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Quick contract advice.

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Need advice quick!
I'm opening a restaurant for a couple. As a chef, not partner.
I'm designing the menu, helping with furniture, decor, training etc.
Things are moving quick and we want to settle a contract monday(two days hence).
The place is seventy seater(plus lounge upstairs). I'm working on a casual middle eastern "pub".
I've never been on this capacity in the states, any ideas?
Do I charge seperatly for the opening(menus - creative work) and, once it opens, monthly operation(grunt).
How do I do incenetives. Bonuses are better for sous-chefs. So do I ask for percentage. How much, what system. Any advice would be great.

Thanks guys!
post #2 of 11
Hummmm? Things are moving fast as you approach the start? or you've already started?
This situation is a little tricky for you're really needing a consulting fee and then need to hire on as the chef. Once you combine those two you kind of shoot yourself in the foot, for consulting fees are usually much greater than Chef fees.
Percentages only work if you will be part of, or have direct access to bookeeping. Keeping in mind that 16% of 0 is 0. I'm refering percentage of profit.
Percentages of ownership is a whole new ballgame. 16% of a losing month could actually make you liable or cause annomosity from the bank rollers.

If it were me,and it will be me in a few years(just consulting), I would definately split the two functions.

Their business plan should have the description of job slots, one of which you will be filling. It will also have the forcast for sales. You might have actually done this for them, I'm not sure, but review these to make sure they are realistic.Then I would ask them to come up with an incentive package for you.
I hope I'm not boring you. If the word partner ever comes up, start to tremble and turn your radar up!
The most important thing to address in any type of partnership, time agreement, or anything contractual is to have in place, a plan to disolve the agreement!!!!!!!! This is not something to be taken lightly!!!!!. An attourney is really the best person to consult on this part.
These opinions are that of the advertisers and not that of our station :crazy:
post #3 of 11

Sounds Exciting

I for one helped open a major golf course dinning facility for the last 4 years of my adult chef career. This may sound really crazy. But, I would contact an attorney that specializes in writing contracts and have my contract written for what ever I wanted. It is that simple. If you are trying to bind yourself legally with this company for an contractual period of time. Have it written up. Anything you want think you need etc have it written up.

One thing I learned about partneships and liablities is that from what you described the folks plus you the chef are operating a small private company not an LLC.There are some very specific rules in the laws written about compensation.Some as chefs we do not know. We are cooks. I would forever find myself an attorney and accoutant that I trusted and were in my stable. I have seen this in my short career. It pays to retain an attorney that is going to represent me with no strings attached. Sometimes we tend to get feelings mixed up in the mix.

I deal with owners and people of this daily as a chef. I am not telling you something you do not already know. Business is not about being nice. It is about making money. Retain an attorney to do your financial work and make your contract legal.
post #4 of 11
Hiring an attorney (a good one!) is good advice but takes time. Do you have an accountant that you trust? Mine has helped me make many a quick decision, and advises me on not only legalities but best long term approaches.
I agree to seperate your consulting from your cooking. There might be "standard" contract on the net to copy, but make sure to taylor an employment contract to your situation specifically, even if it is hand written. Include everything you can think of (like: rights to/payment for receipes developed, time off, minimum/maximum # of staff under your responsibilty). I was given good advice when I began making contracts, and that was that the main purpose of a contract was for all parties to TALK about all aspects of involvement so that everyone has a CLEAR idea of how things will proceed.
Good luck in your endevor.
post #5 of 11

Silent Partner?

From what I gathered is that all is well in this mutual "hand shake" agreement. I will be the first to tell you. Bull. I do not know this for sure but you might have a silent partner.

Advice I do know. Most all owners have financial backing do have attorneys. Good ones. That know the laws and know the system. Most owners sometimes have silent money partners as well. That are highly prepared to the "T" with hot shot attorneys that will, and I will say this again they will take what they feel is theirs. Without asking your permission.Period.

So, not from a nasty standpoint, but to be firm and protect yourself and the term here is "legally" you do not want to break anyones legs type business. I would dare say your partnership has lawyerd up I would dare imagine. I would go to the board room prepared to have someone with the shareholders money to sign my contract then I would go back to being friends. Remember running a business is not about always being nice when money is involved.
post #6 of 11
I have personally been involved in a partnership, and silent owner, silent partner. Worked my way out 13 yrs ago. I have two of the best business attorneys at my disposal. I also have a personal lawyer. I have Mr. Schulman, a CPA with a Masters from big ten university. I learned.
The most important(repeating myself) part of any contract or agreement, is how to break or disolve the agreement. I would say this is 80% of the contract. It's really the only important thing that can come up with the agreement.
I am now my Corps silent partner.
post #7 of 11

Just Cooking!

Yeah, I am just a cook. But, there is one thing we have to undersatnd as cooks and chefs. Like I was trying to saying.

When a Chef starts getting envolved in the money making aspect of the business. I have learned there is always someone else extra dealing in the partneship than we are not told about. We as the Chefs I mean all of us included that never see all of what is going on. I do not say these things like silent partner to scare, implement, or downturn anyones hard work. But, I have just seen myself included never fully seeing the full picture until it finally plays itself out. I for one never go into a situation again thinking my best interest is being played here unless I ask for it in the contract.

Explanation: I was hired to oversee the private kitchen of a small private college as the Executive Chef. Basically feeding 900 students a day. After a long interview process the management of the shcool decided to call me back to finalize all the plans to have me start working as the Chef. I nailed them to the wall because something was telling me not agree to this, and that was what I was taught to do, and I agree with it.

I asked them to write in a contract everything they were supposed too,for agreeing to take the job.If you're serious show me because I am.That is why I am sitting in this office. Come to find out when the VP of operations secretary drafted the letter he signed it. I recieved the letter stating : Under no circumstances does this contract convery any type of contractual employment. It clearly stated however they would agree to pay me an salary plus any benefits associated with the position. Of course I called the management back as clearly said to them this is not what we talked about.

Furthermore, I concluded the convesation with them very quickly and have had no more dealings within that facitliy.
To me it was a very quick fix.Sometimes I think upper tier managers try to stick to us Chef guys. Especially when starting a new gig.
post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 
The good and bad part of this deal, is the the owners are young. They managed a place, but never opened or owned.
We had a handshake agreement of the following. 3500$ a month for the first three months plus a preopening month. Benefit package to be discussed. After the those, once thing get cleared, the contract would be renegotiated, with monthly going up to about 4500$, and possibly an incenetive plan. Something on the lines of 20% percents of percentage bellow goal kitchen expenditure(30% food cost + 15% staff).
All of this would be put into contract form, and might change.

I don't have a lawyer. They seem very honest. Probably out of naivity and youth. Not morallity! I'm going to check for quiet partners. Anything else I should be wary of?

Good advice so far! Thanks!
post #9 of 11

Hope for the Best

I am sure you realize the situation you are in up there with no real legal contract agreement. I think that is great being involved. Good for you! This is really an employee at will situation. Meaning the owner/owners could legally terminate you without any notice.

If I had not seen a contractual agreement stating all inclusive for an extended period of time. That I signed and have an original copy.I would begin working with the thought in the back of my mind what is next?

When I was younger I used to always look at a position and ask those seemingly important questions. Do I have this? Am I going to get this? Now a days I just want some real truth. Then I begin work. No problems.
post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
Not to worry, a contract would be written and signed before actual work begins. It would include most of the input from the forum here.
post #11 of 11

My Input

This is a good situation for you. I bet you are real excited. I know new openings always bring a bit of spring back into those tired legs.

Wow that is really great. Seriously, I have been right were you are sitting. You really have a chance to give back and do a good for the reputation for the Chef's in your community.It always feels good to do the right thing. Somehow situations always workout the way they are supposed to.

The main thing is it was handled with dignity.
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