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Employee Help Please

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Me and a freind who is having staffing dificulties were talking this over yesterday, and it made me think..
What are your views on this...

My freind owns a gastropub in yorkshire (england)
His second chef (Paul) is lazy, irresponsible, a compulsive lier, although he is loyal, freindly, and when ever the head chef has droped them in the kahki by not turning up paul will allways be there to help.
His Head chef (Carl) is an amazing chef. But he is Unreliable, allways on the lookout for another job and has unofficialy handed his resignation in 4 times and is not contracted either.
These two argue and it is making the working enviroment hard to stand for the manager.
Now in normal circumstances I would fire them both and re hire all of the kitchen staff (all two of them :suprise:) but this is not possible as there are no staff around in this season, so one will have to stay...
What would you do?
Who should have the P45
post #2 of 12
Enlighten us over here on this side of the pond please. What is a gastropub? What's the menu like, hours of operation, and budget? Is the food made from scratch or is some of it prepurchased?
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
Sorry.. A Gastropub is a public house (Pub, Tavern, etc) that produces better quality food than the usual steak and ale pie etc.
The menu is seasonal and has emphasis on the coastal location and the times are from 12/3 and 6/9
All food is made on location except for some of the deserts.
post #4 of 12
I'd say you have to pick the reliable liar over the unreliable talent.
At least you know the evils of your second chef and can predict and plan for them.
And you know you can count on him, both for the good and bad.
Your talented chef will leave you hanging, and i don't care how talented someone is, if they aren't there, how much good are they doing you?
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
post #5 of 12
1sr rule of work: Show up.

The guy that shows up gets work done.

The guy that doen't show up should be released.

Now if the lazy, irresponsibe sous is absolutly no alternative. you indeed have a problem. Perhaps he is percieved that way because he lives in the shadow of an odious chef?

He seems to perform well when chef is not present? Makes one wonder no?
Risky, but maybe the second would become more responsible and more industrious if the weight of the chef's title were suddenly bestowed upon him. maybe not, but it's a possibility. You know these two. I'm simply providing perspective.
post #6 of 12

Gastro pod

I tell you, my opinion...:

I would speak with the # 2 and pay him for a weeks vacation, get him off the property, with the stipulation he not communicate with the #1 Chef, but be reachable.

Force the # 1 to get in and get the job done. If he flakes, quits etc. no shows he's history and has done it to himself.

You call the #2 and know where you stand with the #1.

Then you write clear expectations of the #2 , give him a bump, have him sign off on the new requirements of his employment and title, then require he hire someone to train.

Keep an eye on both...a theif is worse than a liar, liars can cook theifs screw you!.

Or just cut the chord and let the #1 go and get it over with. The situation comes from the top down.

post #7 of 12

drop kick the head chef!

i am of the thinking that if someone in your employ is always making noises about walking(quitting), then he/she will...and most probably when you need them the most!...maybe your chef thinks he has you 'over a barrel', that you rely on him too much so he thinks he deserves more latitude than others in the kitchen..i don't think there is room in a kitchen for either of these chef's behavior but if i had to choose i definately agree that you should keep the reliable not as accomplished talented sous chef...(he can always learn), over the unreliable, prima dona chef...he will stiff you, just when its more convienient for him...let him walk!..or...perhaps you could talk to the chef and YOU put HIM on notice... i have been in situations (seasonal restaurants, far from town), where you just need a body and take what you can get..not a good feeling...what is a p45 anyway?

food is like should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne


food is like should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

post #8 of 12
Someone who is threatening to quit always causes disruption.

If it is said to me or to another employee, who passes it on to me; I take it on immediatly.

At the first opportunity, I walk over and say "I understand you are telling people you are quiting, is that today or how much notice are you giving?" Humbles them immediatly, they get the message that I'm not afraid of them quiting, and I'm willing to deal with it. They are very careful of saying it again.

Unless I'm really fed up with them, then I just say "I understand you are quitting and this is your last day, be sure and leave a good address to send your last check to." I turn and leave, giving them no time to answer me. These usually instances feel good for some reason and as if they are long over due.
post #9 of 12
Make them both drink tea and gravy till it seeps out of their eyes lol

on a serious note

i like this reply;
Insured By The White Mafia, Hit Me And They Hit YOU Harder
Insured By The White Mafia, Hit Me And They Hit YOU Harder
post #10 of 12
2nd chef seems like your best bet. Give him his reins and you may be pleasantly surprised.
My son runs a business, bit like Gordon Ramsays Kitchen nightmares, but he goes into a place and stays for 2-6 weeks to get it back on its feet again. has a bank of reliable staff to call on and a reputation for getting the job done. Not saying you should hire him but I'll ask him what he thinks too.
"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
post #11 of 12
Lets see now... The Chef has tried to quit 4 times and the owner is still there with open arms welcoming him back... No wonder he's pulling this kind of crap, he has no respect for the owner. Hindsight is always 20/20 I guess.

If it were me I'd "officially" ask the Chef what his intentions were--to his face. If he wants to stay, great, but if he pulls another one, out he goes. Even if you have to shut down for a day, out he goes. Might be painfull, but it's even more painfull to have an employee you are paying for who thinks he has you over a barrel. To make the #2 in charge is a no-brainer, but you need some kind of leverage on him, he's seen the #1 pull this kind of crap 4 times, and just might get the idea that he's indispensible if he's officially in charge. We don't want to encourge this, and besides you'd still be down one man if and when the #1 invariably pulls another one off. Since manpower is scarce at this time of the season, If I were the owner I just might roll up my sleeves and put some time in the kitchen--eyes and ears open, maybe slim down the menu temporarily, buffets one or two times a week instead of a la carte (temporarily) and all the while be on the lookout for more staff. A big motto of mine is "Change is the price of survival"

I'm not a big believer in contracts. I've worked in enough Union places to know if someone is working there who doesn't want to work, you MUST get rid of him/her at all costs before he/she infects everyone else.
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
post #12 of 12

Enough is enough

First of all I hope he keeps good records of when he does not turn up.

Make sure the 2nd chef has all the recipes and knows how to execute them.

Document everything and let him go.

I could go on and on about the effects of staff members like this.

If the 2nd Chef is unsure if he can handle stepping up I would start the process over again. I am an owner operator and do not have the skills necessary to be a chef and I feel his pain!!

Last year I hired in an independent Chef for 2 months to re-build our menu. It was fine, we were booked up a week in advance but I had a gut feeling that the kitchen was not running as effectively as it could. It was the best move I have made.

We re-hired, re focussed and now a year on we are doing better than I could have hoped for.

It's an expense, yes but the benefits are massive.
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