Author Topic: Oven Master/Fornaio Salary?  (Read 1371 times)

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Offline pizzablogger

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Oven Master/Fornaio Salary?
« on: May 28, 2010, 09:36:25 AM »
Any pizzeria owners (not chain owners) care to divulge what a fair compensation for a dedicated oven master/fornaio might be?

It might not lead to anything, but I have started on a detailed business plan and am trying to get a very good handle on projected annual expenses.

Ideally, the individual would be working 40 to 45 hours per week and be in charge of starting the fire in the wood burning oven and handling the cooking duties for the course of an evening (I would be making/dressing the skins). The person would have to be very passionate about pizza and ready to commit to being extremely dedicated to making the best pizzas possible, night in and night out. Due to the time each week, two people may need to share these duties, but I would prefer one for consistencies sake.

I have no idea what a good compensation would be (one that is both fair to the person and affordable to the business model), but I am thinking two to three weeks paid vacation and some type of health benefits may be nice as well. This may very well be the only dedicated, full time employee other than myself working at the establishment. If I do open a pizzeria, it is not to catch the current "wave" of pizza popularity (which is about to switch to tacos!), but to work for the rest of my life there.

If you would prefer to, please send a private message to me and I appreciate any help offered. Have a great Memorial Day weekend! --K :)
« Last Edit: May 28, 2010, 09:39:14 AM by pizzablogger »
"It's Baltimore, gentlemen, the gods will not save you." --Burrell


Offline pcampbell

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Re: Oven Master/Fornaio Salary?
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2010, 12:20:13 PM »
i think a lot will depend on where you live, among other things. 

i know here in nj, the manager of a place where i worked made about 33k with no health insurance and it was just not enough.  morale is low, looking for other jobs,etc.  you can't rent an apt, and save anything on that.  I think 40-45k around here is more realistic, paying for half of health insurance.    
« Last Edit: May 28, 2010, 12:26:04 PM by pcampbell »
Patrick

Offline BrickStoneOven

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Re: Oven Master/Fornaio Salary?
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2010, 12:28:05 PM »
The place I work at now, me and another kid started working at the same time he does all the pizza making and I do the prep, sandwich making, ex. He told me he is getting $15hr, I'm getting $10. IDK if this helps you at all, we are 5 minutes out of Boston.

Offline Mo

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Re: Oven Master/Fornaio Salary?
« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2010, 02:08:38 PM »
A few questions: How many seats in your place? Are you skilled enough to train an oven guy? Aside from starting the oven in the morning, an oven guy will be standing around until service so that means he'll probably doing a fair amount of prep (especially with only two kitchen guys). Lunch an dinner? What would the operating hours be? Say you're only open 5 days a week lunch and dinner, that's still a 60hr week.

I think you would be better off training someone to stretch and top rather than hoping to get someone requiring no training to work oven right away. Find some good, trained cooks (local culinary schools can be a good source) and train a couple people, over a perio of time, how to work the oven. Bringing someone in that already trained will cost your more and you will still likely need to train them in your specific requirements. If you are unsure of your oven skills being adequate to train people, then you're probably stuck hiring in.

Personally, it sounds lik your vastly underestimating your labor needs. But I don't k ow what your hours if operation would look like or your menu mix. Hope this helps (sorry for spelling etc i'm on my mobile)...

Mo. 

Offline pizzablogger

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Re: Oven Master/Fornaio Salary?
« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2010, 03:12:40 PM »
A few questions: How many seats in your place?

TBD. Still VERY early, as in just starting to get into the specifics of a plan. 30-40 seat range is my initial thought.

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Are you skilled enough to train an oven guy?

That's a good question.

Quote
Lunch an dinner?

Dinner only. Likely 6 days a week to start off, then going to 5 days per week. Weekends would be extended hours.

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I think you would be better off training someone to stretch and top

Logistically that makes sense. But I like the Lucali, Paulie Gee, etc type set up where the make table enables Mark or Paulie to not only make the pies, but survey the joint to make sure everything is going well.

My initial capital requirements would provide for 3-5 weeks of expenses for nothing other than making pizzas and training the people for hours on end every day. Before we are open.

Quote
Personally, it sounds lik your vastly underestimating your labor needs. But I don't k ow what your hours if operation would look like or your menu mix. Hope this helps (sorry for spelling etc i'm on my mobile)...

Actually, I will need (I think)
myself making pies
someone to cook the pies
a dedicated kitchen person for toppings prep and stuff like salad making
a "jack of all trades" for cleaning, prep, janitorial, etc
2-3 servers

Menu would be very small. 4-6 regular pies which are 12" rounds with an additional 1-2 seasonal offerings mixed in. Squares would also be available. No takeout or delivery, although take-out could be offered if deemed necessary. Delivery is a non-negotiable. A small selection of beers and a small (10-15) selection of wines, all available by the glass or bottle and not at such absurd mark-ups we see too often. Two or so salads and maybe 2-4 small antipasti as well. No other items. Casual vibe. 

In my dreams this becomes a family operated business that could be passed down and something for future generations to be proud of (hopefully).

Appreciate all of the imput so far. Many thanks. --K
"It's Baltimore, gentlemen, the gods will not save you." --Burrell

Offline Mo

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Re: Oven Master/Fornaio Salary?
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2010, 04:26:40 PM »
Logistically that makes sense. But I like the Lucali, Paulie Gee, etc type set up where the make table enables Mark or Paulie to not only make the pies, but survey the joint to make sure everything is going well.

Yeah, I hear what you're saying. I wish I had more time facing the crowd than what I do now. Still, I've been working with one of my oven guys for a couple months now and he is just now getting good enough to handle a busy dinner. Busy for us is around 175-200 pies in an night service. I mean, if you're lucky enough to find a guy that can walk in and do it and are able capital-wise to pay him $12-16/hour (or salary equiv., depending on geographical location) with benefits then maybe that's the best course. In my experience, paying somebody a good salary (where an owner is likely taking none) with benefits is not necessarily achievable out of the gates. Depends, really, on the dough involved (green kind).

Personally speaking, as a professional cook for many years, I am quite confident in my ability to take the rough talent of an experienced line-guy or culinary graduate and mould them into a proper cook, whether prepping, hot-line, working the floor, whatever. However, I understand this may not be in your skill-set.

My initial capital requirements would provide for 3-5 weeks of expenses for nothing other than making pizzas and training the people for hours on end every day. Before we are open.

Three weeks is, I'm sure, more than enough. But make sure you do a few practice services with friends, family, small-medium groups of people to feel your feet before opening the doors. That will do more to improve your operation than endless weeks prepping and practicing (with no one to act as guests).


Actually, I will need (I think)
myself making pies
someone to cook the pies
a dedicated kitchen person for toppings prep and stuff like salad making
a "jack of all trades" for cleaning, prep, janitorial, etc
2-3 servers

That sounds reasonable, considering 30-40 seats. However, I always get nervous when considering waitstaff. The contact at the table is SO important and frankly, a less-than-well-paid waitron is generally not up to the task of representing your product and establishment the way you would like. Think of all the goofy things servers have said to you at a table and then pretend it's your place. Scary. I don't know, my experience in kitchens and restaurants may have jaded me but I never considered for a moment having servers in my place.

I hope 30-40 seats with table service will give you the turn you need to make your sales goals. Guess it depends on the kind of pizza you're making (90 seconds, 2-3 minutes or longer?) and the size of your market. That's pretty tiny and, not knowing your price point, sounds like you would need to turn the dining room over several times a night to get anywhere.

Menu would be very small. 4-6 regular pies which are 12" rounds with an additional 1-2 seasonal offerings mixed in. Squares would also be available. No takeout or delivery, although take-out could be offered if deemed necessary. Delivery is a non-negotiable. A small selection of beers and a small (10-15) selection of wines, all available by the glass or bottle and not at such absurd mark-ups we see too often. Two or so salads and maybe 2-4 small antipasti as well. No other items. Casual vibe.

Sounds good to me. You'll change your mind about carry-out pretty quick. You'll get so sick of trying to explain why you don't in the first three days that you'll do it anyway. You can trust me on that one. You're right about delivery, though, forget it. Nobody will hassle you about that.

In my dreams this becomes a family operated business that could be passed down and something for future generations to be proud of (hopefully).

Sounds like a nice plan. Good luck. I'm happy to share what little I know about this crazy biz.

Offline pizzablogger

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Re: Oven Master/Fornaio Salary?
« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2010, 05:08:00 PM »
That sounds reasonable, considering 30-40 seats. However, I always get nervous when considering waitstaff. The contact at the table is SO important and frankly, a less-than-well-paid waitron is generally not up to the task of representing your product and establishment the way you would like. Think of all the goofy things servers have said to you at a table and then pretend it's your place. Scary. I don't know, my experience in kitchens and restaurants may have jaded me but I never considered for a moment having servers in my place.

Great points Mo. Fortunately, I have previously worked in the restaurant business for just under ten years, starting as a dishwasher as my very first job at age 15, doing salad bars, etc and serving through my college years....all at a few different places.

Being a server for several years will definitely help me. I am competent on how to train a server to represent the establishment well, things to focus on, priorities, etc.

Quote
I hope 30-40 seats with table service will give you the turn you need to make your sales goals. Guess it depends on the kind of pizza you're making (90 seconds, 2-3 minutes or longer?) and the size of your market. That's pretty tiny and, not knowing your price point, sounds like you would need to turn the dining room over several times a night to get anywhere.

Yes, 90 second pizzas, give or take a few seconds. Squares take longer, about 3 minutes in a hot oven. I hope 30-40 seats works too. Best to figure that out beforehand as much as possible. I can't see getting too big (more than, say, 60) because I cannot imagine the quality being maintained to where I would be happy at that rate.

Mo, this is all very helpful. Gives me a lot to chew on as I start the planning process in ernest. Much appreciated!
"It's Baltimore, gentlemen, the gods will not save you." --Burrell

Offline David

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Re: Oven Master/Fornaio Salary?
« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2010, 01:06:03 AM »
There is a guy in Greenpoint who I'm sure would be more than happy to share his business plan and opening accounts with you. I know before he opened he insisted that he would make every pie himself and that was what set(s) Bianco / Mangieri and himself apart from other upstarts.
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