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I quit. Having self doubts.

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

Was there for 5 weeks as "lead jerk, head chef, w/e"

(have a problem with calling myself a chef, but there are other threads for that subject).

I'm questioning my abilities versus what was being asked of me.

 

They want to run 25% food cost.

14% labor for BoH (13% FoH).

The weekly budget for food is based off of the sales for the last three weeks.

Labor % is checked daily.  One hour over on any shift is throwing percentage off kilter.

 

I just spent 30 minutes typing out a huge vent, and then deleted it to save space.  It contained many expletives.

I can sit here and bitch about stuff, but basically I'm wondering if those numbers are attainable.

I'm sure there are variables depending on location and menu.

 

 

 

 

 

 

post #2 of 20

Ouch!

It sounded like your were doing well. I haven't been familiar with the restaurant venue type thing for years. Those numbers seem a little lean to me, especially labor. I don't really know with the economy the way it is. My COGS  have been over forcast for the last 11 months. But I also refuse to use  lower quality ingredients. I have had 3 price increases over the last 18 month but the prices seem so volatile I can't seem to ever catch up. I'm aquiring another kitchen now with hopes I can make up the difference with some small volume production.

Good luck to you my friend,

Jeff

I'm running 22-25% cogs. A couple of years ago I'd start to lean on my guys if we went above 17%. My labor runs 31%. but that is for very skilled labor + 2 salaries for the wife and I.

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post #3 of 20

Aw man. I'm sorry to hear that. Venting here is good, feel free.

 

5 weeks isn't really enough time to judge your performance, especially when you're trying to work a turn around. So don't beat yourself up with unrealistic expectations.

 

As for the % numbers, it depends on how they are calculating them. Also every restaurant is different. Keep in mind that when your are less busy, your %'s tend to increase, due to inefficiencies.

 

14% boh hourly labor cost is on the lower side, IMO. Checking labor daily is good cost control. Using it as a metric is not so good.

 

25 fc% is also on the lower end. Probably doable if you do all three meals. Food cost % is not the only part of the story. You also have to consider the contribution margin of the item. I recently read a case study where the chef was throwing away money by buying break items, instead of the whole case.

 

Look on the bright side, no more crazy avocado!

post #4 of 20

After a couple of weeks, you'll start to question if what was asked of you was indeed attainable.

 

Most Bosses/owners ask the impossible simply because asking for it puts them in a position that they are comfortable with.  The last owner I worked for, it was never good enough. When I got the costs he wanted, he wanted them lower.  When I cut everyone's hours  in the boh by 10%, the dishwashers went a'complaining.  I was told to give the dishwashers back their hours, and I responded with "Then you can't have your anticipated labour cost".  An, uh, ummm ..."discussion" followed, with the result that we both agreed that I should go.  Like I said, that was my last boss, and that was 16 years ago

 

I don't know if your costs (F &L ) were agreed upon before hiring or simply demanded.  High volume, which includes catering--even simple sandwich platters--can work magic with food and labour costs, but most a'la carte places are reluctant to do this.  Franchises and chains are terrible to achieve food costs with, as prices have alrady been negotiated with for you, and you don't have the luxury of buying items yourself--you have to go through Supplier "X"

 

Don't beat yourself up on this.  Use it as resume reference, they are good numbers.

...."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 #5 of 20
Thread Starter 

Thanks guys.

Your opinions mean a lot to me.

I appreciate your candor.

 

I don't want to vent too much; you never know who is reading this (things I've typed have come back to haunt me TWICE on this board).

I don't think the owners are crazy for asking what they're asking, I'd just have to fire almost everyone and start again.

 

Wall of text/thought incoming:

______________________

I can't work the line (learn the line, really), reprice the menu, re-write the production manual, come up with weekly specials, battle with the owners and FoH about dumbing-down menus, come up with a new happy hour menu, meet the weekly food budget, raise the $$$ amount per head requested, do deep cleaning, re-work monthly inventory (I mean, holy hell...  the inventory guide I was given had prices on it from 2 months ago from suppliers that I don't even use and is missing probably $1000 worth of product), oh wait the baker production has never been priced out  ok and we're selling croissants at probably mmmm... 60% FC, meanwhile someone brought the clam chowder I made last night to a full rolling boil to re-heat it are you f***ing kidding me you f-ing amateur? and doesn't realize the mistake????? and puts it in the warmer and thinks that it's okay to serve? do you take NO pride in your work?  holy ...  can't you see the inch of oil on the top? so I'm 86'd soup on a Saturday night? "just throw an egg yolk in it" he says... it's clam chowder... (I fixed it by straining it, making a roux, adding strained liquid, then solids, but it's not like I had a ton of extra time to play around with it and now it tastes floury and I don't have time/energy/$$$ to f*** with it anymore), oh and yeah that pork shoulder that we need for dinner service? yeah you can't just throw the whole f-ing thing in the oven you idiot  trim the fat off and cut it into 5" cubes because that s*** you threw in the oven is F-ING RAW after 4 hours but I should have checked that when I walked in today knowing how inept you are at cooking, burnt croutons by the sheet tray full because no one can figure out how to set a f-ing timer, buckets full of burnt french fries in the garbage, NO NO NOOOooo concern for waste, just walk in and try to get through your shift so you can go home f*** all attitude but play it off like you really care about the place, and you've been working here for 3 months and you don't know the dinner menu to the point where you can be left alone for a few hours???  a 5 top ticket confuses you? A SINGLE TICKET   WITH 5 ITEMS ON IT   AND YOU'RE BAFFLED??? it's f-ing hot sandwiches and pasta not Alinea fare FFS!!! And I show up to help you cover lunch rush and your line is set up to cook...  nothing?! I have to run off line to re-fill the towel dispenser so I can wash my hands before I "cook" that stupid caesar wrap but there's no tortilla shells on the line or romaine cut... but at least you're making time with the baker on your smoke break even though you have a GF with baby otw.  classy. 

And the owner walks in with a "to do" list for me.

Because I don't have enough to do.

 

Meanwhile, the owner has had a conference with the FoH managers about what we should serve for happy hour...  Like, what am I, chopped liver?!

No, I cannot come up with new menu items at this point because I'm stretched too far, but where have you worked where the FoH came up with the f-ing menus?

I'm not an a**hole cook, but there are lines that should never be crossed.  I'm open to opinions, but it's MY kitchen, MY menu.

I don't think the owners have grasped that idea (I blame the last chef for letting it get to this point) that the menu is created by the chef.

Not farted out in a meeting,

CREATED.

And here I must fault myself for not having menus in my portfolio.  I should.  I should write down what I do.  I should have menu ideas to last forever at this point, but I don't.

But there's food getting freezer burned in the freezer that needs to be used...

_____________________

 

 

Okay, done for now.

Taking deep breaths.

 

But, yeah, it's pretty much like that every day and I'm pissed off every day.  I dread going to work.

I've been unhappy every day for 2 1/2 weeks.  Know myself well enough to know that it is time to go.

 

Feel bad for the owners, but I got to what's best for me.  Ultimately what's best for them too.

 

post #6 of 20
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by panini View Post

Ouch!

It sounded like your were doing well.

I put up a good front. ;)

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by thetincook View Post

Aw man. I'm sorry to hear that. Venting here is good, feel free.

 

Look on the bright side, no more crazy avocado!

No sorry,  feelsgoodman. 

 

Why do I hate that item so?  My crazy parents beat me with avocados.  And goat chz. 
 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by foodpump View Post

After a couple of weeks, you'll start to question if what was asked of you was indeed attainable.

...Don't beat yourself up on this.  Use it as resume reference, they are good numbers.

I agree, and I look forward to the hindsight.

 

I won't beat myself up about this too much.
 

But I just gotta kick myself a little bit, otherwise I'll never learn. 

post #7 of 20

Left4bread, don't doubt yourself.  What you described in your vent was what I lived at the place I was KM at.. and it was NOT fun and I don't wish that on anyone.

 

You need to do what is best for you and your family and don't look back. 

 

All the best to you

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post #8 of 20
Thread Starter 

Thanks Leeniek.

 

I was a bit harsh in that rant.  Sorry for all the swears (Greg). :P  Almost got me fired from cheftalk (suspended w/out pay?).

I mean, everyone makes mistakes, and a couple days later I went in and there were 22 quarts of bread that I cubed up for croutons that had... fermented and were garbage.

I should have left a note to cook them off.

 

Someone needs to go into that place and TELL the owners how it's going to be done. I just didn't have the time to teach them how it's done.

I wish them the best and am going to do the ordering for them for a week for free because I feel bad for leaving.

I told them that I'll pass on my info to the next chef without any smack talking about the gripes.

They want it all done at once, and I can't really blame them too much.  They're just in over their heads at this point regarding BoH.  No restaurant experience.

 

Maybe if I would have walked into a kitchen where all of the BoH employees would have been there for more than 2-3 weeks it'd be different.

Or if they would have been better trained.  Blame the cooks, blame the guy who hired/trained them, blame the situation... hard to pinpoint.

The line cooks should be able to run circles around me, but most run into walls instead.

I never learned the line there start to finish, but I can hang and pretend, cook a dish by reading the menu.  It's not rocket surgery.

And while I'm typing this out and having a SMS session with the sous, he says that the last chef hired poor line cooks on purpose, as a final "screw you" to the place...

HAHA  APRIL FOOLS!!!  What a jerk.

 

Sorry for being long winded.  I don't really expect responses. 

I just need to get it out, and this community I live in is too small to trash talk among fellow chefs and restaurateurs, so I type it all out here.

 

On the UP side, I'm walking back into my previous position at my former employment.

Went in today to grab a growler of beer and was accosted by a couple servers, prep cooks, line cooks, a brewer, and even a PR chick about how they're stoked that I'm coming back.

smile.gif x 10

My heart is full.

Wallet is gonna be a bit lighter, though.

 

 

post #9 of 20

Left4bread,

 Great news

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post #10 of 20

It sounds alot like the diner, Left4bread.  There were two owners.. the chef and his fiancee and while he has a realistic view of this business she does not and it was just a mess of stress working for her.  I couldn't even walk past the place after I left because I'd get so stressed out.  Now I'm fine walking by there and it took me two months to finally feel like myself again after working there, it was that bad for me. 

 

One of my friends told me that she has been having a good time badmouthing me again, this time because she heard I'm working in a a soup kitchen.  According to her I'm such a terrible cook that the only people who will eat what I make are the ones who don't have to pay for it and she added her own view of the needy people in our city.  Those comments cost her respect and quite a few customers, and it wasn't so much what she said about me but what she said about the less fortunate people in our city that's cost her the respect. 

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post #11 of 20
Thread Starter 

Well, maybe a little the same, Leeniek, but I think you were dealing with some different problems than I was/am (tomorrow is last day (on the schedule)smile.gif).

I followed your thread, so I understand a bit of what you were going through.

Sounds like you were dealing with a jerk.  The owners I work for are nice enough, and would never lower themselves to "only people who will eat what I make are the ones who don't have to pay for it" comments.  They wouldn't even THINK that.  That's just...  it's so asinine... That's a suicidal remark.  And those remarks just snowball. 

No, they wanted me to stay, but... 

Not like you need me to tell you this, but that place you worked for will suffer for their petty hatred.  They already have. 

You're doing respectable work, something you can take pride in. 

Sounds like you're still hanging on to it because of their harsh words. 

Maybe a little...?

Either way, you've won.  By being a better person.

 

OMG I sound like a hippie.  Gotta go.

 

 

 

post #12 of 20

Left4bread

OK,

"I wish them the best and am going to do the ordering for them for a week for free because I feel bad for leaving. """  "

 Please tell me you did not do this!!!. 

What are you thinking??? Go back and read your rant again. Then, tell me you're comfortable with doing this to the

                                             people you left behind. C'mon Nancy! If the owners are in over their heads, they either get more

                                             involved or get out. You think they are going to work for free. Hey, it's sounds like it would be a better

                                             world if the owners learned the ordering.

 

I'm done.biggrin.gif

 

I'm not involved in restaurants anymore, but is it normal to run the same labor cost for FOH as BOH?

                                            

 

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post #13 of 20

Left4bread you're right, the last boss was definitely a jerk.  I had such high hopes and I was really excited when I started there but well the road to h*** is paved with good intentions so they say.  I live just down the street from them so it's going to happen that we hear of each other or run into each other now and then.  I've never had anyone be so hateful towards me before and I find it hurtful that they need to talk badly about me.  

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post #14 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by panini View Post

Left4bread

OK,

"I wish them the best and am going to do the ordering for them for a week for free because I feel bad for leaving. """  "

 Please tell me you did not do this!!!. 

What are you thinking??? Go back and read your rant again. Then, tell me you're comfortable with doing this to the

                                             people you left behind. C'mon Nancy! If the owners are in over their heads, they either get more

                                             involved or get out. You think they are going to work for free. Hey, it's sounds like it would be a better

                                             world if the owners learned the ordering.

 

I'm done.biggrin.gif

 

I'm not involved in restaurants anymore, but is it normal to run the same labor cost for FOH as BOH?

                                            

 


It isn't that big of a deal for me.  It's two blocks away from my home.  I can blow through an order in 15 minutes if I don't have to deal with anything else at the same time.

So, that's like 30-45 minutes worth of work for one week with the other smaller ordering.

 

I could just cut anchor and run, but I don't want the next guy to walk into the same situation that I walked into.

I got almost all the menus priced out and a monthly inventory guide finalized today.

 

I'm not interested in "teaching them a lesson".  There's no malice in me (regarding this particular subject).

I want to walk away from it knowing that I can come back there as a customer, and maybe they need a favor from me, and maybe someday I need a favor from them.  The lion and the mouse type of thing.

Know what I mean? 

She's in the realty business, I'm looking at buying a place.

I like having connections.

That doesn't make me a Nancy, does it? (BTW I laughed so hard I almost peed my pants at that lol.gif).

 

As far as labor goes, yeah it was 13% for both front and back.  They gave me an extra percentage half way through (whoopee!).

I honestly don't know.  I was too spoiled at my last job.  No budget.  No labor percentages to follow. 

Everyone (mgmt) just trying to hang on to the beast as it drags us in the direction it decides to go that day/hour.

Unfathomably busy.  One hour wait at the door, 45 minute wait for food after you're seated.  Still they come.

Brew pub.  Beer zombies.  Beer zombie apocalypse.  It's awesome.

 


Leeniek, seriously, don't let her win.  Don't let her words hurt your feelings.  Some people are just like that; make themselves feel better by belittling the people around them.  The longer you let it get to you, the more she wins. 

Easier to say than do, I know... But you gotta stop and ask yourself, why does her opinion mean so much to you?

What the heck do you care what she thinks?

She's a clown, no?  You're supposed to laugh at them.

;)

You're better than her, right?  Right.

Not trying to preach at you, I just feel bad that you feel bad.  FWIW

post #15 of 20

Left,

That was not really directed to you. I knew you would take it humorously.

It just comes from the other side. Owners like this, with no knowledge of food has basically crippled this industry.

Especially feeders that don't have room and property income.

Small food business will be a thing of the past in our lifetime. All the preaching in the world can not convince me otherwise.

Without any type of standardization,, the industry has become a crap shoot in every aspect.

These uneducated owners and investors who have f;ed up and failed so much  has left us as the biggest industry joke.

Small business has zero credibility from Govt, financial,  sorry I have to end. This conversation is to Tough for me.

 

I just purchased equipment for a project. It just sux that after it's installed  and running that a 70k investment is  realized

at about 3,500. collateral. Or maybe a little more from the slimy auction piranha's.

 

 

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post #16 of 20

Thanks, Left.  I guess I'm just too sensitive sometimes!  I understand what you're doing with your exit plan... I did the same at the place I was AKM at and the guy who took over for me was given much more information to go with than what I had when I took the job. 

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post #17 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:

These uneducated owners and investors who have f;ed up and failed so much  has left us as the biggest industry joke.

Small business has zero credibility from Govt, financial,  sorry I have to end. This conversation is to Tough for me.



...ah, just when it was getting good!
I understand if it's too hard, but I'm kinda interested in your opinion about this.

If you can continue sometime without having a meltdown, please  do.

Sounds like you have a tale to tell.

 

post #18 of 20

Left

I will respond to this later. Because I think it's important for people with dreams to open their own place.

I just signed a letter of intent for a space 2 doors down. We did a SBA with me wife as owner. I asked what I consider minimun, 150.

We are such a joke to the bank they will not take my gross into consideration. The VP of the bank told me the best she could would be dollar for dollar.

I put up 100. cd at almost at zero interest  and they would lend 100 at sliding apr. The remote land lord would rather deal with a start up with no track record

than to deal with someone who has a 12 yr on time lease payment  and someone who's gross would cover 5 yr lease. The previous tenent did a midnight move

11 months after start of lease. Christ, I'm prepared to sigh a 15 with a 5 opt.

Left, you want to talk about it?

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post #19 of 20
Thread Starter 

Hey, man, I'm a step below a noob when it comes to these matters, so it's gonna be a one sided conversation,

but if you want to share please do.  I could use the vicarious experience of opening a place.

 

 

post #20 of 20

I'll PM you. The silly landlord finally woke up and is now interested.

We're going SBA. The bank  VP who filled a good hour with disclaimers, called,

she pulled our credit and thinks she can epedite things right along. Yea, right.

Yesterday they wanted me to put up a 100k to borrow a 100.

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