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My situation has changed

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
My Executive Chef left us suddenly the middle of last month.
Middle of holiday banquets, Christmas, and with New Year's Eve, our busiest night of the year, just around the corner.
He just got fed up one day before a banquet, grabbed his knives, and left.
So, being the Executive Sous Chef, I naturally made sure everything ran smoothly, doing everything that was usually delegated to me, as well as everything he would usually handle.
I had hoped they would offer me the position, but became worried when they posted the opening everywhere; newspaper, employment office, etc.
Well, today I accepted their offer for the newly retitled position, Chef/Kitchen Manager.
The wanted to do away with the Executive Chef title, and signify to everyone that it was a management position ( I know, who didn't already get that?), mostly for internal purposes, and I wanted the title Chef to still be there, mostly because of the respect of the title, and because vendors don't call asking for the kitchen manager, and people with compliments or complaints always ask for the Chef.
So we compromised, and it looks like I'm holding two positions.

So, a nice little boost in pay, a newly installed incentive program, and a small immediate bonus as well.

The big difference will be that my Chef always had me to delegate to, as well as another Sous Chef (used to be 2 others), while I'll just have myself for the time being, as my remaining Sous is transferring to table games.
So I get to do everything.
Yippee!
:D
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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post #2 of 13
Sucks to be that good, don't it...:lol:
post #3 of 13
No, it sucks to be taken advantage of. The owners clearly saw an opportunity to save quite a bit of labor dollars. In the end, you will work yourself to death, as if we don't already, and will get completely burnt out and probably leave. Maybe like the old Exec. did, and it will end up costing them in the long run.
It's Good To Be The King!
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It's Good To Be The King!
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post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
I missed the part where they clearly saw an opportunity to save labor dollars.

And I am fully aware of the evils of this place.
I do not feel taken advantage of.
But I'm not all grins and giggles either.
Burn out ahead?
Possibly.
Maybe even probably.
Been there, done that.

And we all know there are no guarantees in this business, from them, or from me.
If a better opportunity arises, one that makes sense for me to pursue for the betterment of my family, then I'll pursue it.
But since I have no immediate plans to move on, and I feel good about the way the company has treated me for 5 1/2 years I've been here, and also because if I didn't accept the position they'd just have me take the responsibility on an interim basis, I made the right move in accepting it.

But thanks for wading in with the negative viewpoint, as if I was a rookie and hadn't already thought of all the pros and cons.
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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post #5 of 13
Whoa, hold on there China Jim, Montelago isn't being a prophet of doom and gloom, but there are a few things I need some clarification on.

The first is the Exec. What would cause him to up and leave in the middle of Christmas season? Overworked? Yeah sure we all are, we all expect to work 80 100 hrs/week in the last three weeks of Dec., it's a given. But this guy pulls this stunt, and it won't make him popular because of it--at east not in the immediate 500 mile radius. And the timing too, January ain't exactly the best time to land another Exec Chef job. So what caused him to do the Hari-Kari? Food and labour costs? Or something else?

The second thing is the labour issue. You write that there used to be a total of 3 Sous and one Exec. If I understand your post correctly, now there is only you doing the job of 3 Sous and one Exec. Quite a drop in the ol' labour cost, don't you think?

The third is the the title thingee. I don't know how big the place is, how many F&B outlets, but with 3 Sous and one Exec, I'm guessing a brigade of at least 15. So you're telling me that the management now wants a kitchen manager supervising 15 staff? Kitchen managers are for corporate run chains--corporate designed a'la carte, Sysco reps doing the ordering for you, not for larger places that do mega-banqueting. And then there's the management doing outside advertising before they even started to consider you. You didn't say what the position was that they advertised for, but I'm guessing it wasn't for a kitchen manager. So now they have this new position made just for you--just in time for the slow season too...
...."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 13
Thread Starter 
Okay, clarification time.
The F&B that was brought in about a year and a half ago never liked the Exec. Chef, and made no attempt to hide it.
Very condescending towards him, no respect.
I'm sure one of the reasons she felt that she could get away with treating him in such a manner was that she had me.
Not tooting my own horn, but I am capable, and have always felt respected by everyone in the company, including the Casino Manager, CEO, etc.
He left because even after working through a **** day, he was still talked to as if he was an idiot.
When I have similar days, with similar problems, I am spoken to in a respectful manner.
The reason for the decrease in Chefs is that when the F&B came aboard, one of the first things she did was raise the prices, drastically.
The old system had us as a loss leader, a draw for the casino.
Upon her arrival, we were told we had to be a profitable department.
Of course, the customers reacted in a predictable manner.
You don't go from 600-700 covers a night to 100 or so and still require the same amount of leadership or staffing in general.
I have about 40 people on staff, including dishwahers,
We currently have the buffet, a snack bar, and a seperate production crew for the newly remodeled lounge.
We also have banquet facilities, although we are pretty much through with the season.
The job posting was for Executive Chef, which was a mistake on HR's part.
I was told almost immediately after the former Chef's departure that while they would be filling the position, it would have a title change.
HR is a poorly run department, mostly because the manager, while having an MBA, is the dumbest educated man I know.
Awhile back we had a slip and fall in the walk-in freezer, and his documented solution for preventing this in teh future was to install rolling racks, like he'd seen in libraries.
What?
So we attempt to move racks with thousands of pounds of food on them, on a floor where the grip is already questionable?
Let alone the fact that this is not something that is currently in production.
I wonder why?
And he still suggests this from time to time.
As far as the title of the position, we've all seen this before.
Management calls the top position various things, and some of us shake our heads because when we hear the title we expect different duties or qualifications than what the person holding the position actually possess.
I told them straight away that I wasn't overly concerned about the title, merely the respect that the position be given.
They wanted Kitchen Manager, I wanted the term Chef to be there, Executive or not.
We reached a compromise.
In the end, I get paid the same and have the same responsibilities as the former Exec, so I have no issues.
They have nly realized a labor savings because I am short my former Chef, and my Sous is leaving in the near future.
I am currently interviewing Sous'.
But I am a realist.
In this area, this will not be a quick process, so I will be short handed for a period.
This was not a orchestrated plan to save labor.

I only took offense to his post because it didn't question the situation but stated as fact what that situation was.

This is not a positive comment, it is an assuming, negative one.
I'll take offense to it every time.
I respect his right to his opinion, but he was off base and I called him on it.
I'm not saying that he won't eventually be proven right on part of it, but it's way too early to state it as fact.
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 
I want to add that if the posts intent was to read more like "have you thought of?" or "be careful because maybe", then yes, I misread his intent.
But I read it as dismissive of all prior opinions and statements.
I think maybe it was because it starts off with "No", and then goes on to state that the situation is "clearly" different from what is presented.
The work yourself to death and eventual burnout part I would tend to agree with, but as we all have experienced that, it should go without saying.
I've read his posts, and have respect for his opinion, I just took umbrage with this particular one.
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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post #8 of 13
I meant no offense by my comment China. It was not a dig on you at all, but the recognition of a scenario that we have all seen many times in our business. Management has an unexpected departure, and they drag their feet on replacing people. It just makes fiscal sense, especially during the slow season.
As far as the title change is concerned, It seems as if it doesn't bother you, which is good. I know that if my title were changed to K.M./Chef, I would have a real problem with it, especially since I run multiple food outlets like you do. That is the essence of the Exec. Chef job. All I was trying to do is say beware. A whole lot of FOH people from floor managers to F&B's and Ops Directors see our job as expendable, and our positions as easily replaceable. I like to think that they are wrong, because we all know how hard we work compared to most of the rest of the world. I'm happy for your promotion and hope that all works out well, just don't let yourself be a doormat.
It's Good To Be The King!
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It's Good To Be The King!
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post #9 of 13
Hmm..that HR guy wouldn't be the same one in a hotel I worked at who wanted to put in a smooth one-piece s/s floor in the walk-in because he felt it would be "easeir to mop and keep clean rather than that horrible aluminum checker-plate floor"...

We hear you, China, we love you and want everything to work out for you. Good to know you got the previous guy's salary and are getting more staff to fill the holes. The F&B sounds like a fright however, I'd be wearing brass-bound-teflon lined-cast-iron underwear and secret spy glasses with the little mirrors to look behind you when talking with her though....
...."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 #10 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks for responding Chef.
I guess I misread the intent of your post.
I agree, ours is an undervalued trade.
Many do think that because they can manage to make a box of Kraft macaroni & cheese at home without setting the kitchen on fire that they are culinarians, and can easily do our job.
All they see is the cooking aspect of it, and don't realize the talent it takes to keep a pack of rogues and pirates functioning like a well oiled machine.
The title change?
Sure, I wish they had kept the original title of the position.
And if I had held the position while it had that title then yes, I would resist the change.
But they retitled it prior to offering it to me.
I feel fortunate enough that they let me at least have some say in how it was titled.
They were never going to give up the "kitchen manager", so I have to live with that, but I feel it's a small victory that the title starts with Chef.
I'm no doormat, but I am a diplomat.
Years ago I wouldn't have been able to stay here for this length of time due to me being unable to filter my thoughts before they reached my tongue.
The one good thing is that the F&B and I have good, open communication, and it's honest communication.
We pull very few punches, and are able to move forward after disagreements.
My former Chef and her just clashed, plain and simple.

But yeah, keep a watch out for a future post from me about sudden homicidal tendencies.
:D
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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post #11 of 13
I agree with this position totally, and I suggest you be extreemly careful in your dealings with your bosses.

YOU will be expected to deliver the goods, and you will. But YOU musthold them to the letter of their word, making very sure that ANY commitment/promise/agreement made is clearly understood.

In short, watch you back. Especially since you have no sous to assist you in deflecting cheapshots and backstabs.

Lastly, remember how you got the job. Now there is nothing wrong with this, it happens often, and I have moved up the same way.

You were still standing when the other guy fell down, burned out, or screwed up. You didn't get it because you are handsome, speedy, clever, or a brilliant chef. Though you may be all of those things and more.

You got it as you were there, you were a known quantity, and an easy out for management wishing to avoid the actual work involved in a hiring process.
Be very wary of hollow praise.
post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the words of caution.
I've been through this situation before at other places.
I know what I'm in for, both the good and the bad.
I can't control how they choose to operate, so I am wary.
One reason I move up in this fashion is that I usually have so much respect for my Chef, if not for the person, then for the position, that I never try to backstab them to obtain their position.
If they leave, whether of their own accord or not, I try to have made myself so invaluable that I am the logical choice as replacement.
My Chef's tend to delegate pretty much everything to me, so I am capable of running the department while they are still here.

Oh yeah, the job will be even more demanding, and we'll see how I hold up.
Cheers.
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 

My situation has changed *update

Well, it's been about 10 or so months now.
A few things have changed.
I hired 2 in January, but let one go last month.
He wasn't working out, and I had the tough decision to keep him on to get through the upcoming holidays or get a replacement in here and trained before the banquets really start.
The one who is still here is working out great, and I have another starting at the end of this week.

We've also taken on another venue.
The Rancheria had built a gas station/convenience store, with a diner.
The original manager left, and we took over the food aspect.
Since then, we have remodeled the diner to include a deli.
It's a nice walk across the parking lot to get there from the main kitchen, going to be fun this winter.

Also, I received a raise as of this last pay period.
Overall, things are going well.
Still the same headaches as before, with a few new ones, but as they say, I knew the job was dangerous when I took it.
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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