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Advice on best way to find a Chef Partner - Page 2

post #31 of 41
Thread Starter 

Thanks guys, I thought I was just doing something wrong. I have alligator skin, so it kind of just flows off - just really didnt know what to think of the comments, lol.. I understand now! I am legit with multiple venues - but - this is my first foray into food. I am also saavy on how many owners play games like what was said. I am hoping my cards on the table/convertible JV approach works. I know it is dependant upon the candidate too. My partner is a lawyer, so the paperwork will be tight and it took us a long time for us to build a good rep, so whomever that is in the running only needs to do - is check around. Reputation is a big deal in this biz, as everyone knows. I will post some of the recent goings on after I start interviews to memorialize some of the hiring drama for a nice little feedback loop. 



post #32 of 41

Lemme ask you something, have you used this business structure in any of your other operations?


If you came to me, and told me "Congrats, you're hired. By the way, you'll need to form a LLC..." I would run, and I suspect anyone smart enough to successfully run a business would too.

post #33 of 41



In light of you comment that this is your first venture into food, allow me to suggest that you add a consulting Chef to your stable of advisers?


I'm sure there are numerous qualified individuals in your area, as well as several here and in other places, that would provide you the necessary advice, just as your attorney does for legal questions.

Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
post #34 of 41


The more arrows you have in your quiver the better. I absolutely agree with some type of food consultant that has your success in the for front.

This is a great time to expand or grow your business. The costs are low. You seem to be informed business wise. You are much better

off bouncing your questions off a professional with no immediate interest. 60-80K a year is going to get all your questions answered the way he or she thinks you want to hear.

   Don't go by the general statistics. 95% percent of food projects don't go under in the first two years. It's a myth. It is extremely high though. Maybe 55%. What you also won't hear, is that a large percentage o fnew food projects are in the black within the first 120 days.

  Also, John. You won't to hear this but. Having the legal upper hand means nothing. Paperwork means nothing. The recovery rates on disputes

in this industry are not the norm. 

You need to look behind peoples eyes. The first hint of anything going wrong you have to MOVE!!!! There are no meetings. There are no sit downs.

Now a days you have to address your problems yesterday.

Your friend


I'm excited for you.

post #35 of 41
Thread Starter 

That is where the interesting part is going to come tincook but I would help set the LLC up, get the FEI and go through the complete steps and have the new hire incorporated at the table before he left (Florida has a great online system). Your point is well taken. If I come across the right Chef I will also be open to keeping things simple and just "hiring" him to get the venue open and see how things work with the relationship as some time goes on and show him/her how it would work.  


Thanks again Pete and Panini, a consultant would be good to bounce stuff off of. Ill look into it. Also, human resources, part science and part luck - getting behind those eyes is so key and so hard. I will use credit and criminal checks to get a guage on anyone in the running - the rest is gut and vodoo, lol. 



post #36 of 41

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

post #37 of 41

Hello John,


I am seeking for expertise advice, I am looking for a Joint venture looking to expand this now successful running and unique idea to about 3 more locations.


High mark up product chic unique in its class brand, with a great concept that we are already seeing rewards.  The location has a drive-thru, Online ordering, catering, and corporate catering, runs on a great marketing campaign full with exclusive reward, promotions, coupons deals.


This is my first restaurant, Me and 5 star chef began working on this project 1 year ago utilizing our small capital and outside finance and venture into making magic out of nothing just a goal and an Idea.






post #38 of 41

So, floridavenue,now a few years have passed--has anything come of this venture?

post #39 of 41
I had a similar question and have read thru all the advice. Care to share what you did?
post #40 of 41


Didn't pay attention to the dates, gave FP a rep and then noticed a post from panini.......THEN checked the date.

Oh well foodpump's advice was thoughtful and remains relevant to this day.



post #41 of 41

Hi yall

So I myself am an experienced well seasoned pastry chef. I opened up my dream house and have always been clear about the concept behind it, however the local market hasnt and in that I have become confused muyself! Originally and still now we are clarifying and slowly very slowly distinguishing ourselves from others, EVERYTHING IS A PASTRY, savory or sweet, I am NOT a Savory CHEF and have little to no short order cooking experience which is what people want. My cafe is an ecclectic pastry house that serves coffee with subtle southern notes (Chicory Coffee, beignet, and a few other new orleans inspired desserts). We some how were branded as"Louisianan Cajun/Creole" I am from New Orleans and moved away to get far from the same menu printed up on every restaurant and to create modernistic style desserts. I designed and built the cafe accordingly, the decor is modern yet classic and the kitchen is equiped to produce PASTRY not lunch to go orders. My uncle who is the cafes investor is impatient and wants to sell his shares of the business. It seems like all I do now is everything that i hate doing! I need a GM or Chef to partner up with and launch this place into space and allow me to concentrate on my production needs as I am having to put it all on my baker who doesnt do fine pastry at all... any advice on where i should turn to? the plan is to sell 39% shresand the remaining 61% will remain with myself, uncle and family to ensure majority shares. Advice? PLEASE? I need other owner/operators to speak out as I am tired of listening to every tom dick and harry and their opinions that have done nothing but cause severe confusion.


the MAD chef

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