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telling people what to do ack!???!

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
For the past couple of months I've been working my butt off as a short order cook..
I also prep and clean the entire kitchen as I'm the only cook on most of the day unless it's particular y busy such as breakfast. It's a diner atmosphere and as you can imagine we put out hundreds of plates within hours on saturday and sunday mornings.
Now I love my job but prior I had been working on the slower or more normal paced shifts. My manager decided I was very good and that I needed to have more responsibility so she put me on the shifts with the "big boys" so to speak. They've both been cooking the tune of 20-30 years longer than me. I realize that they have lots of patience with me..some how admist all the chaos of a busy morning but they also decided that i need to call checks and tell them what to do.

I appreciate the responsibility and value the experience but i need some help or advice on this one.

I have two major problems...the one i can get over and get used to ..such as going crosseyed when 20 different tables want food and when you put out 1 check only to have 4 more arrive...

but the one thing I'm not comfortable with is telling the others what to do. I want to say please and thank you but simply don't have time to say that after every request..but at the same time I don't want to appear like I'm bossing these guys who know much more than me around. I'm more comfortable being yelled at then doing the yelling. So how do i get over feeling bossy? and just being able to get things done b/c if i could get over this I could be so so much better.
anybody else go through this?
post #2 of 11
As long as you don't go all Ramsey on them you are not 'bossing' them but just doing your job so they can do their job.

I have no kitchen experience but I do have being a boss experience, and sometimes you have people tell others what needs to be done yet are not their boss.

If you can basically run this kitchen well, and be polite about it, they will value that they don't have to worry about the multitasking that takes and can focus on what they want to do, which is obviously cooking.

Now if you start telling them how to cook and what they are doing wrong, then you will most likely have issues.

Edit:Before anyone yells at me, this post was moved here from another forum :)
post #3 of 11
Yes. Say please habitually. If you don't say "please," "dammit" is understood. Just add please to the end of calling every check, as in "clean the kitchen twice, with adam and eve easy, and flop two easy, murphy, burn 3 brits, please!" ("2 orders of corned beef hash, one with poached eggs (runny), the other with fried eggs over easy, regular potatoes (usually hash or home fries), and 3 toasted English muffins, dammit!")

You can also start the order by calling "gentlemen, please" "ladies and gentlemen, please" or "ladies, please" as the case may be.

When you're sous, on plate, at the pass, aboyeur, or whatever your kitchen calls it, only ever say thanks for a dish, under two circumstances. One if you're going to stick a napkin under your chin and start eating, and two if the cook who brought it up did something special like twelve covers in four minutes and pulled your behind out of the fire. Instead compliment the work by saying "nice job," "good work," "well done," "looks great," and only when it does. If there's something wrong, say that too. Even the best cooks make mistakes sometimes.

Accurate communication is the kitchen's nervous system. It's also part of your job so you'll have to find a way that's both efficient and comfortable for you. My advice is that when you're on the plate station, don't clutter the kitchen with BS. A little bit of banter at the stoves makes things go faster and better FOR THEM, and as the kitchen leader you should participate just enough to keep the flow going and the team unified. But it's a balance. One of the most important parts of being on plate is listening for what's happening with the food -- and if no one's saying anything that's very bad because they're not communicating. So ask questions. "Phyllis, are you working on the chives for Joe's scallops?" If she says, "No, he's not ready for the chives yet," everything's fine. As long as people are connected to one another, it's cool -- even if it isn't. At this stage of the game, they'll let you know when it's time to panic. In the meantime, stay cool.

When you've finished your shift say something like, "thanks for a heck of a shift," or "you guys kicked butt during the crush," even if it isn't true. Ask if you can buy them a beer or a cup of coffee, then schmooze them like crazy and tell them how much you learned. Considering what they're trying to do for you, "I never realized," or "I just learned," or "is that how it's always done?" etc., will sound much better than "please" to the people giving you the break.

My two cents,
post #4 of 11
I agree with Boar, the please's and thank you's go a long way.
But, sometimes you forget, or just have time to shout something out.
If anyone has a problem with it, explain to them, at a more convenient time, that sometimes you forget, and they should assume the please is there.

Also, you will occasionally find the person that doesn't come through for you when you ask them to put on some water, or whatever.
To those you respond with "I'm sorry, you thought that was a request, that was an order".

The individuals you work with will determine the tone you ultimately have to take.
I have been told it's always easier to start off rough, and ease up if your staff will allow it, and that may be true, but I tend to go the other way out of a natural tendency.
Sometimes it bites me in the butt, however, it's my style, and I think in the long run I end up with a more loyal staff.
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 11
BDL has great points of view, like always..For me the cooking, prepping, ordering are all to easy after doing it for so long its like breathing to me. The hardest part of managing for me was keeping my cool, being polite, and encouraging the team..Please and thank you are extreamely important when directing a team, it makes them feel their at least being apreciated and deep down in side no one like being talked down to..It will take practice, practice we work in a very stressfull inviorment, and being patient at all times is a hugr challenge..
By treating people with respect you will earn respect..Just practice..
Not sure if your a reader but if so, there is a book called The Four Agreements by Don Ruiz..His first chapter called Be impeccable with your word talks about what you say to people and how you say it can realy effect people, its very interesting.I recommend that book to every one.

The only thing I do not agree with from BDL is telling your team they did a good job if they didnt. More like the peanut butter jelly saying. Start off with one good thing they did, then a not good thing, then end with a good thing..
My opinion is if you tell them they did great when they didnt expect them to work that same way tomorow, and why wouldnt they , you just told them they did a great job!
Another thing BDL mentioned which is always a great idea, by them a beer, that is a big to do , for the team.

A good leader learns to encourage the team, not discourage.:rolleyes: Lead by example. Notice the peanut butter jelly thing i just did, with BDL. Thats exactly what I mean. I agree. I disagree, and I agree, sorry for using you(BDL) to get point across, LOL..I read alot of your replys and blogs and know you can handle it.
When I stop loving what I do, I will do something else: Clint Eastwood http://NewDreamCatering.comCharleston, SC
When I stop loving what I do, I will do something else: Clint Eastwood http://NewDreamCatering.comCharleston, SC
post #6 of 11
lol. I actually agree with Chefs Jim and ESG and disagree with me. I wrote "even if it isn't true," and should have wrote "even if you have to exaggerate a little." Try and keep it positive, doesn't mean "lie through your teeth." Don't thank anyone for a great shift if you feel like they gave a bad one. Just make sure to thank them for their overall effort -- as long as they gave put some effort in. Encourage, yes. Lie, no.

It's not applicable in bundens' situation, since he isn't actually the boss, but the single commonality of all the "best" bosses I ever had was that they asked for my opinion in a way that seemed as if they actually cared. On the other side of the equation, as a supervisor, you want effort, skill (or improvement if the employee's just learning), and lots of questions -- at the appropriate time. Nothing shows respect like asking "How?"

post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
thanks guys for the suggestions so far...
and i like the peanut butter jelly technique..i never really thought about positive and negative comments like that lol, but it certainly is a good idea. I have plenty more time to practice this weekend. Seems like I'm just going to have to toughen up a bit and not be such a meek and quiet individual.
The one guy that is working, is new to the restaurant (but has experience elsewhere)...he makes great food but he really just isn't used to such high volumes and I don't think he's really gotten into the groove of the job yet...he just doesn't know all of the menu very well...he also has a habit of not having his part ready when me and the other guys part of the plate is ready to go.
I feel kinda like an ***** right now for being overly critical of somebody who has been doing this longer than I...but I'm hoping that he gets up to par this weekend...things would also go a lot smoother if he was on point more often than not too..
post #8 of 11
He may have been doing it longer, but he hasn't been doing it longer there.
And that's the key.
That's where you can speak from a position of strength, and not be intimidated.

I would also like to chime in supporting the peanut butter jelly technique.
"You really excel at blah, blah, blah, but I would like you to improve on yada, yada, yada, so that when you are good at both, you will be the thing, the thing, the thing".
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 #9 of 11
AHA! Now we get to the crux of the matter. This is where your personnel management skills make a BIG difference to this employee, both for your company and his/her future.
Sorry, I just re-read that and it sure sounds scary.
Look, either that person is or is not capable of doing the job. If not, politely show him/her the door and politely say to not let the door hit them on the rear as they leave.
Hopefully, this employee can do it. Take an off day or after-shift, and buy him/her drinks and an expensive entree. Explain exactly that mutual success depends on him/her doing this exact job: and detail it in painful detail as to what you expect. Also, say that you genuinely want him/her to succeed.
Under this situation, it is hard to imagine a good employee not to respond as you desire. On your part, however, you have to genuinely believe what you say and to not simply be manipulating human behavoir.
post #10 of 11
Dealing sucessfully with this situation requires leadership. Leadership starts with you. For example, how accurate is your assesment of the employees performance or the reassons for his current performance levels? If your are reasonably confident of your assessment, then what plan of action can you create to help this employee get up to par and performing at a level you need to see? How well can you effectively communicate this plan of action to the employee so that the employee feels motivated to accept and achieve the goals of the your plan? How will you follow through with the plan to determine sucess or failure of your plan?

Leadership is not about bossing people, rather its about providing guidance, direction and communication of tasks to be done to accomplish the larger mission at hand. That communication doesn't need to be all sugar coated, sweet and syrupy, nor does it need to be like what we see on ****'s Kitchen. There is a fairly broad range between those two extremes in which people understand that there is courtesy and respect involved in the communication.
post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
well, I'm pretty sure my manager put the best she had available on for the morning shifts. The guy whose been there forever, is crazy he has many short cuts for fixing things and I really like him a, personally I like the other guy a lot too, which makes it hard to point out that he's moving ...pretty slow...
like me and the other guy put out 4 checks or so while he took a couple minutes to mix pancake batter...
i asked him for bacon...i swear it must have been 6 or 7 times before we finally ran out and then we had plates piling up without bacon..same thing happened with sausage...same thing happened with every plate that needed pancakes.

it's just that he's such a nice guy that I don't think me or the other guy knows how to tell him, he could be making a better effort. Well the weekends coming up again so...every time I go in there with an even more confident attitude
and i do think this week will be better.
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