As chefs get richer, diners get poorer

Blacksheep in Beaufort is an outlier in the

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Informed restaurant goers by now understand that hourly-wage restaurant workers are chronically and shamefully underpaid. Even though patrons may lash out when they’re charged 60 bucks for roast chicken, they at least grasp on an intellectual level that their restaurant outings are frequently subpar because businesses can’t recruit as many skilled cooks and servers as they need when the jobs pay as little as $30,000 a year.

What’s rarely discussed is what’s happening on the other end of the kitchen pay spectrum, and how it’s shaping restaurant experiences. Namely (and relatedly), salaries for top executive chefs—the one-percenters of food-and-bev operations—are surging, making it harder for those in the corporate sphere to justify trading their reliable checks for ownership of honest, unswanky restaurants.


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