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Gecko Hospitality Releases 2020 Salary Survey

2020 was a challenging year for the hospitality profession. As in past years, Gecko Hospitality conducted our annual salary report. The data was collected from January 2019 to December 2020 and reveals information from more than 1,800 hospitality and restaurant management professionals. What do the numbers tell us?

2021 Salary Survey Details

The story behind 2020 was without a doubt the global pandemic. Within a month we went from one of the hottest employment markets for workers to high unemployment, layoffs and unfortunately, many restaurants ended up closing their doors, even if it was for just a short time. Our survey revealed how abrupt this switch was:

  • In 2019, the top reasons for a job jump in the restaurant field were varied, but primarily to improve the quality of life by finding a better job.
  • In 2020, the top reasons for finding a new job in the restaurant field were due to “unemployed” and “business closed/downsized.” For a time, the situation was admittedly grim.

But 2021 looks a little brighter so the salary data we culled in 2020 will likely continue to rise as the vaccine continues to circulate and the economy starts to move again. The average starting management salaries from 2019 to 2020 in the restaurant field includes:

         Job Title                            Female                        Male      

Assistant Manager                 $46,661                       $50,153

Dir of Food & Beverage          $93,000                       $86,250

Executive Chef                        $72,750                       $74,665

Front Office Manager             $47,750                       $45,000
Kitchen Manager                    $50,407                       $55,000

Hotel Managers made between $62,326 (female) and $85,726 (male).

One interesting highlight of the survey this year was the longitudinal data on some of the roles we’ve been tracing for the past few years. For example, Assistant General Managers either in hospitality or restaurant food service showed a steady increase in wages since 2018.

Conversely, some roles declined in salary. For example, the national average of an Assistant Manager of a casual theme restaurant was $56,181 in 2018. By 2020, the average salary had regressed to $55,986. The same was true for upscale casual Assistant Managers, who went from $59,000 in 2028 to $53,313 in 2021. These alarming numbers are offset by the fact that far more positions did see a steady increase in income.

Corporate management roles continue to pay well. For example, a corporate Assistant Manager of a casual theme restaurant can now expect about $115,000. That number was considerably less in 2018, at $72,333. Upscale dining increased as well, from an average salary of $75,000 in 2017 to $157,500 in 2020.

Executive Chefs aren’t seeing huge increases annually overall with the exception of one category. Executive Chefs that work in family-style dining establishments could generally expect an average of $60,000 in2017, $68,500 in 2018 and $85,000 today.

For the hourly worker in food service, wages continue to fluctuate. The average hourly rate in 2019-2020 ran between $12.06 for the QSR category all the way up to $15.81 in casual theme establishments.

Overall, most restaurant chains did offer non-hourly employees steady raises over the past few years. However, prior to the pandemic, we saw a lot of hospitality and restaurant workers leaving their existing job for greener pasture. According to the salary survey, most left because they weren’t satisfied with the work conditions.

What will 2021 bring us? We don’t know exactly, but one thing is clear—Gecko Hospitality remains that the forefront of the restaurant and hospitality field. We can help your organization adapt to the changing times by helping you find the best talent at the right rate.

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