“I’m a businesswoman, and I’m definitely not running a charity. Since I’m paying you this wage, of course, I will be asking you to do an equivalent amount of work.” Su Tang saw the disbelieving expressions of the father and daughter pair, so she decided to slowly explain.
Su Tang was not running a charity hall, and she was a person who firmly believed that it was better to teach a person to fish than to give them a fish. She wanted to give Zhou Xiaocao an opportunity, but she wasn’t interested in just tossing money to her for nothing.
After all, Su Tang’s own money was also earned through hard work. Plus, Zhou Xiaocao’s family wasn’t completely destitute or anything. They had enough to feed themselves, so there was no need for that kind of charity anyway.
Su Tang offered Zhou Xiaocao that wage because, according to her knowledge, an ordinary worker in an ordinary restaurant here in Qinghe Town would earn about 300 copper coins a month and the accountants and managers would earn even more. An accountant would earn about 3 taels of silver a month, and a manager would earn between 2 and 5 taels of silver, depending on what kind of shop it was.
Take Yang Fude’s grocery store for example. His profit was only 20-odd taels per year, which was why he couldn’t afford to have an accountant or manager and could only personally do all the work with occasional help from his wife.
Su Tang planned to give Zhou Xiaocao a slightly higher wage compared with an ordinary worker because her restaurant still hadn’t been built. There would be a lot of decorating and preparation work that Zhou Xiaocao would need to help with, and the workload was going to be very large.
Su Tang’s basic principle was for the wages paid to match the work being done. Since there was more work to do, naturally the wage would be higher.
Su Tang turned to Zhou Xiaocao and said seriously, “I will be very busy during this period so, once the shop is purchased, I will need you to keep an eye on it for pretty much every step of the process as it’s being built.”
“And if you want to be the restaurant manager, you will have to learn to read. I’m afraid I don’t have time to teach you personally, but you can go and learn with Jiang Hong’s wife. She is also learning to read.”
“For the time being, you two will be the ones in charge of the restaurant. However, she still needs to take care of her daughter, Xiao Nian, so you will have to work even harder. You will have to earn that salary.”
In fact, Madam Zhang currently had nothing to do, which was why Su Tang had decided to let her go and work in the restaurant. Madam Zhang was Jiang Hong’s wife, so she had done some work in their old restaurant before and understood a few letters, but not very many. After understanding this, Su Tang had told her to use this time to learn how to read.
Since Madam Zhang used to run her own restaurant with Jiang Hong in the past, she had a certain amount of experience. Thus, Su Tang decided to let her open the first branch of her restaurant here in Qinghe Town with Zhou Xiaocao for now. Once it was opened, Zhou Xiaocao would hopefully learn enough to manage it herself and that would free Madam Zhang up to go to Qingshui Town and open up a second branch of the restaurant.
Su Tang wanted to build a second branch of the restaurant in Qingshui Town because it would be more convenient for the couple to live together that way. Jiang Nian was also recovering nicely and she should be able to travel soon. It could only be said that children had a strong ability to recover.
This way, Zhou Xiaocao would be able to learn how to manage the restaurant from someone with experience. Su Tang wasn’t unreasonable and wouldn’t expect her to just know how to do things with no guidance. So long as she learned seriously, she would be able to grasp a bright future.
Zhou Dazhu and Zhou Xiaocao were even more grateful when they heard Su Tang say that Zhou Xiaocao could learn to read. In addition, they understood that Su Tang was paying such a large wage because the work that needed to be done was a lot and very tiring. But even though she understood that, Zhou Xiaocao wasn’t discouraged. She was eager and wanted to give it a try.
“Then I’ll follow your words, boss.” Zhou Xiaocao quickly entered her role and changed the way she addressed Su Tang directly.
Su Tang did not say anything to stop Zhou Xiaocao from calling her this way. She just nodded, brought out the contract of employment she had prepared beforehand, explained it carefully to her, and then finally added, “In addition to the wages I mentioned earlier, there is also one other rule clearly written in this contract. That is: when you work for me, you must keep your mouth shut and not talk to outsiders about the things you see. Anything you see or hear while working in my restaurant must stay in your heart. Never spread anything out, not even to your parents and relatives.” Su Tang’s eyes narrowed and she continued, “If I find out you have been wagging your tongue, then I will only be able to count you as having breached our contract and send you to see the officials.”
Although the restaurant basically wouldn’t have too many secrets that needed to be hidden, Su Tang still needed to make this rule clear in advance so as not to have any problems.
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