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.