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Do I stay or do I go?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

Ok, so here's the background story. 

 

 

In may I started working at a small made-from-scratch-style sandwich shop/deli in Los Angeles.  It was run by the owner, his #2 who ran hot line and a girl who ran register.  Simple enough right?  I originally started as an hourly employee (at dismal wages), working 40 hours a week with two days off.  At one point, the owner approached me about working on a salaried basis, still recieving two days but but better pay with the obvious tradeoff of working more hours.  At the time it seemed like a good idea because we closed on sundays and I generally am used to working longer shifts.  As time wore on, we started to stay open on sundays to cater to the football crowd, hence the owner and his # 2 losing one of their days off.  The more I worked there, I realized that alot of things were really loose, such as the main 2 guys constantly showing up late, being hungover, throwing tantrums in the kitchen etc.  Eventually, the girl quit due to her dissatisfaction with the work place and moved home.  After a very difficult period of hiring, we finally landed a solid cashier and we thought everything was going to be alight, right?  Wrong.  The #2 guy had some serious substance problems that were beginning to affect the shop and also my workload.  On several occasions, I literally had to work both my station as well as his because he no-showed.  Now normally, someone would get fired for doing this but since the two were friends, the owner didn't take any action other than expressing anger toward #2.  Things began to get worse and worse until finally, on Halloween night, one of our biggest days of the year, he no-showed while in possession of the owner's keys. I came in on my day off, and literally had to save the day, it was ridiculous.  Now, the asshole has left town, we're a man short and I'm working 6 days a week, 12-13 hours a day and NO BREAKS.  The owner is always saying he wants us to take our breaks but the fact is, there is no one to work our station when we're gone and the shop is pretty much constantly busy.  I'm losing touch with my family, I can't put the time into a band that I drum for and in a nutshell, I'm getting screwed.  The owner is trying to find a KM to pickup where #2 left off but even then, I feel like the conditions won't change.  The owner has shown many signs of bad management including erroneous paychecks, placing our customers in the middle of the issue with #2 splitting on us and leaving myself and our new hire to basically run the place.    I'm at a point where I don't know if I should quit because I have to pay relatively steep rent (remember, this is Los Angeles) or what.  The owner has told me repeatedly things will improve but I'm feeling more and more discontent with the situation to the point of breaking down at the end of every day. 

 

My typical service consists of this:

 

1. 8:30, I open the place up with one other guy, owner arrives around 9, he explains he was waiting for his pants to dry. 

2. Owner places the structure of the entire service on my shoulders including specials, prep duties and managing the rest of our staff. (By the way, I left my old job in order to focus on music and not management again.  I was not hired to be a manager, nor am I being paid as such.)

3. Owner goes to 3 different places to get produce, proteins, change for our cash drawer etc in order to save money.  Meanwhile, prep duties which he claimed responsibility over aren't being done and I'm struggling just to get my cold-line guy and myself up to speed. 

4. 11am, we're open.  we're scrambling to be ready for service and more often than not, we aren't.  It's an open kitchen so the scramble is being witnessed by our customers.

5. On a given day, we'll have a small catering order just before our lunch rush, putting even more pressure on us to prep heavily.  There is almost never time to go to use the bathroom let alone sit down for 5 minutes.

6. After the lunch rush, boss goes into his office and does "work".  Meanwhile we're still doing orders, prepping and trying to stay afloat.  The kitchen has a deli case, a very small dairy fridge and a reach in cooler for storage, totally insufficient of what is needed for proper storing and rotating.  This means having large quantities of backup items is impossible. 

7.  About the time we slow down, the cashier leaves, which means the cold-line guy and myself are stuck with running the place.  This means one guy is taking orders, ringing people up and organizing orders, while I'm cooking orders, plating, doing sides and well as expiditing.  It's absolutely draining.

8.  Boss comes back out, bullshits with the regulars, flirts with the girls and basically does nothing.  I have had numerous instances where communicating with him was vital and he was busy chatting with one of our regulars. 

9.  Close down.  Boss cleans the slicer, puts away a few dishes and makes sure we're doing our job right and starts doing numbers.  Normally, I would say, "He's the owner, he shouldn't have to do all the grunt work" but this place is in its primordial stages and there are not near enough hands to keep up with the amount of business we do.  I have always believed that if I were to start a business, I would be the first one in, and the last one out.

 

And then I start this mayhem all over again.  I feel cheated by not getting breaks and worn down especially now that #2's departure means me working 6 days a week.  I need some advice/input bad.  Come on, chefs.  Give me your 2 cents.

post #2 of 19

I think it's time for you to visit your Mom in the hospital.  Or your Dad, or whomever you choose.  An unforseen emergency, and you just sleep in, listen to some tunes and relax.  See what happens at work the next day.

 

The owner is heaping crap upon you because he can, because you take it.  Start looking for a new place, by the time you leave, the owner will have figured out he should have treated you better.

 

Waiting for his pants to dry?............

...."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 #3 of 19

OK Foodpump....is that what they do in Canada when the going gets rough.....abandon their responsibilities?

 

post #4 of 19

I agree with foodpump, or just call in sick. The guy is using you. If he runs a business like this, he should not be in business. You must shock him into doing something. By calling in sick , he will get help fast.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #5 of 19

Ross, the guy is using and abusing his cook, too lazy /cheap to hire more staff, and he's very lucky that no one's milking his cash register.  He won't change untill something happens.  Sounds like terrible advice to call in sick, but it's the only way the boss will wake up.

...."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 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chefross View Post

OK Foodpump....is that what they do in Canada when the going gets rough.....abandon their responsibilities?

 



Do we have to turn every thread into a "Whose country is better" debate?

 

/jeesh guys

Really...

post #7 of 19

Nah, Ross and I get along prettty good, we don't do the weenie waggling "my country is better than yours" schtuff.

 

OTOH if you want to talk about TV cooks.........

...."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 19

 I'm with foodpump.. give the owner a wakeup call and bail on your shift.  He will learn PDQ what is what let me tell you.

 

I did a mini version of that today to the KM and I did it because he was not listening to me.  I have had issues with a new guy and he is just not seeing it so I placed his guy today on the line front and centre to the KM so he could see what I was talking about and guess what.. it worked!   It was a sketchy start and well the KM sees what I am talking about now.  Sometimes a reality check is the best thing.

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 #9 of 19

I honestly think that for everything that you're ending, a new beginning and a much better one is out there.

Why stick if you're just not really happy anymore?

Get good applications or whatever it is that you need to do to feel secure about moving on. You can't stick onto something you're not happy anymore.

post #10 of 19

Instead of "bailing" on your shift, could you just schedule a day off?  As long as he doesn't bring in extra help, he'll figure out how much you're having to do and the impossibility of it.  There's no reason to not let him have some sort of notice though.  Of course, if all he does is bring someone else in to cover the shift, perhaps the other person will run into the same issues you have and will articulate them to the owner.

post #11 of 19

So I know I am new to the industry and probably naive. 

 

Isn't there a way he could talk to the owner? Obviously he cant say what was said in the post, but a modified, tactful heart to heart...could that work?

 

I wouldn't take a sick day (that really wasn't), as I am not big on burning bridges and there is always that possibility.

 

So stealing all your guys ideas, schedule a day off, see how things are, possibly have a tactful conversation with the owner and if it doesn't feel right or look to be getting any better, find something better and make a graceful exit.

post #12 of 19

Don't screw yourself, be smart. Find another job, take care of your financial responsibilities. The way to show your character is to walk out the right way with your head up high knowing you did a good job. I would never hire a person who walk off a job, be the bigger man...............................ChefBillyB

post #13 of 19

Guys I would agree to ending the shift with the comment "I won't be in tomorrow...I have some very personal business to attend to."

 

I do not agree with no call no show no matter what you guys say.

 

I have been on that end and have had to cover for the guy that does that.

I would not I could not do that.

To me....this is exactly what's wrong with the work ethic issues of today.

post #14 of 19

I seriously think you're overworked but underpaid and being neglected.

You should consider finding another job, I'm sure many employers are interested with a hardworking employee like you.

Do not wait until your health and your relationship with your family gets affected. You deserve better. wink.gif

post #15 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChefBillyB View Post

Don't screw yourself, be smart. Find another job, take care of your financial responsibilities. The way to show your character is to walk out the right way with your head up high knowing you did a good job. I would never hire a person who walk off a job, be the bigger man...............................ChefBillyB



 Best advice here. Pretty much what i was going to type verbatum.

 

You're getting screwed-yes. Find a different job.

 

I would have a hard time phoning in sick or stupid or blowing a shift purposely. I would have an even harder time giving that advice to somebody.

 

If you leave a job & your next prospective employer phones there to ask about your performance, what would you like them to hear? I base alot of my days decisions on that question. Especially those days where it's nonstop BS & the thought of 'walking' or doing something equally as dramatic pops into the ole grey matter.

 

post #16 of 19
Thread Starter 

thanks for all your input guys, it definitely helps to hear it from someone else.  The owner himself is a good enough guy, just not an experienced restaurant operator.  He's gone out of his way to help me many times in the past so I couldn't just walk and he himself told me that if I were ever to feel like I was sick of the job, to at least give him a week.  We had our first prospective KM come in today (total hack) so I'm hopeful but I agree, if things don't improve, I'm eventually going to need to put myself before the job.  Foodpump, you're right, I have sort of set myself because I let all the other stuff slide in the beginning and now he's come to expect it from me.

post #17 of 19
Thread Starter 

leeniek, funny you should mention that.  Yesterday was my day off and I had been experiencing issues with this girl who we hired (she's 18, hooked on the food network and thinks she knows everything).  Apparently, she slipped up numerous times, and my boss told her to take the rest of the week off.  At one point, she rang a person up, then went straight from the register to touching someone's sandwich.  The customer demanded a refund and posted a 2 star yelp review.

post #18 of 19

Ouch on the yelp review frosty.. but I hope that sent a message to the owners that this person is  NOT performing to expectatons.

 

To clarify when I say "bail" on a shift  I mean call in sick or drunk or just plain unable to come to work and I don't mean the no call no show thing and I would never encourage that or endorse it.  Just be unable to come to work that day for whatever reason.

 

I threw a new guy under the bus on Saturday and I did it so the KM could see just what he had for staff and well it worked.  I see people for what they are much faster than he does so a wakeup call for him is in order now and then.  This new guy still gets on everyones nerves as he thinks he can run the place as he has schooling.. shoot me now please??  Schooling is great but at the end of the day it is what one can do on the line and how well one can cook is what matters! 

 

Take ChefBillyB's advice and run with it.  He is a seasoned veteran in the kitchen and if he says go then get the heck out ASAP and do not look back for anything!

 

All the best to you and please keep us posted as to how things work out for you.

 

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 #19 of 19
Thread Starter 

update:  the #2 robbed the owners house tonight.  Left me and the new guy to run the place for 16 hours.  I think I'm gonna give my 2 weeks.  I understand where the owner is coming from but leaving your business to weep over a thousand bucks... I mean seriously.

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