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Could use some advice

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Hello all

I am 21 years old and have only been cooking for 5 years. I started out as a dishwasher at a quaint restaurant called the Willows and since then cooked in many restaurants gaining more experience and even training under a couple red seal chefs.

I recently noticed that the Willows (first restaurant I ever worked in) Was under new owners so I quickly handed in a resume and was hired on the spot. Withen 3 weeks I was made Kitchen Manager and I even re-made the menu adding in some of my own recipe's because frankly the menu they were using was rather dull, consisting of three steak choices, liver, veal and chicken fingers.

Anyways to the point. I have had a couple other jobs where I was in charge of a kitchen on the line, but have never ran a kitchen before let alone create my own menu. The menu is only a couple days old but people are enjoying the new food items.

My problem is keeping staff. There is only one other cook besides me and he recently claimed he can not work due to injury, which i suspect is suspicous but who knows.

My question is to the professional chefs. Have you ever had troubles keeping staff or finding reliable employees? And if you had what did you do?
I find my self working 13-18 hour days, covering breakfast, lunch and dinner, plus trying to keep my self prepped for the new much larger menu.

Any advice or oppinions would be greatly accepted:D
post #2 of 11
Who hasn't had this kind of trouble?

Its a fact of life in this business given the nature of the work and the nature of people attracted to this work. At the place I am right now the annual turn is ~60% and the boss thinks that this is pretty good.

Short of changing your managment style, there is not much you can do unless the bosses are onboard.

The best way to reduce turnover is by hiring the right people. There are more experienced people here that can expound at length on this topic.
post #3 of 11
If your bosses aren't backing you up with proper help, I'd give them a little warning myself. Where I am now is totally screwed, changes made by new management has at the very least doubled the workload for 70% of the staff and not all are playing ball with it leaving the few chumps including myself to pull the extra dead weight, the few new staff are much too slow, and theres still not enough staff to cover everything all day leaving a few of us chumps again pulling doubles. I'm sorry but for $11/hour and breaking a few labor laws, this is an unacceptable work condition. Not to sound like I'm just B&C'ing which I'm sure it sounds a lot like right now but it doesn't make sense to me that after talking the whole summer about these changes, implementing them only within the past 2 weeks and still not finished, and haven't hired any replacements let alone extra help, you can't expect a handful of people to pull through just because the big cheese wants a little more in his wallet by saving a few bucks in labor.
If management can't properly support you, they'll take advantage of you as Mr. Nice Guy even if your on good terms with them...especially if you're on good terms with them. If help can't be found and kept during a 2 month period, I'd give them my 2 week notice.
post #4 of 11
Hey in Canada you're supposed to call it "labour" :crazy:
post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
Well for your situation, I would agree, giving notice would be a good start.

For me on the other hand, I am the management of the kitchen. The owner does do her share, she cooks in the kitchen during the hours I cant be there, but she also has the rest of the restaurant to look after, bills, paperwork, cheques to sign, plus she has to watch the front staff including waitress herself. But she seems to think the two of us can do it for as long as required even though working from 6 am to 3 pm then taking a 2 hour break and working from 5 to 9, 7 days a week isnt fun :P

I get paid a salary so my boss feels no guilt by over working me, because she doesnt have to pay me by the hour... Im just hoping I can find some 'good' cooks soon because the last one we had complained all the time, and spent too much time trying to make changes to the kitchen when he never even did the work he was supposed to. He even would send tables away half hour before closing, which upset me quite alot
post #6 of 11
Even on salary, you should have time limits and/or time off compensation if you ask me. Being on salary does not mean they can make you work 24 hours a day, unless you say it's ok.
post #7 of 11
That has been a constant battle in every kitchen I've worked in. The payday binger's to the lazy pot smoker who I can never seem to motivate but serves his purpose....It's easy to find help, but not good help. Through attrition and perserverance you'll find that happy medium, motivate the ones you can, cut off the dead weight and keep hiring untill you have the staff you want. At the moment I'm still working 17-18 hour days but I find life is more bearable when I begin to surround myself with more competent help. Hang in there, we've almost certainly all been there at one point or another you'll pull through eventually just as many others have..:talk:
post #8 of 11
Hey in Canada you're supposed to call it "labour" :crazy:[/QUOTE]

Oui monsieur!:p
post #9 of 11
Yeah well I hate that stupid red dotted line thing pointing out spelling errors...STUPID AMERICAN vs. CANADIAN SPELLING...WHY CAN'T THERE BE 1 ENGLISH SPELLING STANDARD?

ahem...*takes a deep breathe and exhale*

Out of curiosity, between you and the manager, who is in charge of hiring newbies? Sometimes a local culinary school has a job posting board, I use to use HCareers.com when I was job searching...newspaper postings rarely attracts even decent talents or hard workers, usually people who are desperate for something fast that'll bring in their 2 week paycheck then leaves. Are you still networked with some of your previous fellow kitchen staff at your other jobs? They could probably at least hook you up with someone they know.
post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
Well I am in charge of hiring kitchen staff, and I already tried contacting a couple old cooking colleages from other restaurants, they are either unavailable, or people I wouldn't hire to work for me lol.

I was in luck today though a cook dropped off a resume plus turns out one of our dishwashers is a really good learner and Im training him in my own style to be a breakfast line cook. So my staff problems may be remedied after all
post #11 of 11
perhaps you could very sweeeetly :D ask your lady Manager for some sort of 'overtime payment' until the situation sorts itself out?
What is patriotism but the love of the food one ate as a child? ~Lin Yutang
What is patriotism but the love of the food one ate as a child? ~Lin Yutang
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