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How is the economy effecting you?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Our restaurant is SLOOOOWWW! I will probably be the next one cut- chefs always hate pastry chefs for some reason. We posted an ad for a cook and server and recieved over 60 responses, usually we get about 5 or 6. Most people are out of work from other careers or trying to make ends meet. Its sad to tell someone no when you can see they are hurting you know?

Are you all slow as well? Usually we do 40-50 covers a night during the week and 120-200 fri and sat nights. Lunches were similar. Now we are at 8-20 weeknights and just under 100 Friday and Saturday night. I hate being slow. It is scary, I hope it changes soon.
Fluctuat nec mergitur
Fluctuat nec mergitur
post #2 of 20
really slow....non profits are not entertaining the way they were even last year.
cooking with all your senses.....
cooking with all your senses.....
post #3 of 20
Every weekend is full for the wedding season from April on...

Still blowing and going at full speed here. But 13 years into it we do have a lot of regulars. When the slow down started we hit the marketing pretty hard and it seems to have paid off in spades so far.
I am a reduction of my youthful mistakes mixed with the roux of a few adult successes
I am a reduction of my youthful mistakes mixed with the roux of a few adult successes
post #4 of 20

We're doing GREAT!

Kitchen manager at a microbrewery here. We're expanding our menu and advertising about it, although we haven't actually done anything the customers can see yet--we just had January sales (usually our lowest) that ranked up with our average June sales (usually our second-highest next to July). One Wednesday, usually a slow day, we sold an entire week's worth of food in one night! Totally screwed up ordering for weeks, and I had to run out and stock up on everything that I hadn't ordered Wednesday morning.

But people like to drink more during recessions. And when they drink they want to eat. And ordering our food is cheaper than ordering for delivery, which we currently allow. So, it stands to reason we'd be busier.
post #5 of 20
I Spy ... Restaurant Tricks II - WalletPop

Interesting read on how restaurants are adapting....and some of the publics' responses.
cooking with all your senses.....
cooking with all your senses.....
post #6 of 20
Cranky and tired. Down 8k for the month of november 08, only worked 40hrs Jan.

Not impressed. Current situation represents the results of conservative rule since 95 based on greed, fear and ignorance.

Im just surprised that it took so long. And myself along with many others here will be carrying the bag for many years to come.
"Nothing quite like the feeling of something newl"
"Nothing quite like the feeling of something newl"
post #7 of 20
I am not a restaurant owner, but rather a goer... I find that our favorite restaurants are not as busy as they used to be. We find ourselves going more seldom too, as my company freezed salaries and so we also feel the pintch.
post #8 of 20
Since the thread title asks "how is the economy affecting YOU", I'll answer more personally.

I had a great gig as a private chef for a lovely couple who owned a MORTGAGE COMPANY. Needless to say, I was laid off February of last year because they nearly lost their business. All of their private domestic staff lost their jobs, and half their agents in the Mortgage company did as well. They even put their house on the market.

After nine months of unemployment, during which I signed on with TEN agencies, sent out 140 resumes, and practically danced naked in the city streets for a job, I finally HAD to go back in restaurants. Since I started in November of last year, it's hard to say how the restaurant was affected because I don't know the numbers from the previous year. We also had a dastardly winter here in western Washington, with more snow than in two decades so our holiday business was virtually non-existent. January seemed to hold some promise but the last two months have been grim.

Apart from all that, the agencies continue to tell me that no one is hiring for private chefs right now.

Here is an interesting article in the NYT about the downsizing in domestic help.
post #9 of 20
trying to find new business has become rather difficult.
post #10 of 20
even here in austria/europe! the buisness is ***.... slow! my restaurant is doing a hard time! hope it changes soon!!

take care :(
post #11 of 20
I think we're in for another year at least. The positive thing is that in a couple of years there should be an upswing in the market and a better economy for more restaurants to open and more jobs to be created. We just need to survive till then!
post #12 of 20
Much to my surprise, things have been going great. Last year was one of our worst; we had maybe 2-3 weddings for the whole season. We lost a lot of regular business due to an incompetent Executive Chef, and our new owner was so busy getting the a la carte business started that he wasn't really able to pay full attention to the banquet operations.

This year we are booked solid for weddings, golf tournaments are actually up significantly, and we're seeing a lot of new business from outside the circle of club members who we've relied on in the past. A part of it, I think, is that we've gotten some press about the new ownership and staff turnover and this has improved our reputation. I think another part of it is that we will take smaller parties than a lot of banquet facilities (we can accommodate from 12-250, sometimes more with special arrangements), we are very flexible with the menu, and we price very competitively.

Of course, all of this is only possible since we've seriously tightened our belts and gotten ALL of the staff on the same page. We work harder, more efficiently, and take pride in what we do. I have no doubt that if we had kept going the way we were last year, I would have been out of a job months ago.
post #13 of 20
That's strange, in my area it seems like we have more business from the non-profits, particularly the agencies which run shelters and food pantries. They've added several fundraiser golf tournaments more than they did in the previous year. I think that some of these events are paid for initially with private donations though, so it may be a matter of having good connections. I doubt they'd be serving prime rib dinners to golfers if they relied entirely on state funding!
post #14 of 20
Our place is doing well all things considered. Business is down a little bit compared to last year, but there are plenty of restaurants in my city who'd love to be in our position. It also helps to be in an established highly regarded restaurant with a loyal clientele.

That said, we're also running with a smaller crew, so everyone's been tired and overworked for the last few months. Still, I do feel somewhat sheltered from the storm, and I count my lucky stars each day.

post #15 of 20
previously i worked 6 days a week, 8 or 9 hours a day + whatever overtime was needed.
this year we are only open 5 days a week, and overtime is basicly not being offered.
if you can't get what you need to get done in 8 hours, you might be working for free until its done.
it sucks, but it forces you to be on top of your game everyday if you want to get out of there on time.

all that stuff makes my checks far thinner.
post #16 of 20
lost my job 4 weeks ago, the whole restaurant closed down and unemployment is still playing games with me. wife came home with a new goat that is gonna foal soon, looks like i am now a farmer instead of a cook. whatever, worst come to worst i'll eat em.
"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
post #17 of 20
We haven't really slowed much but we did start laying off much earlier for the summer this year then last.
post #18 of 20
We have had steady revenue growth throughout the first quarter. Our best increase was in March with 12.3%. January was 3.4%, Feb. so slight it's not worth mentioning, but still up, and April 3.4% again. And we have served fewer customers. I redesigned the menu last fall which increased our per plate sales a minimum 20%, but I did not raise prices, and in fact lowered a few that were out of line. The old menu was an abomination both in design and content. It had an extensive add-on menu that was confusing to people and therefore ineffective. Instead, I packaged items such as walleye with shrimp or scallops for a set price, steak and shrimp or scallops, etc. The previous manager had tried to do lower priced entrees to increase volume, but it didn't work. In order to do it he had to bring in low quality items that don't belong in the type of restaurant that it is. It just dumbed the place down and alienated the clientele we did have. I stopped it and went back to what we normally did. Serving less people allowed me to cut labor by 17% and yeah, we're all tired from not having a dishwasher on and everybody doing dishes, but we survived. Restaurant News recently stated that industry experts believe we are approaching the end of the restauant crunch for several reasons. I told my boss back in the fall that people are not going to go out as much, but they will go out because there's always a birthday, aniversary, etc. They are going to be careful where they go as they want value for their money which doesn't necessarily translate into cheap. In order to attract that business, I said we had to be better than everyone else both in quality of product and service. I hammered this home with the staff and they have responded beautifully. Even in bad times, people will treat themselves and they can justify going out to eat as a person needs to eat anyway, so it doesn't appear to be a huge indulgence. Also, many people decided to forgo major purchases such as cars and big appliances until things stabilize. A dinner out doesn't look expensive compared to a new car or big screen T.V. Restauant News believes that since the restaurants were the first to be hit, they will be the first to recover. And my final take on the situation is people were scared over losing their jobs and tightened their spending, but you can only retain a high level of panic for so long, and then they think "To heck with it. If I lose my job, I do and I'll deal with it then. Meanwhile, I'm hungry." We ran a comment card campaign that just ended. Overwhelmingly people were very pleased with the service and food and the ones who mentioned price felt it was good value, so we're right where we need to be thanks to a staff that responded and stepped up when it was critical. We're looking forward to a busy weekend with two local college graduations and Mother's Day and then on to a hopefully busy summer. I hope everyone else here has the same. Another thing, the outside of our building was starting to look kind of shabby. Hadn't been touched in years, so we rebuilt some railings, repainted the trim and added carpet to the ramp leading in which helps make us look prosperous. Hanging flower baskets are next, which we have never done but is something I always wanted. People want to go to the place that looks like it's doing well. So even if things could be better, do a few minor improvements if you can as that indicates you are looking ahead which inspires confidence in your clientele. There's always the rumor mongers that tell people you're going out of business even if there's no basis for it, so improvements indicate you are not and the rumor monger must have meant some place else.
post #19 of 20
Its been slow. Now its busy again. The great thing about Canada, is that its economy is relatively stable.
post #20 of 20
Long nights of washing dishes, and scubbing floors(things I may not enjoy) have made work seem more difficult! Truely though things are going well! Tighter hours for staff and a requirement to fulfill your duties in your positiotn has left us still running strong. Yes we have less tables but seem to be in a good state of affairs overall. I hate dishes generally , however am completely into it, If it means I am employed! Count your blessings not your problems!
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