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The time has come.

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

It’s been 25 years since I first tied an apron around my waist. 25 years of dishwashing, bussing, serving, bartending, baking, cooking and managing. 25 years of greasy spoons, independents, banquets, fine dining and hotels. 25 years of mornings so early it’s late, and nights so late it’s early. 25 years of unpaid overtime, 20 hour days, sociopath managers, drunks, addicts, perverts and assholes.

Owners that refuse to listen to logic, that can’t understand why 100 plates isn’t enough for a 112 seat restaurant. Why a 15 year old slicer needs to be replaced. Why a four burner rangetop, a 12” flattop and one deep fryer aren’t enough to service 5 flips of 75 seats in a 6 hour period. Why 32 hours labour isn’t enough to service the same.

Customers that simply seem to get ruder and angrier and more entitled as the years pass.

I’m tired. Really tired. I gave this career everything I had. I walked up to the altar and sacrificed my friends, my hobbies, my family, my house… all in the pursuit of being the best I could be. I climbed the ladder hard and fast, with blood, sweat and tears, in the most literal sense.

And I’m done. I’ll be back… but when I am back it will be on my terms, in my name, in my place, with my hands. I simply refuse to give any more to thankless, greedy, profiteering businessmen who owe more to their shareholders than their employees. I will no longer cut the hours of employees who make barely enough to live on, so the owners can make “more” profit than they already do. I will no longer face ever tightening budgets in the name of fat cash for fat cats. There is never an end to their greed. Give them a 32% food cost this year, they want 30% next. Give them a 27% liquor cost, they want 23%. Explain to them that it takes X amount of labour just to meet the bare minimums, they tell you to fire someone and take their place while still somehow managing your own 10 hours of work a day.

This business is beginning to suck. I look around and see hotels shutting down their F&B operations and bringing in chains. I see chains cutting staff down to part time hours to cut benefits. I see vendors that are losing interest in the little guy, and prices that steadily climb.

I love this business. I’ve given it my entire life. I lied about my age to get into it, and I have never looked back, I have ALWAYS been in it. Always. I love it. But I’ll be f*cked if I give another drop of blood to suit and tie leeches who could give a rat’s ass whether or not their employees can pay rent.

F&B needs a reset. Badly. From the top down.

So I am out. Nothing but love for the people who bust their ass every day in the trenches… to you I say, give it what you can, but make sure you get yours too. I also say… take it easy on  your managers and chefs, they’ve been there, and they shield you from a TON of shit that you will never see. To the managers, I say this… remember where you came from, and never forget how you felt when you were there. To the BOH.. you aren't shit without a good FOH, and the same goes for the FOH. The crap you each deal with is unique to your position, but it's still crap and stress and hard work. Neither of you gives more than the other.

Goodbye. It’s been an exciting, depressing, wonderfully shitty rollercoaster ride. But dammit, I need to do something else for a while.

post #2 of 17
Beautiful. You echo my feelings perfectly.

Best of luck to you in all you endeavours.
A person who never made a mistake, never tried anything new.  - Al E
Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.  - Ben Franklin
A person who never made a mistake, never tried anything new.  - Al E
Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.  - Ben Franklin
post #3 of 17

I feel for you,



Now that your feelings are out in the open, many business real-estate agents are drooling at the possibility of finding a possible buyer.


Face it, you're a "lifer", and if you don't like golf, you'll never be a good sales rep.  So, instead of dealing with azz-hat owners and f'n'b's, you'll be dealing with landlords and customers!


Lemme tell ya, there's nothing like working a good 80 hr week only to find  that some (del;eted) has been dragging your name in the mud all over twitter or f.b. becasue you wouldn't give her a 50% discount on her bridal shower party AND the landlord sends you a bill for "your portion" of the bill to fix the water main that burst and left you waterless for 48 hrs last month.


Bend over, here it comes again, just don't cough, or you'll soil yourself!!!!!. 

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
post #4 of 17

"It’s been an exciting, depressing, wonderfully shitty rollercoaster ride.

But dammit, I need to do something else for a while."



Wow that was all....pretty powerful.

Perhaps you should try writing for a while.



post #5 of 17

Prairie Chef:  I took your advice 14 years ago and have never looked back. All my best..

post #6 of 17

Good luck, I have been in 30 years, tried to get out once, lasted about 5 minutes.

post #7 of 17

PC, I have said the same thing at one time or another, but never all at one time. I know exactly what your going through, anyone in this business for a lot of year would. I took your advice 15 years ago that ended a few months ago, I have no regrets. I also love this business, I'm good at it and it gives me what I put into it, self satisfaction was all I ever wanted, it's also what I got. Once that stops, it's time to roll up the carpet and move on. You will be back, sit back and watch for a while, you will come back better than when you left. If I ever do come back to this business, it will be a one man show, not counting on anyone for any thing..........take care and see you in the hallways.......................ChefBillyB

post #8 of 17

Bon Chance..

post #9 of 17

Well spoken.


Sitting here on my 37th bday, with 20 yrs in this industry come & gone i'm counting down the monthes to my departure.


I'm taking online courses with a couple of different focuses that will ultimately lead me to one career out of foodservice.

post #10 of 17

Amen.....see you on the other side and good luck.

post #11 of 17

thank you prairiechef for making a difference to so many for so long....i salute and sincerely thank you......but you'll be back, trust me...morphed and's not a choice you have, that you've ever had's not only part of who you are  it IS who you are....its your the meantime, enjoy your sabbatical!......just curious, do you have an ocean nearby? they work miracles!...


Edited by durangojo - 2/25/12 at 8:15pm

food is like should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne


food is like should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

post #12 of 17

Nicely said my brother.I have worked in it since before food possessors.30 years.I use to say "i will see them go out of business paying me" but now I MUST WORK FOR MYSELF eh.Cheers

post #13 of 17

Well said. 


That is exactly how I felt after my short lived experience at the diner.  But I love what I do and I knew I wanted to still work with food and when I saw the commissary and soup kitchen positions advertised I jumped at them.  I knew I had just as much chance of landing those jobs as the next person but I had really wanted them and for some reason it worked  out for me.


I still work with food, and I don't have the BS that comes all of what you mentioned.  I cook for the homeless, marginally housed/employed on an on call basis and at the commissary full time.  The commissary supplies the grocery store chain with ready to serve and finish food items as well bakery items and items that customers can buy and cook at home (like the pizzas I make every day)  I really like who I work with and who I work for... the head office people are really good to us and the company I work for is one of the top 100 employers in Canada.. I have three weeks vacation every year, benefits, a yearly shoe allowance, two personal days a year, a pension plan and a bunch of other perks that I have yet to learn about. 


Yeah I do feel like in some ways that I sold out but this is good for me at where I am in my life


I hope you find the same thing that fits your life and what you want out of it..




OK ... where am I going?.. and WHY am I in this handbasket??
OK ... where am I going?.. and WHY am I in this handbasket??
post #14 of 17

Wow, is all I can say. I am a newly appointed Kitchen Manager of an group of restaurant concepts in an airport. What you described is exactly what I deal with on a day to day basis. I can honestly say that I hope to NEVER feel the way you do, but I think its inevitable. My only saving grace is that my GM is actually against most of the corporate BS.


I don't have 20 yrs in (I was a graphic designer for 10 +yrs) and this IS my second career. I just hope my passion for the industry does not fade. I do agree with the consensus though, I believe that you'll be back and be better (you can't keep a good man down), because like my screen name's not what we do...It's WHO WE ARE!


So I say good luck to you, go find your happiness...we ALL deserve to be happy..

post #15 of 17

This is a second career for me too, and I'm self taught.  Some of our benefits at work cover work-related training so I'm thinking of taking a class to help better myself.


I think I've found the place I'll retire from... I got my corporate card in the mail today and from what I've seen so far it's worth its weight in gold and in six months I can participate in the share plan and pension plan and as my husband says... every little bit will help!



OK ... where am I going?.. and WHY am I in this handbasket??
OK ... where am I going?.. and WHY am I in this handbasket??
post #16 of 17

Best of luck Prairie Chef, in your future endevours

post #17 of 17

I don't post much but this thread hits home. I am 37 and I own my own business. I started as a dishwasher at 13 here and worked my way up. I left to pursue more experience when I was younger and came back here to run the kitchen 14 years ago. Ended up buying the business and property. The details are very messy of why I am in my current situation. 


I am so effing burnt out on dealing with the bankrupt state that I work in, guests looking for cheaper food and asking for the world on a platter. I am about to lose my home in the midst of this because I can't pay myself enough. 


I too have given my blood, sweat and tears to my business, surrounding community, to my staff. But it hasn't been enough. This place cannot provide for my family - but since I own it I can't just walk away. EFF my life.


I look into the eyes of my little girls and see so much hope and strength in them....and I can't provide for them. I don't want them to have to worry about having to take care of my wife and I when we are older. I'd rather be fertilizer for their garden than hold them back in any way.


To the OP. I wish you all the best. Although our situations are different I can relate to your pain.


Best of luck to my comrades in the foodservice industry.  

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