I Make $145,000 As A Restaurant Manager & Didn't Negotiate My Salary

In our series My 6-Figure Paycheck, women making more than $100,000 open up about how they got there and what exactly they do. We take a closer look at what it feels like to be a woman making six-figures — when only 5% of American women make that much, according to the U.S. Census with the hope it will give women insight into how to better navigate their own career and salary trajectories.
Today, we chat with a 25-year-old restaurant general manager from Houston, TX. Previously, we spoke to a a 30-year old associate director of social media marketing from New York, NY, a 35-year old attorney from Birmingham, AL and a 31-year old Design Strategist in Denver, CO.
Job: General Manager, Restaurant/Hospitality
Age: 25
Location: Houston, TX
Degree: Hotel Administration
First Salary: $60,000
Salary: $145,000
As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
"I always wanted to be a chef or own a bakery. I loved food and cooking but my parents really wanted me to have an education in business, as they both work in business. I was lucky to find a high school teacher who helped me navigate food and business."
What did you study in college?
"I have a bachelor's degree in hotel administration. It was the best program that combined business and the hospitality field. While it’s called hotel administration it really focused on business within the hospitality industry — hotels, restaurants, airlines, spas, and banking."
Did you have to take out student loans?
"Yes. I graduated with $30,000 in loans as my parents helped me with a lot of college. I currently have about one year left to pay off since I’ve been able to use tax returns and raises to pay it down faster. I was fortunate to have a salary where I could pay more than the minimum rate."
Have you been working at this job since you graduated college?
"I interned for this company and was offered a full-time job after I graduated. I’ve been with the same company, but have moved up the ladder with different jobs since graduation."
How would you explain your day-to-day role at your job?
"I’m responsible for the restaurant operations on a day-to-day basis. I oversee all cost, labor and staffing as well as guest relations. When you go to a restaurant and ask for the manager, I’m the one who you’d speak with."
Did you negotiate your salary?
"I did not negotiate my salary. My company transfers us around the country and with each move, and we’re given a raise. I’ve been very fortunate to not need to ask for anything additional. We’re also paid above industry average for the restaurant world."
Is your current job your “passion”? If not, what is?
"Restaurants have definitely become my passion. However, I’m not sure this was originally the passion I thought I’d follow. With the hours we work, I think we need to love our jobs because it can be very draining. Most managers who aren’t passionate about the restaurant industry don’t last longer than a year.
"I find myself reading articles about new restaurant openings and new wines being produced in my spare time. We have different hours from most of our friends and family so the restaurant really becomes your family. "
If you could, would you change anything in your career trajectory?
"No, I’ve been very fortunate that most cards have played in my favor. I did think about taking time off from work to travel as opposed to jumping right into the working world, but I didn’t have the money at the time to afford that lifestyle. Luckily, my company has moved me around the country and I’ve been able to expose myself to new cities that way."
What professional advice would you give your younger self?
"Take the big risks. While it was scary to move away from family and friends, my willingness to move for work has skyrocketed my career that wouldn’t have been available to me otherwise. Also, trusting the system.
"I know most people would find this advice absurd, but I trusted the executives in my company even when I thought their decisions were odd. Everything always ended up in my favor. "
Are you a woman under 35 with a six-figure salary ($100,000+) and want to tell your story? Submit it here.

More from Work & Money

R29 Original Series