I almost want to print out 100 resumes and stop by every mom and pop restaurant around, but is there a better way?
Actually this is the best way to start. However don't do a random 100 places... eat at a place, peek in the doors to the kitchen if you can and then decide.
Finding the right MnP is the hard part some just don't want change / new help and you'll likely never fit in.
Those looking for change are likely not going to have the money to match your resume, so you'll have to make concessions.
- accept less pay as long as you get free-reign (within a pre-set budget / man hours)
- accept that things might have to be less than perfect in order to make ends meet. Not enough equipment / product or personnel.
However The Biggest Thing i've found is finding the right personality match between the owner and yourself. That is the key.
I was the Chef at a MnP for about 3 years...turned the place completely around. Grew sales from 3 digits a night to 5... seriously the till was in the hundreds when I started and in the 10's of thousands after 3 years.
Sadly I had never really 'clicked' with the owners or made a connection, so when the business became profitable they simply didn't include any compensation for me or even really any recognition. It was kind of like 'well, ya we hired you to fix the place... so you're only doing your job'
After pestering a bit they finally gave me a raise... 2 years later, and shortly after they hired a 'new' guy to take over... called a Kitchen Manager. The atmosphere became pretty bad so I started dropping hints that I was going to move on... they seemed to get the hint and once I found the next job I just left. They didn't write me any letters or anything but gave a positive reference on the phone.
I can't really say that the owners were at fault nor myself, it's just that we didn't communicate clearly from the start and never really grew our relationship.
(sorry it kinda sounds like dating advice ... but it's probably the same (LOL))
Now I'm the Sous at a larger and more diverse place, the atmosphere, working conditions and hours are great. The owners are fair and engaged but at the same time the chef will likely retire in about oh say about another 15 years! And I can't really expect any upwards movement until then. But I work a steady 35-45 hours a week, get 2 days off usually (not in a row) and have a few benefits.
Will I be here in 15 years... really hard to say. I'm not learning much, we do specials everyday that we get to play with but the food cost has to be relatively low. Advancement, well not really until someone else decides to move. Pay, they seem to think a dime a year isn't bad... sheesh, however it's balanced by the fact that I know what profit per plate they are making; so I understand and can swallow it a bit easier. The place is busier than ever and we rarely have a slow night, I like the people that I work with but it still is hard to say "I'll be here for another 15 years!"
Truth Immortal : Time will tell.