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Professionals: Your thoughts on working off the clock, the eternal cash-flow struggle, etc.

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

I am very earnestly interested in hearing your thoughts on the sacrifices a culinary professional makes in the realm of time and money, and how to keep morale up among an over-worked kitchen staff. 

 

What standards do you find acceptable for yourself as chef, sous chef, pastry chef? What are your expectations of your kitchen staff and how do you ensure that they feel their hard work is appreciated? 

 

Specifically: Do you expect your employees to work off the clock to avoid overtime? How do you handle a financial pinch in which you've promised someone a raise, but cash flow has slowed to a point where it becomes unaffordable? How do you handle off-prems, private functions, and special events when you can't afford the overtime your line cooks or pastry chef may need to work? How do you make the switch to salary worth it for a higher-up cook in your kitchen?

 

I am a former sous chef and present pastry chef in my mid-twenties, and would like to know other professional opinions as to what is expected, acceptable, and fair in kitchen terms. A restaurant is not any business. Food is not any field. We work in a very unique industry, and I would love to hear from seasoned professionals: what is fair? And I mean "kitchen" fair. What is acceptable sacrifice, and what is asking too much?

 

I so look forward to hearing your opinions. Thanks to all!

post #2 of 3

Alisha,

You're questions are all thought out and are spot on for the industry.

I hope you get some intellagent and helpful answers.

I will not throw up one  more brick or mortor to raise the wall between Pastry side and the Hot side. I can tell you I took a different approach

to making the crew happy ahd compensated.  It takes some work on you're part. You have to play the numbers. I never accepted numbers handed down to me. You have to jump in and calculate you're revenue from the products coming from your department. Breaks, snacks, bread service, desserts etc. Then calculate you food and labor cost. I really can't remember a time when my labor dollars were in line with kitchen dollars..Might be different. Just some thoughts.

Pan

FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 

panini--

 

thanks for your response. there is definitely a grand difference between what is required of the pastry station (especially with special events requiring breads, rolls, petits fours, cakes, etc.) and the hot side. i just want to keep my own perspective on what is fair in check by comparing it to that of others in the industry. nothing kills a kitchen like low staff morale/ cooks feeling as though their sweat and sleep deprivation goes completely unacknowledged. there are so many drastically different opinions on the topic out there, and i just want to ensure that the demands made in my workplace, and the expectations that i have for my own station and responsibilities, are in line with the culinary consensus. 

 

the kitchen is a battlefield and i want all the warriors to be on the same side.

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