school district cafeteria

We have spent considerable money making cafeterias cool again. New paint jobs, crazy color patterns, custom graphics and changes in lighting schemes have made some of our cafes popular gathering places. We’ve also experimented with videos, cable TV programs and music. We involved a number of student groups and student input in improving the atmosphere, especially in our high school and middle school cafeterias.

Ideas and Innovation
kale quinoa salad

With all the hype around probiotics, we decided to create a daily dish that incorporates probiotics in addition to prebiotics. You rarely hear about prebiotics, and this was a great way to highlight how the two work synergistically to maintain a healthy gut. Our chefs have developed menu items such as roasted salmon with yogurt and mint vinaigrette; kale and quinoa salad with warm maple dressing; and leek soup with pickled cucumbers, to name a few.

FSD Resources