Wow, thank you everyone for such great advice to floridavenue. I look forward to hearing more about how their search goes. I am also located in Florida, but in the Northwest tip and just passed my first year in business. I've owned several businesses in the past, but never a food service establishment and oh my, the learning curve has been quite steep for me and my optimism. We are a 40-seat combination coffee bar/wine bar with a super small kitchen. We've got lots of heart and our patrons have responded well to our concept, dining space and location.
The issues plauging us are high labor costs (primarliy due to the barista bar) and the lack of a dinner menu or a chef who is willing to tackle one in the tiny kitchen. Without this menu, our sales slump at night except on weekends and Sunday brunch. We've been running our lunch menu at night with the addition of gourmet burgers on weekends. The current menu primarily consists of gourmet paninis, salads, soup and high end apps like cheese platters, marinated olives, etc.
I stumbled across this forum because I too, was interested in offering a Chef Partner position to the right fit. I need a Chef who truly takes ownership and can see past today or even this month in building a successful venture. I don't mind splitting any profit 50/50 but I need a real creative ally who also shares the commitment and care 50/50. As one of you so eloquently stated, I need a leader.
Since I'm limited in what I can pay at first ($25K plus monthly bonus), it's difficult to find someone of any caliber or personal investment. I also don't know the best place to look. I know this is a very low amount, but the hours are also lower than typical (45 hrs a week and 2 days off), and our area of FL is a smaller town with lower cost of living. It is still far lower than I woulld like to pay in salary but financial limitations keep me from offering anymore to start. Within the next 6 months, I have a Head Line Cook leaving for college and can allocate more salary/hours to the Chef position. I also think the monthly bonus plan could make a big difference in overall compensation within the first 90-days. The Chef would have full control over menu creation, costing, ordering, etc and my full support.
I have invested my lifeblood into this business and still have yet to pay myself, while I'm there every day making sure our staff and our customers are happy. I know this is what I signed up for but it's time for a real change and not the treading water. I need a Chef to join forces with me to turn things around. If I don't offer some sort of ownership or equity, how could I attract the quality individual I need? What should I be looking for? Or am I just dillusional?
Any suggestions on what I would post in my ad? I need to list the open postion as soon as possible but I want to be smart and realistic.
Thank you for your time-
Another FL operator in need of guidance