Restaurant Management Believes the Salaries They Read

December 20, 2000
Although some compensation experts are leery, that’s not the case for Christi Shade, assistant to the directorof human resources for Wichita-based Restaurant Management. The company, with2,200 employees, has 150 Pizza Hut and 20 Long John Silver’s restaurants ineight states - Arizona, Kansas, Louisiana, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico,Oklahoma, and Wyoming. That staff includes 320 mid- and top-level managers thatcan make up to $85,000 a year.

    Last September, when thecompany was trying to decide whether to buy the outlets in New Jersey, Shade wasgiven the task of finding out the fair-market salary ranges for managers andassistants there.

    Despite its size, RestaurantManagement doesn’t subscribe to third-party salary surveys or, for thatmatter, need the in-depth data they provide on a regular basis.

    For similar assignments inthe past, Shade had to count on outdated data from state departments of labor.

    This time she clicked The information is accurate, current, and quick, she says. “I cango right onto and type in state information, even down to counties,and get competitive salary rates.”

    At first, Shade says, she waswary because the site wasn’t designed for HR officials. But as she started touse it - and double-check numbers against state labor departments’ data aswell as compile company data and her own cumulative market knowledge - she foundit extremely accurate. She admits that, although the site’s job descriptionsand data met her needs in the fast-food industry, it might not be detailedenough for other industries. And she still adjusts the numbers, for example,factoring in variations for the type of restaurant - dine-in or delivery. Butthey’re a good starting point.

    “I didn’t take Salary.comat just face value,” Shade adds. “I knew what it had originally beendesigned for. I did take quite a bit of time ... to check information that Ialready had against reports we had in the past, and it was extremelyaccurate.”

    As for those who for not being up-front with the details, Shade suggests that perhapsthey just don’t ask for the information. The site always has been forthcomingand helpful when she has had questions on data sources and otherwise. “But ifI have a question, I do ask. Maybe that’s the difference.”

    The use of savesRestaurant Management officials not only time - salary information is a fewclicks away, whereas ordering a survey offline can take weeks - but also thecost of purchasing Labor Department data. That can be $8 to $50 a report,depending on how detailed it is, says Shade.

    StockHouse Media’s Loveagrees that the information source may not always be clearly stated, but if shewants to peg a salary range and a number seems out of line with theother sources she uses, it’s a simple matter to discard the number. “At thesame time, if my [paid] salary survey, plus the information I am getting from myprofessional exchange group, plus are all pretty comparable, I reallythink that that’s a fairly accurate representation then for a salary.”

Workforce,January 2001, Vol 80, No 1, pp. 91-92  SubscribeNow!