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Motivation for cooks

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Could any other chefs share some ideas on motivating cooks.
post #2 of 5
A foot!

sorry i couldnt help it.

A chef instructer of mine told us we should fire 1 and it will get hte people that care motivated and those who dont let them go anyway
post #3 of 5
I have always been a fan of incentive based performance.

In order to do this, you must have tangible accountability systems in place.

You also have to specifically identify the weaknesses you are try to improve upon.

Is it ticket turnaround times? Assisting in other stations when they are being slammed?

Is it simply showing up on time?

Attitude, laziness etc?

Each issue might have it's own solution. I have found that proper and in-depth training can solve a lot of problems, as well as a detailed list of responsibilities.

I used to have an extremely talented saute guy who was the ulimate high maintainence employee. (Think babysitting/mom)

Nobody could rock that station during $5000 hours like this kid could. But I also couldn't get him to show up on time to save my life.

I pulled him aside one day before opening and told him that I thought he really had management and trainer potential, but I could even consider promoting him unless he got his act together. Show up on time, help your fellow line cooks when they are slammed and your not. Do your proper close and pretend you're happy, even if your not.

I told him that if he did all this for one week, I would give him a $1/hr raise.

If he continued to do this for 3 months, I would give him another dollar and promote him to AKM.

After 6 months, I promoted him to AKM. This was almost 9 years ago, and he's been the KM for the past 4, doing a stellar job and making almost $50K and never been happier.

That's just one example, but it really depends on the environment of your establishment, the quality of your labor pool etc.

I was in a very tough labor market, and any one of my cooks could have worked elsewhere for more money (and some did) but they always came back eventually because I treated them with respect and fairness and gave every hard worker opportunity to advance.

Cat Man
post #4 of 5
I totally agree with what cat man said. He has really good advice. Set a plan with the guys, and reward them for following it. Be consistent, and reward good performence quickly.

You should also make sure the goals are clearly communicated to your employees. I had a poor experience with one chef that kept changing plates and recipies, but he would only tell one person, and then I'd get reamed for unwittingly doing it the other way. It got sooo bad at one point the house sig salad and a couple of apps were completly different depending if you got it from lunch shift or dinner shift.

You'll find a lot of what the books call situational managment. Different Strokes for Different Folks. Personally, I like to be corrected in a short, clear, non personal way; "Hey Buddy, your messing up! Do it this way, not that way"

Always popular are the "Random Acts of Kindness". Grill guy kicked ***? Slip 'em a shift drink, day off, or close out his station so he can take off early. You can get half price movie ticks from Pacific Theaters (they call'em Group Activity Tickets), these are good for people with kids.

One story I heard while in culinary school, involved a chef hiding $20 bills in spots that never got cleaned. After the dishcrew found the first two, the rest of the crew got into the action. They even cleaned out the fridge compresser looking for the cash.

Set up a reward system for the dishpit for keeping breakages down. This will save you a bunch of money! Those dish guys are in charge of a lots of $'s of stuff.
post #5 of 5
I agree with all points the others have posted along with a couple of other things.

A team is only as good as it's leader and lead by example.

Also,it can take time to get a team together that clicks and that are all individually strong and motivated.There are some people who are looking at just the paycheck and some who really give a crap about The Big Picture.

Only twice have I had the "Dream Crew" and we couldn't put our finger on why it worked;it just did.One night we switched stations and my God,it was a mess.We went back to the original line-up the next day.We recognized our strong points and weak points and adjusted accordingly.

we were also treated very well,had input on the menu,would be allowed to go-for-broke on specials and would be thanked every shift for coming in and doing our jobs the best we could.Sometimes being told "I appreciate your hard work,sweat and passion" can mean more than money.
"Sometimes people can be oh so dense"

The Pixies
"Sometimes people can be oh so dense"

The Pixies
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