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How small is your staff right now?

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
Im a chef for a major hotel chain that served breakfast, lunch and dinner, along with weddings and regular banquets. I had two breakfast cooks, one lunch cook, two dinner cooks and 4 dishwashers total.

December of last year new owners took over the hotel. Everything was fine, they even bought me some new toys and plates. Couple months later they asked me to start making some cuts and that I should work some line spots. I said sure no problem, I kind of missed the thrill of working the line. So i choose to work saute and knocked my grill person down a few hours. Sure it made my job a little bit harder due to weddings and banquets, but it worked.

Then they told me that the grill person needs to go and to cut the dishwasher down to 3 days a week?! This is where it started to get messy. I was alone at night, but I could still bring in the morning cooks to help with weddings and what nots. Ohh i also had to be the dishwasher for 4 days a week. I forgot to mention, at the hotel we give a free plated breakfast to all hotel guests, so we have two servers and the two breakfast cooks to keep up with the rush. It gets busy for breakfast, cause everyone wants a free hot breakfast.

Now everything is fine for a month or so, excpet for my attitude. Mostly due to not having a dishwasher. When I would have a large party and bust my butt to prep and cook it then have to go back and wash all the dishes for it.....I screamed a few times in the kitchen that Im a fooking chef not a dish dog! I already did my dish dog time years ago, dont get me wrong I have no problem washing dishes, but come on! So they sit me down again and tell me that I need to make more cuts... I laugh and say where? Im already alone at night, all I have left is a busy breakfast and lunch. So they make me lay off the lunch cook and Im now the lunch cook as well. Fine! Ill work lunch too, but I got them to give me my dishwasher back to work all events.

Another month goes by, F&B is doing ok. We hold are own but the hotel is suffering, not getting enough rooms to pay all teh bills. So here we go again, they sit me down and ask for more cuts. I said there is nothing left to cut, and they said to me and I kid you not....."we need you to cut your breakfast cooks and you need to work breakfast 6 days a week. We will close the restaurant on Mondays for your day off" Rage filled my head, and I told them that there is no way in **** that I will do that, not even if I was an owner would I do that. That would be a quick trip to the grave yard. So when I come in the next day, they decided to close breakfast and just offer a continental breakfast that will be maintained by the front desk staff. I laughed, they dialed phone numbers to lay off teh rest of my staff.

Now Im completely alone. Well I still have my dishwasher at least, but I'm all alone when it comes to cooking, prepping and all other chef related duties. Every weekend since then I have had weddings, dinner mystery events, etc. Last night I had do a plated event for 100 people. Two different mains, salads, dessert, plus 20 mins before I started plating my dinning room filled up with regular guests....It was a kitchen nightmare and I think I have had enough. Im going to explode in the weekly meeting this week and demand that they hire at least a part time weekend cook. But Im sure it will not happen...

So, anyone in my shoes? My shoes are tired and worn out=) I feel a big fat raise is due or at least some overtime pay for all the paid postion spots I have to fill daily
post #2 of 28
I would tell them that you have the perfect solution, and are willing to make one more cut.
Then grab your knives and leave.
They don't deserve you, and will never come back around.

*Edit* I would of course secure employment elsewhere, but ultimately I think your only solution is to not work there anymore.
More money is nice, but you'll get used to that very quickly, and the things that you don't like will still be there, and you'll be just as frustrated.
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 #3 of 28
Thread Starter 
Side note, I was not a paper chef before all this happened. The line cooks were only line cooks, clock in and cook. I did and do all the prep, from cut steaks, fish, soups, sauces etc. Had to clear that up=)
post #4 of 28
Sounds like the place going down and maybe out for the count. It is there responsibility as well as yours to keep quality of place up. You cannot possibly do it like this. I would agree with the above answers, look for something else and do it fast. These guys want to get their investment back to fast and on your back.::lol:
CHEFED
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CHEFED
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post #5 of 28
Its easy to say screw it and walk out. You said the Hotel room occupancy is down. Thats the area that makes the money. The Hotel Room sales are the driver of profits. The problem is they don't give you enough info to understand the whole business. You are in charge of Food and Beverage and thats what you do best. It looks like the cow pie is hitting the fan. Hotel room Sales are down, the breakfast is a give-a-way, and the new owners only know thye are loosing their shirt. They are trying to cut labor in the only area they could. Putting all the pressure on you and taking it off of them. I would make a schedule for the kitchen that you could live with and still help them accomplish a labor savings environment. You need to work a schedule that is fair to you. You need to hire people to help you accomplish, the dishwashing, catering and your time off.....If they don't agree with this, then they will have to run the kitchen with a cook. Its not your fault the economy is ditching, but you can only cut your labor so much......Good luck...Bill
post #6 of 28
We made some serious cuts too, all the prep cooks and all the part time guys, the cooks now sweep and mop the floors and do the night cleanup as the dishwasher have been cut back as well. It was nice to see they did all the firing over the phone.
I am due a bonus tomorrow that was promised last year, I will most likely get screwed out of it too.
Fluctuat nec mergitur
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Fluctuat nec mergitur
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post #7 of 28
It's a losing battle. I don't know why the new owners wouldn't start to make some serious effort in promoting banqueting and catering--good clean, easy money, or failing that, promoting their dining room a little more aggresivley.

Fecal matter falls in a downward motion. Chef walks out, staff is gone, Murphy's law kicks in and a tour co. or a function will crop up. 24 hrs to start from scratch. You can get the senior waitron to put out the cornflakes and make the coffee, but then what? Wouldn't want to be there or see who/what they hire.

So you see, you are in a bargaining position. If/once you go, they got diddly-squat for food. See what you can get out of them--it won't hurt one bit, because you know what your alternatives are.
...."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 #8 of 28
If I were you I'd get while the gettin' is good. The writing appears to on the wall; the place is in serious trouble. You'd be wise to secure other employment before you 1) flip out and go nuts on them & get fired or 2) come in to find the doors locked.
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
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"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
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post #9 of 28
That's pretty messed up man. I didn't think it possible of any hotel management to think they could run a f&b operation like that.

Over here, we have a small hotel (200 rooms), and prior to the economy slipping we had the following for our day to day operation:

2 opening cooks, 1 opening dishwasher, 1 opening supervisor, 1 mid-shift cook, 2 closing cooks, 1 closing dishwasher. If there was any banquet prep to be done, we also had a prep cook for that.

We now run with:

1-2 opening cooks (depends on projections), 1 opening dishwasher/steward, 1 mid-shift cook, 1 closing cook, 1 closing dishwasher.

Our hourly staff was cut from 18 to about 10 in the past year. We have actually coped pretty well though. The chefs spend alot more time in the kitchen than they do in the office, so that helps compensate for the missing staff.

Oddly enough, I have been getting OT for the past month now and nobody seems to care. I got 4 hours, 6 hours, and 10 hours of OT in the past 3 weeks. From the looks of it, I am gonna be getting 6 this week. It doesn't make sense. The chef is fully aware of my schedule, which you think would make him try to rush me out ASAP, but he usually has me stay an extra hour or two to do minor prep or cleaning projects that really are not that urgent. He asked me to come in 2 hours early today so he could go catch a White Sox game with the Sous. *Shrugs* I'll take the OT if he wants to give it to me, but of course I'm still curious.
post #10 of 28
Sometimes it's cheaper to have a bit of OT vs hiring another cook that will expect to get at least 30-35 hours. Not a bad thing for you!
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
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"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
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post #11 of 28
Id say you should get out there. Its gonna burn you out.
What you could do is start doing the shortcuts, but that just aint fun... But to me it seems like its they who makes you do it. You cant work breakfast, lunch and dinner + all the prep if you want everything to be done from scratch. You're screwed if you keep on like that. And what about your life outside work. Girlfriend, wife or kids?
All your OT is more expensive than hiring another cook, so their solution is making the place more expensive, unless they're not going to pay your OT.
post #12 of 28
Thread Starter 
I will never do short cuts, just not my style. I still love food 100% so for me to cheat it would make me feel like a loser. Very single at the moment, 6 days a week kind of ruined my last relationship, but thats the biz in general(bad for GF's). Im salary, so OT doesnt apply for me that is why Im worked like a mule.

But a chef friend of mine told me he received along with other sous chefs about 5k in overtime pay. This was about ten years ago so I dont know if the law has changed. If you are a manager of some type and work paid postions then you are entitled to OT pay if you work more than 40 hours. Example, he was the chef and was paid a salary, then the owners cut a bunch of paid postions and he picked them up. So someone called the labor board and they did an investigation of the place and teh owners had to pay him and the sous chefs a lot of money for overtime pay.
post #13 of 28
I agree, it has something about being proud of your proffession and your skills... It is exactly what it is, cheating. And it has nothing to do in a real kitchen, just like the setup they give you. But you wont last if you keep on going like that. Some day your body is going to break down, and when it does, it may take months to get back to where it was.

O.K., you can do it for a couple of months, half a year, hopefully more, but do you want to pay the price?

Working from breakfast to night just aint good, and it's going to affect the quality of your product, and you over time. At least that's what it does to me.

Just my thouhgts, and I can understand your frustration, and hope things work out. To me it all sounds like a last death rattle from the hotel...
I'm impressed you're still even there.
Good luck anyeway.
post #14 of 28
I had a situation where I was paid a salary, titeld Assistant Kitchen Manager, and then worked 90% of my time on the line.
When I left I was succesful in getting back paid overtime through the labor commission.
Different states have different laws, and I'm not even sure what the law is locally now.
Worth looking into, but if the business folds, it may come to naught.
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 #15 of 28
edit: I made a penis joke that was inappropriate. Well thought out, but inappropriate. Sorry. Just being silly.
/levity
post #16 of 28
How small is my Shaft Right now? :crazy: It all depends if you ask me or my wife ... Sorry.
inappropriate. And just being silly too.:D
post #17 of 28
Thread Starter 
Wow! Ok I bet no one has ever had this happen to them. So I go in today and the GM tells me we need to talk. Ok... I get laid off along with the wedding planner/F&B manager. Well I sort of get laid off, I have the choice to work 2 days a week(fri & sat) at my daily salary rate; I tell them thanks but no thanks, funny that is when 99% of all major parties have their events.

So two hours pass and I get a phone call from the GM asking what it will take for me to come back....HAHAHA! I tell him my full pay and I will forget this whole thing ever happened. He went to talk with the owners and see what could be done, so he calls me back and says 10k less a year and I take over all of F&B...HAHAHA! From handling all liquor, banquet staffing, all the front of house along with my already crazy life in the kitchen! I tell him no thanks and said to him " You want me to come back after two hours of being laid off, then take over another persons full time job for reduced pay?" I maybe stupid at times , but come on!

So back and fourth we go with trying to strike a deal. I made my final offer which inculdes a slight pay decrease, but I will have two days off in a row. I would tell them to piss off, but there is nothing out there now so....I wait and see.
post #18 of 28
Tolja you were in a position to bargain. Now make a grab for those go-nads and squeeze on hard.....
...."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 #19 of 28
Hang on a sec.....squeeze, but don't squeeze in the wrong places.

Bargain, but plan to exit--in one way or another--within the next 18-24 mths.

Odds are that once the place stops bleeding red ink and starts to make some moderate progress, they'll turf the Chef, and get some 2nd cook to replace the Chef. Who needs a stinking Chef anyway? If they're any good, they can leave the kitchen, and the kitchen should be able to run itself for another 6-9 mths without a Chef. If and when things start to slide downhill and stink, you just get another Chef--for 6 mths or so-- to clean up the mess, hire the right people, make some new menus, and then turf that dude so you can coast for another 6- 9 mths.

Then again, I could be wrong. I hope so....
...."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 #20 of 28

Alternative idea

I work at a hotel of around 200 rooms. It is 'seasonal' open from April thru December and is dependent on the summer season and tourists primarily. The hotel has suffered monetary setbacks due to the state of the economy this year - rooms not filled, dining room not filled and banquets way down. We've suffered with less staff and hourly staff hours cut back - as have many other resorts. One option - if the owners are willing to listen - is to hire culinary externs to fill in the void. yes there is a responsibility to them but they also provide a valuable labor force at a most inexpensive pay rate. Something to think about. Wishing you luck in your efforts.
P.S. - what the owners are expecting from you presently is totally unreasonable and you must be careful to watch out for your own health and well being - nothing is worth that aggravation. There are other positions out there that would be much more worthy of your skills and talents.
post #21 of 28
holy mother of pearl!
speaking from experience a little???:lol:
post #22 of 28
I understand your pain. I am now the the chef/line cook/dishwasher. It started out with just cutting my line cook. Then they started in on my dishwasher. This is when it gets old. When you have to prep, cook, clean the line, and wash the dishes. Then when that is done and everyone else is going home I am mopping floors and taking out the trash. Dont get me wrong they call in help for the weekend rush, but the rest of the week its mostly me and the owner who plates while i cook.
I am really tired and stressed most of the time, but I am happy to have a good job overall. Really its the dishwashers man. I just need a dishwasher/prep/floors guy. Yup thats all I need.
I hope it all works out for you!
post #23 of 28
I started at a new corporate place three months ago. We were all hired at the same time and what they neglected to tell us (but was rather obvious) was that they had overhired for all positions. They did the first round of cuts around the time we opened and then at least inthe BOH did another round just recently so now we have our staff.

So we have.. two full time fruiters and two part time fruiters, four line cooks (and of those four I am the only one who can do all of the stations on the line as well as some of the fruiters stuff) also of the four line cooks I am soon to be the only full time one and I am the opening cook, an AKM and a KM (the KM can do everything on the line as well as fruits, the AKM not so much) and we have three on the lunch station.. all part timers. So we went from 30 in the kitchen when we first started down to 13. Wow!
OK ... where am I going?.. and WHY am I in this handbasket??
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OK ... where am I going?.. and WHY am I in this handbasket??
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post #24 of 28
Well, we have the "Chef", the FOH manager, waitress, line cook, garde manger, saucier, dishwasher, kitchen helper, janitor, busperson, bookkeeper, hm, I think that's about it.

Oh? Number of people? Just my wife and myself ;)
Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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post #25 of 28
But you two make it work right?
OK ... where am I going?.. and WHY am I in this handbasket??
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OK ... where am I going?.. and WHY am I in this handbasket??
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post #26 of 28
Absotively and posilutely!

On a typical "slow day/night", I console myself while watching the staffs leaving other restaurants by remembering, "we're NOT writing paychecks!" ;)

Yeah, we get "slammed" once in a while and wish we had some additional help, then we fill out the "bank deposit" and say "its all ours!"
Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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post #27 of 28
LOL.. my last job was at a small place and I loved it. the owners would fill in where they had to but neither could handle the cooking so my job was secure
OK ... where am I going?.. and WHY am I in this handbasket??
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OK ... where am I going?.. and WHY am I in this handbasket??
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post #28 of 28

i feel ya buddy.

i work for a very large hotel, that serves b-fast, lunch, dinner ,weddings, room sevice, and bar menus. plus has a full bakery.

in july of 08 we had.
3 breakfast cooks
2 lunch cooks
5 dinner cooks
12 banquet cooks
6 dishwashers
4 bakers
2 salad cold prep guys for banquets
an exec chef
an exec sous chef (me)
an exec banquet chef
and as exec pastry chef.

now we have
2 breakfast cooks who also do lunch, and they work part time.
3 dinner cooks and they are all part time
3 banquet cooks who all get overtime
4 dishwashers 2 part time 2 full time
an exec chef
an exec sous chef (me)
an exec banquet chef (me)
an exec pastry chef (me)

i have a line supervisor, and a bakery supervisor and thats about it.
i work like 60 a week..and had my quarterly bonus taken away..(which was a large chunk of my salary i might add).. and was told there was no money for raises in my last review.

i am not complaing though
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