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scheduling ramblings...

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
One of my duties as AKM is doing the schedule and while I'm trying to get everyone on a steady rotation I've been told by the KM that our labour costs are horrible so we have to cut hours. That is fine but I have some issues around that.
I have to give full time hours to the KS who is a mega slacker while I have to cut hours for some cooks who are really good workers. The KS was appointed by the one owner who does not see much of what goes on in the kitchen and the owner who does is less than pleased and both the KM and I have said that he was not our first choice for someone to be in charge in our absence. (the KS is the kind of guy who likes to position himself so the owners see the little work he does and he is a good talker) The other thing with the KS is that he is also the opener so if I cut his shifts either the KM or I have to open so with him I am stuck between a rock and a hard place. (time to train some openers, I know...)
So this is what I am working with.. 4 people Monday-Thursday (the one owner will be in the kitchen Thursdays as a floater and he is my extra if we get killed but I need to talk to him about that so I may have 5 in on Thurdsay), 5 Friday and 6 on Saturday and Sunday. That means that people in their downtime have to haul a** and get the prep list done and there is no room for slackers. I need the strongest people in on the weekends as that is our busiest time, and the weaker ones will be for the slower days.
I think I have my bases covered but if you guys have any suggestions I'd love to hear them..
oh. and as for slackers including the KS.. what do you do with them?
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post #2 of 11
I would use early outs for the KS.
If they balk at being scheduled for shorter shifts, then just cut them out early with a "It looks like we'll be okay".
Since you need them to open, trimming their hours at the end of the day seems the most viable short term solution.

But someone needs to speak with the owners, and that someone has a higher position than you.
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post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks Jim.. and agreed the chat with the owners needs to come from higher than me. If I take it to them it will look like p***ing contest and this dude is already going out of his way to make me look like the fool as he wants the authority. He does have it in him to be a good KS but he needs to work on his work ethic and Iam not shy to tell hiim that...
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post #4 of 11
Let the slacker rise or fall to their own level. I'd have written prep lists for everyone on staff. Set the expectations clearly, then you will have tangible ammunition to make your case about who is an efficient worker and who is not.

I was Executive Chef at a large hospital with union workers, while I was a contract foodservice employee. None of us actually worked for the hospital itself. The union people were incredible slackers while budgets were being cut and vacation allowances increased. At one point, I had more PTO accumulated for the staff than there were hours left in the year! It was ridiculous.

Anyway, I set clear, written expectations and everyone was graded and records kept about the percentage and quality of the work that was completed. This way, it didn't look like a personality conflict with certain people. Plain and simple, you perform at 60% while the other guy performs at 80%.

When you come un-emotively with hard evidence, you avoid some of the pissing contest, and strengthen your position as a manager.
post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks, Todd.

I am going to let him be the master of his own destiny and let him either rise to the occasion or spiral into well.. you know. It's my hope that he can rise to the occasion but time will tell.

And speaking of unions.. a friend of ours years ago worked at either GM or Chrysler in Oshawa ON, and he was part of the union and worked his butt off only to be told by his co-workers on the line that he needed to slow the pace down because he was making them look bad. He couldn't get over that and got himself a new job asap!
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post #6 of 11
Yeah, there's a lot of that attitude out there. I've had so many people that interviewed like they were going to be the best employee ever. Once on the job, the intelligence used to convince me to hire them now is spent on putting in the hours with the least effort.

I worked a government job as a kid raking leaves. The old-timers would tell me to slow down, "this job needs to go into overtime".
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
Maybe I'm just getting old but I was raised to believe that you had to work for what came your way... period end of story and that is how we are raising our kids. The younger generation that I have come across (and by younger i mean a worker in their early 20s ) is that they seem to have this sense of entitlement that just was not there when I was growing up and making my way in the world. (and yeah I am in my early 40s) I have met my share of boot lickers in my time but for the most part that has caught up with them.

With this one guy I am at a loss. Today I had to tell him that magazines were not allowed on the line and I had to remind him to put on a hat and hairnet and he had been serving food sans hair restraints for at least an hour before I arrived. ack! I am going to be speaking to the KM about him and I think it is time the KM take him aside and have a serious conversation with him and I do think a verbal warning is in order. (and this is the person we have as KS) I'm also thinking it is time to re assess his status in the kitchen... while he is very good at barking out orders, he is not so good at doing what he is asking people to do. But again that has to come from someone in a higher spot than me.

I was so angry this morning I was beside myself. We get our big order on Thursdays and yes I am AKM so I have to oversee it and make sure everything is there and in the process I do some rotating and organizing so the job has fallen on me. I am fine with that as I've learned that if I give the task to someone else I end up having to go in and rotate the fridge etc, so best for me to just start sorting and rotating from the get go and ask for help when I have things ready to drop in. Well I did that and did you think the KS lifted a finger?? (it was just him and I on the floor at the time) In his defense he did have some orders when I asked but when I specifically said .. when you are done with that I need help... and yep he didn't do it. He found some busywork for himself so I told him to drop that and set up the rest of the kitchen.. it took three reminders for him to do it but he finally did. By then I was seething but I took it out on the floor of the walk in and well it is sparkling now.

I did the schedule I had to do and I do not feel good about it. The KS who does not deserve full time hours has them and even balked at his hours and I am glad he did it when the owners were in the back. He is in for me next weekend so he has to be there for the duration of the day just like I do so he cannot open. He didn't like that and said that he would change that when I said... no you cannot, the KM depends on me to be his right hand on the weekends and you are KS so you are in for me and you will be filling my role those days and so you have to work my hours. He said... well I don't think you should do the schedule without the KM... (uhm it is my job and I do it on his direction) to which I replied... we discussed everything at length on Monday and I am doing as he wishes plus in his absence I asked for owner approval and I was given a go to post it, so it is as it stands... He didn't like that and stormed out of the back. After that exchange both owners came to me and told me I handled that well and stood my ground in a calm yet authoritative way. Normally I would not have gone for owner approval but I knew he was going to challenge me on the staffing levels and his hours so I thought I'd best have that base covered. I already got approval to do a bare bones staff and it was up to me to decide who was best in on what days.

If it was up to me the KS would have had to work for his role as I did for mine, and well he needs to maintain it and I am sorry but his current behaviour is not reflecting that. I agonized over the schedule as I had to cut good workers so he could have full time but I do plan on talking to the KM and seeing if we can train some openers (or take a hit and open when the two of us are in together thus not needing the KS that day) so we can send a message to him.

Sorry for the ramble.. I needed to get that out... and if I've missed something or I am being to snarly as I am close to it, please feel free to point out where I am missing things...
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post #8 of 11
First I would do the schedule and then meet with the KM to approve it before it is finalized, when he balks about the hours, suggest the slacker be cut because of the reasons you stated and suggest cook #1 or #2 come in for this shift because he is better at production or whatnot. If there are crunch days explain the best people need to be there, on slower days establish an early out policy and then schedule the problem person for those days.

I had a problem with a slacker once and the thing is they thought they were doing a fine job, they always do and unless you communitate that to them it is also your fault. If people do not know your expectations then they will live by their own.

For my slackers I was posting the times it took to do the various items of their list as well as the times they would be working the line and not prepping. By itemizing the lists and assigning specific duties within a time frame it helps people manage their time effectively and also gives you a barometer to see who is not cutting it. Also it would provide documentation for you to support your claim to the owner. When you see it takes 5 hours to do 2 hours of work and everyone else sees it it will change the perception because everyone will know the truth and your decisions will be supported by everyone else because the writing will be on the wall. You can then go to the boss and say it takes KM 1 hour to prep the station and "Y person" 20 minutes etc. The cream will then rise to the top so to speak.

Does this help, sorry if my post is rambling I think better than I type.
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post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
Your ramblings and experience does help, Rat. I'm sure all of us at one time or another have had to deal with a slacker and in this case he is like your slacker was... thinks he is doing a great job.

I had to be assertive today with him and it paid off as he took what I said seriously, helped where and when i asked him to and honestly he worked harder today than I have seen him work in a long time. If that can continue on a consistent basis I would be really happy.
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post #10 of 11
Well it is good to see that communication has helped often times it is something simple as talking to someone will correct a problem.

All too often these days employers view employees as commodities and not as people. It is all to easy to find a replacement or "I would fire the guy on the spot". The old indian saying about walking a mile in another mans chef clogs applies here. It is hard to know others peoples problems or what motivates them or how life affects them.

Most people if not all need encouragement and direction, if they do not get it they flounder or lose direction, I myself am like that. While I am not a great leader, I am an excellent field marshall. Tell me what you need done, a time frame and I will not fail. I have never failed, ever. Having recently lost my job I see that as partly the reason it happened. We got a new mgmt team but I was out of the loop. Gradually all the old mgmt. has their positions eliminated or were squeezed out, I was the sole survivor. Of course I could not perform because I did not know what I should be doing or what was expected of me besides showing up every day and banging out the service. That was my biggest frustration not knowing what I should be doing or when. I was never told of menu changes, problems, overtime issues etc. until the problem had occurred. I could have been more proactive but then again I feel the leadership had failed me.
Once again I am rambling.

It is good to see a little communication has helped here and I wish you continued success, hopefully your problems will resolve themselves and you all will be happy.
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post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
Rat you nailed it with the KS... and now that i know this about him I can work to make things run better when he is in. He still has some room to improve.. he is frequently late and it shows in his open and he was riding one of the line guys who had car troubles and called ahead and I said.. well mr neverontime at least he called and didn't leave me hanging so put a sock in it... and it was meant half in humor but as a shut up you are no better and he got that.. (and the owners did too and I found them in the walk in laughing their a's off after I made that remark and they told me that I said what they wanted to for months ..LOL)
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