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No scandals in restaurant pay, study suggests

The public was ready to lynch some executives because of the humongous bonuses they earned last year on Wall Street. But Main Street should have few problems with the cash compensation of restaurant leaders, according to a new Technomic study.

The Chicago researcher found that officials of the 60 publicly owned restaurant companies as a whole were granted scant increases in cash pay for their work last year. The median income for the group rose only .04%, or 40 cents for every $1,000 they earned for 2009.

Revenues for the 60 concerns rose 3%, and net income rose 21%, Technomic noted.

It also pointed out that compensation for the restaurant executives didn’t stagnate, with the median package for 2010 rising 8.4%. But most of the increase came in the form of stock options and incentives.

"The industry gets high marks in terms of aligning the compensation drivers with the company objectives and tying compensation with meaningful performance," said Darren Tristano, Technomic’s executive vice president.

The pay for CEOs of public restaurant companies ranged from $21.7 million to a low of $97,000.