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Why working more than 8 hours?

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
I have read on this forum that many chefs stay, for example, 10-14 hours in the workplace.
Why not only labor 8 hours? It is not more healthy?

:confused:
post #2 of 29
Though I haven't been in the business as long as many others on the board, I beleive I've been in long enough to get a few of the basics down. I beleive the reasoning for the extended hours is 8 hours isn't enough. Between food orders being placed, put away, preping, menu work, employee issues, dealing with sales reps, doing food orders, repeating yourself to make sure you didn't forget anything... And suddenly, you've been working since 6:00 am and its now 5:00 pm. It just kind of happens, or that's what I've seen.
"A brave man likes to feel the rain on his face." "Yeah, but a wise man knows when to get in out of the rain."
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"A brave man likes to feel the rain on his face." "Yeah, but a wise man knows when to get in out of the rain."
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post #3 of 29
hahahahaha

i work 8 hours a day.


Twice.


every day.

given the choice, i would only work 6 hours a day.

twice.

every day.


i guess life's not perfect.



Erik.
post #4 of 29
There are many options in the food world than owning a restaurant. There just seems to be more of a comradeship amoungst kitchen crews. Long hours typically low pay are par for the course....owning and operating your own business generally means you put more than 40 hours a week into it. If you have a restaurant you are probably open for business 6 days a week with customers at least 30+ hours a week.....

As a caterer I have business days that will run 16+ hours and others that have very little going on....As a farmer's market owner/pr/marketing I work all week for 6 long hours on Sat. morning. And when there are events there are no days off for awhile. When I was personal cheffing it was 8-3 Mon-Thurs typically (shopping, cooking in someone's kitchen, menu planning)....
Teaching and consulting take alot of time/energy most don't see....the planning, prep, recipe writing, review of projects, advertising, etc....

*8 hour days 5 days a week are generally when you're punching a time clock.

I was married to a corporate atty. for the first 10 years of our marriage he worked 80+ hours a week. So it doesn't matter what profession you're working...if it's a profession and not "just a job" you're self motivated to learn more about what your doing....
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #5 of 29
I hate to say it, boblovefood, your zipper may be pulled up, but your ambition is showing...
If you have a steady 9-5 job and want to do some cooking on the weekends and evenings, 8 hrs a day is feasible. Owning a business as your sole source of income, no matter how small, is alot of responsibility. You're not guaranteed a paycheck every two weeks, matter of fact the only thing you're guaranteed is uncertainy. From your business you will have to pay overhead, fees, permits, and other expenses (transportation/delivery mode?), as well as inventory for the business itself. THEN you have to have some kind of a cash flow to keep on working even if no cash comes in for 3-4 weeks. This is no joke Then there's the rent for your home, living expenses, and if you have family, the kids and thier expenses. A lawyer could achieve this by working 8 hrs a day @ $200/hr, but sadly, very few cooking professionals can charge this kind of a rate.

Like the others in this thread who own a business, I work alot more than 8 hrs a day. In the first two years of my business, when things were hanging by a thread, 14 hr days were the norm--7 days a week. Mental and physical health were put through the obstacle course, as well as our marriage. If I didn't give everything I had, none of the above would have made it, and that wasn't acomplished with a 40 hr work week. After the third year, when things balanced out a little, we were able to take "holidays": two whole days off every time a long weekend came around! It was only in the 7th and 8th years that we could afford to take more than 4 days off and actually go somewhere with the kids.
I think the only thing harder than the food business is farming...
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #6 of 29

it be nice

Wow i normaly spend 12 14 hours in the kitchen at 6 to 5 days a week. even in chain resturants it was 11 10 hours. the jobs got to get done
post #7 of 29

working half days....

I loved Erik's statement...it reminded me of a plaque that I used to have in my office...it contained a quote from Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonald's (or longtime CEO or something like that) it read:

"The secret to success in this business is in working half days,
I don't care if it is the first half or the second half...."

As far as homecookingx.com or whatever in heck it was....this is a board to promote our passion for our industry and learn from other individuals that sweat and bleed in the kitchen....not to listen to commercials about your website...

Don't tell me your website and I won't tell you mine...

Cheffy
Trying to make a difference one palate at a time...

Want some more Cheffy Babbles????????
Cheffy's Blog
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Trying to make a difference one palate at a time...

Want some more Cheffy Babbles????????
Cheffy's Blog
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post #8 of 29
....Amen!.........
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #9 of 29

On being driven

If you really want to accomplish something, setting a time limit to it is silly. I worked a couple of 8 hours days last week, I called them my days off.
If no one will follow you, you can't be the leader.
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If no one will follow you, you can't be the leader.
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post #10 of 29
What would the Mona Lisa Look Like if Leonardo worked in shifts with his Apprentices? If Alexander Gram Bell only worked 8 hours a day we may have a network of fishing string and tin cans to communicate. If Doctors only worked 8 hours a day the average life span would not be into the mid 70's like it is now.
I am not comparing myself to any of these great men and women who don't punch a clock but simply stating that things happen 24/7 and if you only put effort into 8/5 you are 128 hours a week behind.
Being a Chef is a passion not a job!!!!
post #11 of 29

Nice 1st post bud

I couldn't agree more.
If no one will follow you, you can't be the leader.
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If no one will follow you, you can't be the leader.
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post #12 of 29
I've done the sixteen hour day routine for many years on and off.
The problem is not with expecting less from yourself. But thinking of the effects of that on the somewhat less all out career oriented cooks in your staff.
Even with my passion, working those long long hours seven days a week, ended burning me up. Make everything about the place aggravating. The echo in the walkin the smell in the pantry. Soon getting into fights with owners, servers and lamb racks.
Many places i've seen lately, keep the cooks on twelve hour, four day shifts.
you get the efficiency of good long work days. With the added bonus of refreshed cooks who don't leave after three months. Not every restaurant can do that but it looks like a good plan to me.
Over to you.
post #13 of 29
shahar...bang on

thats why id love to work for ramsey at claridges, theyre closed saturday and sundays.
post #14 of 29
On my externship I did 14 hour shifts.

Then at my first paying gig, I was fortunate that the restaurant owner wished to be efficient with the staff's hours. My longest shifts was on the weekend when I did 9 hours. Once in a while 10 when we had a party or special occasion.

Mark
Salad is the kind of food that real food eats.
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Salad is the kind of food that real food eats.
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post #15 of 29
Here Here, Completing the daily goal and being ready for the next one is a shift.:chef:
http://www.frappr.com/chefsunited
One time a guy pulled a knife on me. I could tell it wasn't a professional job; it had butter on it.- Rodney Dangerfield -


'We're ALL amateurs; It's just that some of us are more professional about it than others'. - George Carlin
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http://www.frappr.com/chefsunited
One time a guy pulled a knife on me. I could tell it wasn't a professional job; it had butter on it.- Rodney Dangerfield -


'We're ALL amateurs; It's just that some of us are more professional about it than others'. - George Carlin
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post #16 of 29
I usually do 9-10hrs per day and roughly 6-7hrs on Fridays when we close earlier. If the kitchen gets filled with catering orders though or if the chef is away from training, I'm in like 7am all the way to 8pm. If your busy, you barely notice the time as your too preoccupied to worry about it.
I hate though that doing those long hours, your feet kill but they don't hurt so much while your still working and running around, not until you decide to sit then your feet just lets all the pain loose!
post #17 of 29
You know what, I hate working more than eight hours. I have learned that I would rather have more time to be my own. I am no chef, I am no manager. I am a cook, an hourly employee that is discouraged from working over 8 hours. I almost feel cheated, or that I'm wasting time if I am there longer. I feel like everyone in the world is waiting for me to get off of work. When I am there longer than I set my mind to be there, I don't get into it. Some people have fun with it and thrive off of it, but it only makes my work more sloppy because I want to get out of there. I don't know if I ever want to be a chef, or a manager, or a restaurant owner. I know there are certain freedoms that come with this, but it will also become a HUGE part of your life. I'm a huge advocate of doing something that you like for a living, but I don't want it to take over my life. People say that it is the business, and I agree, but it doesn't mean I have to do it. Does that make sense? Any words of wisdom?

It's been a long couple of weeks at work, and I lose weight when I work like that. I just don't eat, and it isn't good for me. At school we each had one week to fully manage a restaurant run by the students, and I lost 5 pounds. I don't think it's for me, and that's okay. As long as I don't have to work in an office. I need to be around food, even if I don't eat it. I almost feel stranded or in a desolate place if I'm not around it (like when I wait for my car at my mechanic's shop). Also, when I'm at a party and there is only chips and dip or god forbid no food at all. Who are these people? Make better food!!

I feel so paragraph-y tonight and I'm going off on all sorts of tangents. Anyways, Season's greetings!:crazy:
Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read. - GM
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Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read. - GM
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post #18 of 29
I guess its the nature of the beast but I haven't seen more than a handful of 8 hour days in the past 5 years. The job has to get done and you can't punch out at 5:00 when there is a catering party going out hot at 7:00. Most folks don't understand what kind of effort it takes to run a restaurant or catering kitchen. There is a lot more to it than cooking.

Most weeks I work are 6 days long and 9-10 days unless it's the two weeks before Christmas, then it 14 straight days and 11-12 hour a days. I worked the longest shift I ever work this year. Started at 3:00 p.m. on Dec. 23 and finished up at 10:30 a.m. on the 24th - 19.5 hours. Welcome to the catering business!!!

As for my health its much better now. I no longer have time to chase women, hang out in smoke filled bars or get into trouble!
Bill
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Bill
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post #19 of 29
hours,days,minutes, they all scare me. I always told myself that if I ever start to calculate hours,days, I need to punch out for good. TG that has not happened yet.I never feel like I'm going into work. also, owning a business with your spouse makes it a part of your life.
I find it harder to schedule time away. NOT!;)

Never! Live To Work!:::::::Work To Live!::Life Is To Short!!
Paninicakes.com

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Never! Live To Work!:::::::Work To Live!::Life Is To Short!!
Paninicakes.com

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post #20 of 29
I just cooked a holiday party for 30....
spent one day collecting ingredients (every Italian in town was in line at Volpi's for 3x5# of thinnly sliced meats) United Produce was hopping and out of shtuff, every store I went in took so much longer..... then Dec 24th started at 7am-11:30pm.....my body feels it everytime.....it's my knees and lower back not my feet. One of my best clients has a cement floor in her party barn and it's murder.
pulled it together enough to clean up around the house and have Christmas dinner for 11.....

Now if I'd quit thinking it's really ok to make one boche de noel......really stupid!!!! The amount of time it takes for me to make, decorate (including scrubbing the dye off my hands from the marzipan) and cleanup NEVER equates to what I can charge.

I love what I do.....or else I'd never think of making a boche or checking out produce or hand selecting the cheeses or walking through a wholesale shop to see what they've got or visiting farmers.....this is what makes it fun for me.....life is just too short to spend it doing anything other than what makes your heart sing.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #21 of 29
Food and a kitchen is like Money and Las Vegas, In neither do you need to keep track of time.:chef:
http://www.frappr.com/chefsunited
One time a guy pulled a knife on me. I could tell it wasn't a professional job; it had butter on it.- Rodney Dangerfield -


'We're ALL amateurs; It's just that some of us are more professional about it than others'. - George Carlin
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http://www.frappr.com/chefsunited
One time a guy pulled a knife on me. I could tell it wasn't a professional job; it had butter on it.- Rodney Dangerfield -


'We're ALL amateurs; It's just that some of us are more professional about it than others'. - George Carlin
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post #22 of 29

hoops

On long shifts(those sixteen hour marathons) I found it easier to treat it like a basket ball game. I break it into quarters. Then I don't think, gee ten more hours to go, but, hey to more hours to half time. Time for my thirty second dumpster air break out side!
post #23 of 29
If they would only pump in some pure oxygen to the kitchens:eek:

Never! Live To Work!:::::::Work To Live!::Life Is To Short!!
Paninicakes.com

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Never! Live To Work!:::::::Work To Live!::Life Is To Short!!
Paninicakes.com

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post #24 of 29
Not to mention scantily-clad, well-endowed cocktail waitresses slinging free drinks!
post #25 of 29

8 hours, :):)

Hey,
there is nothing wrong with 8 hours, good for you. The fact is that if you have a responsability job, 10 is more reality.

On the other hand, an old chef told me once, "a chef that works 60 hours a week is not normal, there is something wrong with his management skills and organisation skills"

I can tell you, by experience, I had this job as a kitchen manager, long story short: I took care of the back of the house and this girl the front of the house. We both made the same salary, but she had been working there for 7 years and me 4... I work my *** off and she felt like she needed to do the same, but she kept saying "why are we working so hard, you know that the boss won't give us a bigger bonus this year, it's always $200"

well, I explained to her that if the boss gave me $200 for all this extra work and sales I was doing, I was going to quit right then... December came, and we together created new sales account of $70,000 total. The boss gave us $2700 each, the girl just about passed out:):) Ok, this does not happen everywhere... But I knew the boss enough to know that money would speak for bonus.

Learn to organise yourself, learn to create sales$$$$$ and you will get paid for it.
The fact is, 8 hours is pretty rare in creative type jobs, unionized maybe, but top restaurant like 5 diamond, it is almost impossible. You need to chose waht you want for your career; creative or not... and that may tell you how many hours would will be expected to do at work....

read my book "My Daughter wants to be a chef!":
www.thechefinstead.ca/beachef.html

ciao

Laprise
Martin Laprise
Author of "My daughter wants to Be a Chef!"
www.thechefinstead.ca

“A cook who invest a few bucks every week is a smart cook"
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Martin Laprise
Author of "My daughter wants to Be a Chef!"
www.thechefinstead.ca

“A cook who invest a few bucks every week is a smart cook"
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post #26 of 29

hours vs payment

Long hours and continually working days on end is the nature of the business. Yeah, Doctors and Attorneys do the same with ONE BIG DIFFERENCE! They get paid for it. Did you ever notice what an Attorney charges by the hour? $200 is the standard hourly pay after you pay the retainer fee. CHefs or kitchen employees are nowhere near this. We can put the same hours in but we never get compensated. This is why when I interview some starry eyed culinary graduate that can't get over themselves; I will tell them exactly what I expect from them. If it is a problem then I won't hire them.
David
Hard work never killed anybody but it sure has scared a lot of them.
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Hard work never killed anybody but it sure has scared a lot of them.
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post #27 of 29
Eight hour days are awesome.

Roll in at eleven, make sure people are working, yell at the food guys, go over charts, cook some lunches, cook my own lunch, eat lunch, have a beer, write specials, muse over future menu ideas, get the lunch crew flipped for the night crew, make sure they get their stations together, knock out dinner rush, leave after the first turnover in capable sous chef hands.

11 - 7 for life, dogs.

You "owners" are a bunch of suckers.
post #28 of 29
Geez, I hope your owner/chef doesn't read this, or you'd be scouring the "help wanted" pages by tommorow....
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #29 of 29
The owner knows exactly what's going on.

I set up a system in which the kitchen runs smoothly.

I make sure that system is kept in a functional state.

****, if I work ten hours a week and the kitchen is still running smoothly and making money, everyone is happy. I am, unfortunately, unable to pull off such a task. But I find that working a rough forty (almost never more than fifty) hour week is more than enough to keep operations running at levels we want to see them.

Here's what the owner cares about:

1. How are sales?
2. How's the food?
3. How's labor cost?

Luckily I don't work for someone who can't help to look at the schedule and think... "Well geez, if I just made my salary employees work 80 hour work weeks, I'd save like two grand a month..."
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