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What would you have done?

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
Here was my situation tonight (and last night, though due to Easter, we were significantly less busy)

I have to wake up for classes at 6 am, my chef is aware of this, I explained to him that school would be my priority. Tonight, he sends the dishwasher home early (trying to cut labor), encouraging me and my partner cook to team up on the dishes. No big deal right? Today was busier than expected, at 11:30 pm we finally had broken down the line, and instead of helping me with dishes, my fellow cook abandons me, leaving me with at least 2.5 hours worth of dishes. I notify the supervisor, though she is new, she doesnt know what to do. I wash as many dishes as I can for the next 30 minutes, and then leave everything else to soak, completely filling 2 sinks, with the room service guy carrying down more dishes as I walked out. The morning crew is going to get majorly screwed on this deal, I really wouldnt have minded staying a little longer if I didnt have school, but since I did, I decided that school was the priority at this time.

Was this right? What would you have done in the same situation? I know that any good chef is a great manager of labor costs, but is saving 3 hours on a dishwasher worth screwing the rest of the kitchen, not just me, but the poor morning shift that has to sort through the mess tomorrow?
post #2 of 27
I question how it makes sense to keep two higher paid cooks on in place of a lower paid(?) dishwasher in order to cut labor. Where was the chef when it came time to let the second cook sneak out without helping with the tank?

I'm not sure I would have left the dishes in the sink - but you did what worked for you. I probably woudl have finished the job and taken it up with the chef the next day in order not to screw the day crew. Probably no right or wrong here, but a better plan B shoud be in place in case this happens again.
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post #3 of 27
Thread Starter 
I think he was banking on us finishing early (which we did), and then doing the dishes in the spare time we had, which was still short of impossible for 2 people.

The chef always leaves no later than 8, the closing managers do our checkouts.

I am still uneasy, as I definitely dont feel right about it.
post #4 of 27
You probably did alright. You were tired.
post #5 of 27


I used to do the opposite when I was in school. I woulde let my school suffer because I treated work as my number 1 priority. There are always going to be things you have to sacrifice in life, you just have to accept the consequences for your actions like an adult. No big deal, school is your #1 and you will probably do well in that area, you made a decision in the situation you were given and may have to deal with some recoil from that decision. I, with dean's list A's, bowed out of school early due to my #1 priority of work, and my work life continued to shine from that point on. I had to suffer the consequences at school being that I treated it as #2. Always do what you feel is right. I think if I were in that situation I would have probably stayed and suffered lack of sleep at school the next day, that's just me though.
" Never fry bacon naked!"

" Never fry bacon naked!"

post #6 of 27
RAS1187 I think you did what you could and shouldn't feel guilty about it. It's not your fault that you were left all by yourself to wash up all those dishes and pots!

There will come a time when you can make work no. 1.

But right now school is no. 1

post #7 of 27
I wish I could feel as dogmatic about this as some of you.

But the reason RAS doesn't feel right about it is because it's one of those things in which there are conflicting requirements, and no right decision.

On one hand, school is his #1 priority, as it's going to affect the rest of his life. On the other hand, he signed on for the wages, and is expected to fulfill all his assigned duties like any other staffer.

RAS there is only one piece of advice: You will often face this sort of conflicti. All you can do is make the best decision possible at the time, and then just live with it. If you agonize over the decision you've made you'll just frustrate yourself. And it could lead to a situation where you're afraid to make decisions. So just do what you did. Pick what you see as the best choice, and get on with it.

As an aside, I really have to wonder about your chef. Sounds like he needs to reevaluate his own decison making process, starting with deciding when it's the right time to desert the ship.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
post #8 of 27

of course you were right

It sounds to me like a very badly organised rota maybe you should find somewhere better to work. dont let people take advantage of you in this business or they will keep doing it.
post #9 of 27
The fact that you feel bad about is shows that you have a concience, and you won't likely stick anyone else like you got stuck. I wouldn't worry too much about it. You did what you had to do, you were put in a bad position (you weren't hired to be the sole dishwasher) and if you had stayed till the very end you would have been tagged as someone who can be pushed around and stuck whenever it was needed.
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post #10 of 27
I would ask the chef why he's paying the dishwasher more than you, otherwise why would he send him home? In 10 years I've never cut a dish guy to make a cook finish his shift, It's just not right any way you look at it. Either the chef has an issue with one or both of you or your story is missing some details.
Keep those fires burnin'
Keep those fires burnin'
post #11 of 27
Or the chef is seriously lacking in management skills.

The fact that he leaves early every night would lead me to believe that's the case.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
post #12 of 27
tough place to be in.... sounds like a chat w/ your manager is needed. As others have said, don't cut the bottom to save labor-- if manager was devoted, should have rolled up sleeves and helped out. I too put a value on my school- I once catered a film shoot in the warehouse of our shop (hubby and I own a business) for my culninary instuctor's son (film school grad) to film his movie trailer- ran late and we worked all night- went home at 4 am and got 2 hours of sleep, and still was in class a couple hours later. Instructor couldn't believe I was there... LOL was a rough day though.....;)
Bon Vive' !
Bon Vive' !
post #13 of 27
I wonder what chef's labor runs. Yeah, pay the cooks to do dishes and let the cheaper paid DMO's go home.

I find it more effective to leave the dishes and let the DMO's come in and do them. That way there's always something to do. Some places the diswashing station is far away and you don't know what the guys are doing back there goofing off or something. Just make sure they have something to do.
post #14 of 27
Thread Starter 
The other cook and I are scheduled until 12pm, regardless of the circumstances, we have to be there until closing time and then alot time as necessary to clean up. We have to be there regardless, the dishwasher does not. If we can do both the cook's job and the dishwasher's job at the same time, he did indeed save 2+hours of dishwasher hours, and we, the cooks, are still on budget for that day. Does the $18-$20 in labor he just cut make that big a deal?? Even that question is beyond me.

The problem with this fragile idea, it was too fragile. We got rocked, not only were there alot of plates to be cleaned, but the majority of the stuff came from the kitchen after we broke down.

Overall, the chefs are not really that bad, its just the decisions like this one that make no sense that frustrate me. I really would question whether this decision costed him more then he saved, I didnt feel so bad for myself, I felt worse for the AM shift.
post #15 of 27
Personally my experience has proved to me time and time again that if my labour is in the weeds by the end of the week a couple of hours are not going to make a difference at all. in fact i run a dish washer from 10 am to 4pm and from 5pm to 12 am and 2 on the week ends if anything i cut cooks or expo's never ever a dishwasher.
post #16 of 27
So was there any blowback from your manager the next time you went in to work? Or from anyone else for that matter?
post #17 of 27
Thread Starter 
I actually go back into work tomorrow so I guess I'll find out. I would have thought that I would have gotten a phone call/message though.
post #18 of 27

O Boy

It happens some times that I do not have a scullary available at night. (I use temps to fill their leave days). In worst case scenario I would take on a simmilar person from another department hence the lodge is running on low ammount of guest. Usually in quite times it is a perfect oppertunity to do extra deep cleaning.. I would of felt too embarased if I made that call to save a couple coins. I also had to use a student once to do the cleaning for 3 days. We all helped somewhat. (good student though that never complained a bit). The point is also that everybody has their duties and shoold not be put in situations where it will effect schooling or health. Hope you got paid overtime, and if you got into trouble for not finnishing.. quitely carry on with your work and find another place to work if you sence miss use in the future. To sum up. the staff in a kitchen will be as happy as it is runned.
post #19 of 27
Thread Starter 
Well, happened again tonight, tonights amount was about 50% worse than last time. The chef cut the dishwasher immediately and the other cook at about 10pm. He gave me a little encouragement for unwillingly taking this night on by myself, then went home.

Considering this company's business model, "Take care of our employees, and the employees will take care of the customer", is it time to start looking around? I really do like the place, its just their amazing cheapness to cut labor is what frustrates me.
post #20 of 27
First and foremost, Work allows you, a home or apartment, clothes, food,
the money to go to school, so..... work is number one, at least it was for
me. I worked to go to school. Work was not optional.

Second. The obvious answer is..... a dishwasher can wash dishes.
A cook can wash dishes and cook. Towards the end of an evening in small
establishments it's not uncommon to cut the dishwasher. He or she is not
able to multi task. A cook is cheaper than a cook and a dishwasher.
Its kinda of like keeping your best, highest paid cook, who can work all the
stations and cutting one who is paid less, but, could't work two stations.
You simply can kill two birds with one stone.

If you have plenty of money and are financially secure, the you don't have
to work. Pick up a part time job. I am getting a little old, so my thoughts
are probably not in tune with what is going on now, but, when you take a
job, no matter what it is, you are in essence giving your word that you will
do whatever it takes to make it happen. To me, even more so in restaurants.
Good luck and stick to your word.
post #21 of 27
Thread Starter 
I go to school so that one day I can land a nice job. I dont want to shorthand my future just so my boss can exceed his labor cost goals.

Ehh, I think about it now, and I realize I do complain alot. I was frustrated last night and needed somewhere to vent. I just hate leaving excess work for the AM staff, as there is already enough tension between us.
post #22 of 27
We hire culinary students a lot. It's our preferred method of long term staffing; by doing so we always have a pool of future full timers.
We also do so with the understanding that school is the priority, and we do NOT permit a student to skip for work unless we work it out with their school chef/instructor first. This keeps us in good standing with the school, which insures we get good referals.

During school, they work for minimum, both cooking and doing dishes. If they stay with us after graduation, the get an immediate raise up to what we typically pay our experienced people.
post #23 of 27
True, you gotta keep your word, but didn't you write previously that you and your boss had an understanding that SCHOOL was your priority? If you, in your heart, have made schooling your number 1 priority, then you gotta do what it takes to keep it that way...discuss your concerns with your boss; talk with your instructors; look at other jobs; etc.

From the boss' perspective, he is just trying to be financially responsible AND be able to go home early--have his cake and eat it too. The problem seems to be that he has forgotten (or is ignoring) your schooling. So who is the person that isn't keeping his word? Would he change his actions if you reminded him about your schooling?

He actually sounds like a boss that I had once. He would try to keep me late, keep me off the clock to work extra free time, not permit me any breaks, let some of his senior workers slack off and let us lowerlings pick up the slack, AND THEN at the end of the day he would get mad at me as if I was the one who had done something wrong. He would go into our time tracking system and fool with the hours so it would appear that I DID get my breaks and/or left on time. Sadly, there are MANY employees that do not realize that what he was doing violated COUNTLESS labor laws. Soooooo, he just kept right on doing it and I am sure he is STILL doing it to others who put up with it.

So, my question to you is: if you discuss your concerns with him, will he change or just keep doing it? My boss, instead of stopping his actions, would try to squeeze all he could out of me AND make each little concession that he would make seem like a OVERWHELMING SACRIFICE on his part. Imagine, complying with the law was a "sacrifice" that I normally wasn't entitled to?

(it is a managerial technique formally called "stroking." It is readily used in low-paying, manual labor kind of jobs. It is where the manager attempts to make you feel special so you will do much more and better work with only a little increase in his costs--thus, he gets his free labor, and you will do EXACTLY what he wants with a smile on your face. For example, he might say something like, "I know that making you stay late is hard on you, but I do it because I know that out of all my employees, YOU are the only one who can handle two different stations." Or in my case, "Normally, I don't make sacrifices like this, but you are such a good worker, one of the best workers that I have. So, if you stay late I will go ahead and pay you for portion of that overtime. I really shouldn't do it, but you are really great and I want to take care of my best employee." BULL****!)

You said you like your job, but do you like it enough to let your education slip? Which will benefit you more? Staying late doing dishes and letting your grades slip? OR finding a new job that will work with your school schedule?

Don't get me wrong, you can learn A LOT from giving your all to your job and maybe taking a slight hit in your schooling. But if you do that, you GOTTA make sure it is for the right job and the right boss. Don't sacrifice schooling (and all the money you are paying) just so your boss can save a few bucks each night. Remember, YOU are the person who will have to repay your school loans...YOU are the person that will have to repay all the accumulating interest.

Plus, there is absolutely NOTHING WRONG with looking into other cooking opportunities. Talk to your chef instructors and see what they think of your situation.
post #24 of 27
Not everyone gets loans for school. Some actually have to work to support
themselves and pay for school AS THEY GO! Not standing up for yourself is
a personal problem. Simply say I can't, and follow up with, Let me know next
time and I will make plans to stay and help. If someone refuses to pay you,
thats a different question. Tell them thanks, but, no thanks. It doesn't take
a genius to know when someone is stealing from you, and thats what withholding pay is. If you care to sacrifice your time for the sake of learning
or furthuring you career, so be it. Accept it and keep quiet. I worked at least 50 hours a week during school, if not more. Wasn't any superhuman
feat or anything. I just wanted to complete school, it wasn't about the grade, but about the learning. I missed what I needed to because of work,
but always discussed it with my instructors. Would have liked to just go to
school, but, it wasn't as easy as that. My advice is to "suck it up".
It sounds like Ras1187 already has. We all go through times when we seem
to hate our jobs and chefs. I have always made it a habit to wait 3 or 4 weeks and see how I felt about things before making a rash decision. I have
always stayed. Good Luck Ras. I'd be proud to have someone with as much
pride in thier work as you sound like you have. Keep plugging away!!!
post #25 of 27
i read somewhere that cheffing is the third or second most stressfull job in the world... imho, its not stressfull at all, but then i never stress lol, really narks some people that i can keep cool 100% of the time.

i just have a mantra that i run through my head when the sh!t really hits the fan "oh dear, what a pity, never mind" i just ignore it and move on...

i just made the move from a professional kitchen to mcdonalds purely for 2 reasons...

#1 my place was closing for refurb and rebranding, and i needed more work
#2 my brain was tired of difficult chefs who cant manage more than 4 checks at once and stress easily

its 3:am now and i know there are people there overnight tonight because head office is doing an inspection and they are strip cleaning and detailing everything... (most likely drinking all the coke and stealing food but w/e) today no one was on grill... for some reason the entire kitchen staff bar one trainee who didnt know anything other than the chicken side dissappeared... luckily they ran through the stuff this morning and i jumped in and sorted it out

in your case (and i have been left with crap loads of dishwashing) i did it all and got paid for it, if i had school (and if i had ever put school before anything) i would have collared the chef on his way out and said "aint no way im doing all that potwash chef, i got school tomorrow... and theres nothing you can say to change my mind"

he can deal, or he can yell... his decision, yours is made... live with the consequences...

but dont let anyone ever ride you... why get off a tame horse for a wild stallion?
post #26 of 27
RAS - just wondering if the other cook is having such an attack of the guilts about this as you are? I doubt it, having abandonded you there with dish mountain. If dishes were still going to be coming in all night from room service anyway, there was still going to be work for the dishwashers in the morning regardless, just a bit more. You did what you could to help and that's all anyone should ask of you. At least you stayed.
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

post #27 of 27
Thread Starter 
Nagh, the other cook is one of those "Its not my job, I dont care" type of guys.

Its over, there were no negative repricussions, the morning chefs actually sided with me and questioned the actions of the Exec. Chef.

What can I say, another day, another dollar in this industry.
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