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I played this Mother's Day gig at at the local country club a couple of times- it was this lovely brunch. They said we couldn't eat because their policy was that you had to be members and we were just the "help". I was thinking- I'm a mom, and I have to watch these people walking by with this amazing food and I can't have any- on Mother's Day- and did I mention I'm a mom!!!!! After doing it a couple of times, I bailed.
 

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Played a gig in the early 80s.
A party on the beach (no amps), our pay was food.
I ate:
1 Maine lobster
60 finger clams
much bread
loads of salad
1/2 bottle of wine
beers
shots.
Needless to say when I got home; lost it to the toilet.
Couldn't eat lobster for years.
 

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Several years ago I went to see Houston Person at Dazzle, here in Denver. After the first set he came around and spoke with the folks, very gracious...he's a very nice man. After a while he excused himself so he would have time to eat dinner before the second set. I don't know if he considered it a pay boost, but he said he was hungry and he seemed to be looking forward to it!
 

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We passed on a gig recently where they were offering to comp water and coffee only(?!?). This is a bar gig downtown where parking is limited, we were expected do three sets and our take home pay was minimal. The consensus in the band was that it just wasn't worth the hassle.
The real issue there is the low pay! Not worth the hassle for that reason alone, aside from the lack of food/drink. But you're right; it's doubly bad they won't even comp you a drink on top of the fact they want you to work practically for free! Venues like this are not worth dealing with at any level.
 

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Nothing like playing a fancy/schmancy gig, and seeing all the great food knowing a meal is included. Then the band is led to their table where awaits... bandwiches.
Yes - after a couple of those our contract specifies that we get the same meal the guests get. In the 10 or more years since, no one has gotten that wrong. Even at weddings we get our own table now - no questions asked. A well thought out contract is a great thing. Sadly, bar gigs are not that kind of gig. Somehow we always get some food and drink perks though - and yes - I consider them perks. I even tip based on what the food would have cost if I ordered it. I hate a cheapskate. The servers work pretty hard for low pay too.

A comment on some things I have read in this thread: When I was young, I spent a number of years in the restaurant business -specifically a three year working chefs apprenticeship. Back then (Mid 70's) food cost was 1/3 of what you sold it for. These days a 50% food cost is not unheard of. Certain Items (Like booze, colas, and salad) have a better margin, but something like a $20 Lobster tail, might cost the restaurant $15 or more. They hope to make it up on those high margin items. One thing for sure - it's not a business for the faint of heart. 4 of 5 restaurants never make it past the 5th year. As those of us who gig know - eateries with live music have an even lower survival rate. After you pay the band, the employees, the landlord, and the government, you still have to pay for that food. What's left is what the venue makes.

Clubs and restaurants that feed and water you, are doing it out of the goodness of their hearts - usually because the owner loves music and wants to "toss you a bone". (Pun intended) Bitching about their kindness makes no sense at all. If you don't like the pay - don't take the gig.

Be thankful for the food.
 

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I even tip based on what the food would have cost if I ordered it. I hate a cheapskate. The servers work pretty hard for low pay too.
+1. This is a very good point, Fader. I always, without fail, tip the bartender when I receive my comped drink. This may be a separate issue, but it's important to point out.
 

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As a young man I worked a 6 night a week gig at a restaurant in North Philly that included the band along with the wait staff in a "shift meal" policy. There were supposed to be limitations on what you could order, but in reality the kitchen staff would make you anything on the menu. I'd go in every night and dine on Prime Rib, Stuffed Sea Bass, you name it. In that particular case it really felt like a pay upgrade, both because of the upscale quality of the meal and the fact that I was saving a TON on groceries. That same summer I had a friend who was managing a pizza place around the corner from my apartment who would let me go into the kitchen and make myself whatever kind of sandwich I wanted. I think I gained 30 lbs that summer....
 

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I played this Mother's Day gig at at the local country club a couple of times- it was this lovely brunch. They said we couldn't eat because their policy was that you had to be members and we were just the "help". I was thinking- I'm a mom, and I have to watch these people walking by with this amazing food and I can't have any- on Mother's Day- and did I mention I'm a mom!!!!! After doing it a couple of times, I bailed.
Yes, this is the sort of thing I was referring to earlier. The policies are just indicative of what the management thinks of its hired musicians. So in mine eyes...if that is how much they value their hired musicians...I very likely would not play there.

(Oh...and a belated Happy Mothers Day, BTW :flower:)
 

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Yes - after a couple of those our contract specifies that we get the same meal the guests get. In the 10 or more years since, no one has gotten that wrong. Even at weddings we get our own table now - no questions asked. A well thought out contract is a great thing. Sadly, bar gigs are not that kind of gig. Somehow we always get some food and drink perks though - and yes - I consider them perks. I even tip based on what the food would have cost if I ordered it. I hate a cheapskate. The servers work pretty hard for low pay too.

A comment on some things I have read in this thread: When I was young, I spent a number of years in the restaurant business -specifically a three year working chefs apprenticeship. Back then (Mid 70's) food cost was 1/3 of what you sold it for. These days a 50% food cost is not unheard of. ....4 of 5 restaurants never make it past the 5th year.
5 of 5 restaurants would never make it past the first year if their food costs were 50% of their menu pricetags.
Is that what you meant ?

Because, in my experience with restaurants, etc (including a couple of overly-long LTR's w/ women who were restaurant/bar managers...) this isn't so at all.

Food costs are far, far, far less than 50% of the menu pricetags. If they were 50%, without adding in labor and preparation, a restaurant wouldn't last 30 days....

Again, maybe I misunderstood something (?)
 

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Yes, this is all standard stuff that should be in the contract. It's surprising how many promoters don't think it's important. I remember one gig where there was no food, in spite of the stipulation on the contract. I just told them to sort something out or there would no music. They got some food and drinks together quite quickly.
Reminds me of a story my former Tenor player once told me. He was part of a quartet jump swing group and they were playing a GOOD venue in Portland on a weekend night, but doing it for very cheap, well below typical market gig in Portland (he had nothing to do with arranging the gig, he was just coming in as a session player for the group; the leader had foolishly enough 'negotiated' the whole deal). They served some decent craft beers there, and also some of the typical mainstream stuff.

At break, he went to the bar and ordered a microbrew Hefeweizen from the bartender. She said (in all seriousness): " Hefe ? Your band isn't worth Hefe's".

He was a bit taken aback, but then replied: "Really ? Ask your manager if your insistence upon giving us Buds... is worth the scenario of the band packing up and leaving in the middle of what would've been our second set ".

He got his Hefe. And later on, his second.

Needless to say he declined ever playing that venue again.
 

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5 of 5 restaurants would never make it past the first year if their food costs were 50% of their menu pricetags.
Is that what you meant ?

Because, in my experience with restaurants, etc (including a couple of overly-long LTR's w/ women who were restaurant/bar managers...) this isn't so at all.

Food costs are far, far, far less than 50% of the menu pricetags. If they were 50%, without adding in labor and preparation, a restaurant wouldn't last 30 days....

Again, maybe I misunderstood something (?)
No. You are not misunderstanding. Food costs have risen dramatically since I was in the biz. While the average is probably around 35%, places serving high quality fare run much higher and rely on booze to make up the difference. They get a great margin on beer, liquor, and wine, but things like micro-greens, prime beef, fresh seafood and organic veggies are through the roof. To be fair, my current knowledge is limited to only one high-end executive chef....he does however, claim the challenge is industry wide - especially in "steak house" type establishments. Somewhere I recently read an article about this too, but I'm not sure of the source. I think it was Forbes, or some other financial publication...

....anyway....even at 35% it's a tough business - especially if you're paying (and feeding) musicians. More-so if the house is not packed.
 

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....anyway....even at 35% it's a tough business - especially if you're paying (and feeding) musicians. More-so if the house is not packed.
Whatever the difference between raw ingredient cost and menu price, you also need to factor in an expected wastage. Most restaurants will be throwing a huge amount of food into bins at the end of the night/week (the ones that don't serve the customers stale food).

So that fact alone can mean whatever the musicians get would have been chucked, hence practically nil cost.
 

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No. You are not misunderstanding. Food costs have risen dramatically since I was in the biz. While the average is probably around 35%, places serving high quality fare run much higher and rely on booze to make up the difference. They get a great margin on beer, liquor, and wine, but things like micro-greens, prime beef, fresh seafood and organic veggies are through the roof. To be fair, my current knowledge is limited to only one high-end executive chef....he does however, claim the challenge is industry wide - especially in "steak house" type establishments. Somewhere I recently read an article about this too, but I'm not sure of the source. I think it was Forbes, or some other financial publication...

....anyway....even at 35% it's a tough business - especially if you're paying (and feeding) musicians. More-so if the house is not packed.
OK, interesting....that a very different interpretation/observation from what other folks in the industry have shared with me, even in SF or Portland. I'm aware certain menu items and booze are big ca-chings which offset certain dishes/ingredients which are not, but the idea that at the end of the day menu prices are only jacked up to double of what it costs the establishment to produce the dish ? That, as a general rule of thumb, doesn't coincide with what I have been told by folks within.

Whatever the difference between raw ingredient cost and menu price, you also need to factor in an expected wastage. Most restaurants will be throwing a huge amount of food into bins at the end of the night/week (the ones that don't serve the customers stale food).

So that fact alone can mean whatever the musicians get would have been chucked, hence practically nil cost.
Add to this the fact if a venue is cranking out a fair to good number of tickets in a given evening, the addition of 4 or 5 more plates, a gratis, is unlikely to cause the establishment a particularly painful 'hit'....in either labor/prep or raw cost.
 

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That's funny. I'd have packed up if they insisted on serving us the crap "craft beer", rather than an honest, straight up Budweiser.
Ha....the more beer I drink, the more I agree with that :salute: - see last paragraph of my post #25 here....
 

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This thread reminds me of one of my favorite musician jokes;

Q). How do you get a musician to complain?
A). Give them a gig.
 

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That's funny. I'd have packed up if they insisted on serving us the crap "craft beer", rather than an honest, straight up Budweiser.
I had a front man in my band who always complained about the craft brewery gigs. He said that they had already figured how to make good beer (he drank Heineken) and couldn't understand why they insisted on making their own beer which never tasted as good as beer you could already buy. He would have preferred a Bud to some locally made Hefeweizen.

Then there's this craft brewery craze of making the hoppiest beers you can. I know a sommelier who owns a wine store. She won't drink those IPA's and other hoppy beers. She complains that they are very 1-dimensional - all you can taste is the hops - so you can't actually get the full taste of the beer with its complexities and overtones. Oops, now I'm talking like it's saxophone sounds. I wonder if there's a Klangbogen for beer.
:idea1: Now there's an idea. Attach this heavy weight to your beer glass to get a fuller, richer taste. I could make a fortune. Or not.
 

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I had a front man in my band who always complained about the craft brewery gigs. He said that they had already figured how to make good beer (he drank Heineken) and couldn't understand why they insisted on making their own beer which never tasted as good as beer you could already buy. He would have preferred a Bud to some locally made Hefeweizen.

Then there's this craft brewery craze of making the hoppiest beers you can. I know a sommelier who owns a wine store. She won't drink those IPA's and other hoppy beers. She complains that they are very 1-dimensional - all you can taste is the hops - so you can't actually get the full taste of the beer with its complexities and overtones. Oops, now I'm talking like it's saxophone sounds. I wonder if there's a Klangbogen for beer.
:idea1: Now there's an idea. Attach this heavy weight to your beer glass to get a fuller, richer taste. I could make a fortune. Or not.
It's called a stein - and it works!
 

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