Salary vs. Hourly: Think Tank Members Swap Tips for Paying Restaurant Managers

Experienced pizzeria operators weigh in on the topic of fair hours and compensation for restaurant managers.

Editor’s note: This exchange of ideas for paying pizzeria and restaurant managers was culled from a thread on PMQ’s Think Tank.

WPI: How many hours should a salaried pizza store manager be expected to work? At what point do you start paying them for working extra hours? And how do you structure bonuses?

pizzapiratespp: I believe in paying them an hourly rate. When I paid a salary, I always had a bit of tension with the managers. If they worked a little less, I was peeved, and if they worked an hour more, they were peeved. I try to keep managers in the 38-to-40-hour range. I find that our operation is just too physically demanding to work more than that on a regular basis. Our GMs make $20 to $22 per hour, plus a bonus of 2% to 4% of the sales.

Our entry-level managers, some of whom work part-time, make between $14.50 and $18 per hour. Some of them receive bonuses, but those max out at around $50 a week. Assistant GMs make $18 to $20 per hour, plus a bonus of 2% to 4% of the sales. They also get paid vacation and sick leave, health care and so on. But don’t try this at home! These are California pay rates for longtime employees!

314: I still pay a salary, which is based on an average week for my general managers. Typically, 45 to 47 hours is all they ever work. At my busy shop, which does more than $40,000 a week in sales, my current GM works about 47 hours a week, and his salary is $950 a week plus bonuses, health insurance, a fuel card and two weeks paid vacation. He has three assistant managers under him.

d9phoenix: I haven’t had a full-time manager in years. I just have part-timers—this is not what I want, it’s all that I can find. As for bonuses, I base them on meeting goals for three items: labor, food usage and sales. From time to time, I will change the goals, depending on what I think is more important. Unfortunately, everything here [in Boulder, Colorado] has been thrown into chaos over the last year or so. The minimum wage goes up 90 cents every year until 2020, and now we have a soda tax that’s higher than anywhere else in the country!