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Where do i draw the line?

Poll Results: Should I....?

Poll expired: Feb 9, 2011  
  • 50% (1)
    Quit.
  • 50% (1)
    Stay and soldier on.
  • 0% (0)
    Switch to hourly instead of salary.
2 Total Votes  
post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

So I'm trying to answer a question thats been stirring in my mind for some time.  

 

I've been recently engaged in a job which basically places me at the center of things as a kitchen manager.  HOWEVER...

 

There's only 1 other full time cook and he's got a bad attitude and can't keep his cool on the line or take directions from any kind of authority.  There's a guy who the owner originally hired to be the Kitchen Manager but this dude decided he didn't want the position and instead wanted to just be a part timer.  He's 10 years my senior and has alot more experience so I can hardly "manage" him (I'm only 22).  The FOH girls pretty much do their own thing and last but not least, the owner basically says to "do your own thing" when it comes to specials and other daily matters but at the end of the day, he ultimately just wants to stick with HIS plan and HIS specials so to be honest, my job is little more than a line cook that works 5 1/2 days a week, 10.5-12 hours a day and places his bread/produce orders.  On top of this, the cooks here basically cannot take breaks throughout the day because of the lack of a revolving staff so we often work 8-9 hours straight without a break (which I just did today).  I've dealt with TONS of b.s. since I started here, and although the money seems to be right, but the stress is insane.  I've actually lost weight as well as noticed my hair thinning recently.  Now, I'm not the type that says "this place will falter without me" but I know that if I left, the restaurant would endure some hardships.  The owner and I are pretty good friends on personal terms so I would also have to confront a major personal upheaval, but thats something I would readily deal with.  My question is, does one take the consequences of their own withdrawal into account before quitting or does one just say screw it and look for something else?  I might not make the same money but if you saw my schedule, you'd know what I'm talking about.

 

Argh....  The answer would seem to lie in the words typed above but sometimes things are life are mysterious and sticking it out through the b.s. tends to pay off but I'm worried that I've already stayed too long.

post #2 of 14

In your short summary, this is my advice - 

 

1. Your owner feels that he has established a "framework". He does not want to be involved with the day-to-day BOH details, but still wants to feel a sense of normalcy from day-to-day that he can cope with.

 

2. Your boss has not designated a chef/"kitchen manager" because you, as a member of the "brigade", are nothing more than "talent", and he does not have the same viceral connection to what you do as you do.... He does not see the dynamics of life on the line in the same context that you do.

 

3. The cook you are seeking leadership from does not want to be a leader - so there is no reason for him to be a leader.

    - Here is a breakdown of that dynamic:

 

    - First, get over the whole age/respect/frustration-waiting-for-him-to-lead issue... He's burnt-out. He isn't going to lead anything.

    - Second, if you jump right in there, frosty-rambo style, he will reject your leadership, because you are less-seasoned.

    - Third, Your owner is in the clouds because the kitchen seems to be operating, so there is no motivation for change.

 

4. You are a motivated, passionate, caring person - but you need to lower your expectations of reality, and your expectations of your own self-importance in the kitchen.

 

5. To address this issue and bridge the gap, you need to make a choice - because this is one step from either being YOUR kitchen, or, YOUR previous job.

 

    - If you don't think it is worth it, then bail. If you think this is worth it for you, then listen to me....

 

6. You need to first talk to the non-performing cook. Tell him you intend to take charge of the kitchen, and will be talking to the owner about it.

    - Ask him: "Are you in, will you support me? Or do you want me to suggest YOUR Name, since you are senior to me?"

 

    - He will say "eff that, kid. Do what you gotta do."

 

7. Tell the owner that you are going to assume the role that you are already, for the most part, doing. Tell him that your lazy chef is on board.

    - tell him that your title is now Chef (not "kitchen manager" that is a BS term). Because it is clear there is no leadership in the kitchen as it is now.

 

(If your owner IS the chef, right now - then you really do need to quit yesterday.

If not, then man-up to the position, and assume control. It seems you have no competition.)

 

8. Tell your boss what you will do as the chef -

    - How you will save money on waste.

    - How you have kept notes of what sells and what doesn't and what will probably sell well on the meny, and what should go to the eternal 86.

    - How you will manage the kitchen, and what YOU need to do that.

 

9. Hold your ground and tell him that if you are Chef, you will expect a raise. An what you stated in #8, above, will happen.

 

10. he will agree, and you get a brigade and a raise...... or it will never happen there, and he will probably go broke in six months anyway - and that's not on you.

 

I subscribed to this thread, because i want to know the result. I do this kind of stuff for a living - so free advice to you. take the advice.

Do or Do not - There is no Try. - Yoda
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Do or Do not - There is no Try. - Yoda
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post #3 of 14

I'm right there w/ Trooper. That looks like a good plan. Just be aware however, that a lot of really good guys, with really good plans, have been shown the door. Unfortunately you need to be ready for that outcome. Good luck. Hopefully you'll get your best outcome. 

"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

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"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

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post #4 of 14

in each in

Quote:
 My question is, does one take the consequences of their own withdrawal into account before quitting or does one just say screw it and look for something else? 

I take into account the consequences on my life, not the consequences on the business. I closed my own restaurant because of the consequences on my life, not because it wasn't making money, but because after 12 years the balance sheet of emotional investment against monetary reward was not a ratio that looked good to me. 5 years later, I have no regrets, either pre-restaurant or post-restaurant, but in each instance I weighed and thought about my options carefully.

 

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #5 of 14

Always look for better job. If you are kitchen manager, then manage. Take charge of how much you get paid--anyone on salary who is not making a decent

hourly is fooling themselves.  Do you get benefits?  What about a percent of profit?  Can you cook? If so, take your skills to someone who will pay you and treat you

like you are a person.

post #6 of 14

My question is, does one take the consequences of their own withdrawal into account before quitting or does one just say screw it and look for something else?

 

Although it sounds harsh, this should be the least important part of your decision.

 

When somebody is passionate about what they do (as you obviously are) there is an intense (perhaps overly developed) sense of loyalty to the job. But the fact is, the job doesn't feel the same way. If, for some reason, the owner laid you off he'd do so in a heartbeat, with no thought to how it would effect your economic well-being, or the friendship the two of you have. Why should you feel any differently?

 

There's a lot of exellent advice in Trooper's post. The one thing I would add is be prepared to leave, either because you choose to quit or because the owner will take much of that as an ultimatum. By prepared that means having a fall-back position, such as having another job lined up. Given the current state of the industry, I would not quit cold.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #7 of 14

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by KYHeirloomer View Post

There's a lot of exellent advice in Trooper's post. The one thing I would add is be prepared to leave, either because you choose to quit or because the owner will take much of that as an ultimatum. By prepared that means having a fall-back position, such as having another job lined up. Given the current state of the industry, I would not quit cold.



Always find another bridge to cross before you burn the one you're standing on.

Do or Do not - There is no Try. - Yoda
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Do or Do not - There is no Try. - Yoda
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post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 

thank you all for your input, although Trooper, I think you may have misunderstood what my role in the kitchen is.  The guy we hired o be kitchen manager formally stepped down from his job and the KM job was offered to me on the basis that the owner actively sought a new line cook so I could spend more time focusing on regulating the kitchen and less time just making orders.  I'm a competent cook and have previous experience in this position but there is a very weak management structure.  I agree, walking away from a job like this when theres so much to be had seems stupid but the owner seems to have very patternistic traits that have bitten us in the ass time and time again. 

 

Trooper, your advice is very helpful and in fact I have already initiated certain aspects such as a raise, shaving expenses from his accounts and rotating his product properly while still coming up with specials, soups, etc.  The thing with the deadbeat chef is that he knows he's not the chef but is still resistant to any kind of criticism or instruction (he seems to take his CIA degree pretty seriously although I've repeatedly stopped him half-way through pounding chicken out on the line's cutting board).  The biggest problem at this point is building the brigade.  We've had a hard time finding good help, especially with the kind of hours the job entails.    Maybe it's just West LA, I don't really know.  Like I said, I'm 22 years young, and I'm always looking to expand my knowledge of management so all constructive criticism is welcome.! 

post #9 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by frostythespider View PostWe've had a hard time finding good help, especially with the kind of hours the job entails.


Get used to the hours, as a kitchen worker 10-12 hour days without breaks are the norm not the exception. And any experienced cook will know this. So building your "brigade" shouldn't be a problem because of the hours. Building your "brigade" is tough because you have a deadbeat chef, a non involved owner and a relatively inexperienced 22 year old managing the daily operations.

post #10 of 14

Trooper is on point

post #11 of 14

Well, frosty - you're a worker - and in a common situation... A worker that does their best to plug all the holes on a sinking ship. As long as you keep the leaks minimized, help will never arrive.

 

This will end when you make a mistake - not a big one, or an unreasonable one - but a mistake that will be amplified because there isn't enough people to buffer your workflow - and it will end badly.

 

When that happens: Remember this post - because it won't be "your fault" even if you feel that way, or are made to feel that way... But at that point, your passion and your loyalty to this place will be at a crossroads.

 

You're paying your dues - suck it up, learn a lot - keep your job radar up. I suggest finding some kitchens that are open on your day off and stage there. They will see your good traits, you will get a feel for them.. Gather intelligence on the options in your area.

 

You will be in a much better position to effect change (if that is what you want to do in your current place) if you know in your heart and confidence that you're marketable and valued someplace else.

 

Not that i want to have "Story time with trooper" but I'm sure any number of us "older guys" have lived your current situation. The pay-off for you may just well be what you take away from being a 22/yo, highly motivated individual - who is getting a lot of experience doing things that other (lazy people) are blessing you with the burdon of doing. Hang in there, I think you are earning stripes right now. Good job.

Do or Do not - There is no Try. - Yoda
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Do or Do not - There is no Try. - Yoda
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post #12 of 14

Trooper:   

fortune-teller.jpg

"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

Reply

"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

Reply
post #13 of 14

Dude that was hilarious!

Do or Do not - There is no Try. - Yoda
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Do or Do not - There is no Try. - Yoda
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post #14 of 14

What kind of restaurant is this?  What kind of cuisine do you cook?  How long has the place been in business?  What you've described sounds like a thoroughly unprofessional hash house with the lunatics in charge of the asylum (except maybe for you).  Now, don't go and tell us this is a Michelin starred restaurant.  Be honest.

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