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short order chain resturaunts? thoughts?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

hey all! ive been working in resturaunts all my life. but all have been a chain to some degree... right now im at an applebees, and to my surprise, not too bad as far as iconic problems. (i.e. frozen foods, prepacked foods.. ect.) but i want to know what everyones take is on working in a chain resturaunt such as applebees?

 

ik there will mostly be negative comments.. but i just want to know what thoughts are of this. you see in my area, theres not very many high end places, and even the high end places end up being chains to a degree.. and i dont plan on moving haha.. so my i just want to know some thoughts :)

post #2 of 7

A lot of people talk down about chain restaurants, but the fact is, the food from chains is tested, re-tested, and tested once more before the product goes out to the franchises.

The corporate Chefs do research and development (R&D) to create a menu item that tastes good, looks good presentation wise, and, for want of another way of putting it....is as "idiot proof" as it can be.

 

That being said, it is this part which makes the chain work or fail.

That would be the ability of the chain restaurant employees to carry out the steps created by the R&D guys.

Many places fail on this account and perhaps this is why so many chains get a bad rap.

post #3 of 7
Seeing some of the more popular chains (Chili's, TGI, Olive Garden, ect) and how they're practically giving their lunch chest away now, it's making it hard for the independent restaurants in some areas to stay open. Coming from a smaller city where they're rampant everywhere, that's mostly the reason I won't eat at them. Not saying their food isn't good enough to eat, just have to support the locals more. The restaurant I'm at was struggling this time last year when a Chili's, a Texas RH, and a Longhorn opened within ~8 minutes in either direction

Working in one is a different story. Do what you have to do to earn money!
post #4 of 7

You can learn something in any kitchen, even chains.  In fact, theres a lot you can pick up from working in a chain restaurant that does mostly heat-and-serve type cooking.

 

The big things are organization, timing, cleanliness, and speed.  And those are very big things.  A lot of times these things are more important in a chain than in a stand alone, from scratch kitchen.  When its 4 guys on a line doing 500 covers on an 80 item menu, each and every night, with a KM over your shoulder yelling about 7 minute ticket times, there is no room for error, and those highly successful chains won't carry any deadweight for long, so if you can't keep up you're gone.  So you'll learn a whole bucnh, or you won't last.

 

Unfortunately, theres a lot you won't learn as well, as the breadth of actual cooking in those places is slim.  Generally those places aren't making their own stocks or soups or breaking down primals or hand making pasta or desserts or bread, etc etc etc.  

 

But in my experience, I'll look to hire somebody with solid chain store experience over someone fresh out of culinary school.  If I see a guy spent two or three years at Olive Garden, and he checks out when I call about it, I know that person is a proven cook.  Someone out of culinary school with no experience is unproven (and in my experience has a 50/50 chance of being worthless).  I don't care if you're a CIA grad...can you hold down a fry station on a busy friday night?  Because if you can't at least do that, I've got no use for you, no matter how many different sauces you have memorized. I can train someone to make the things I need made, but its hard to train someone to be fast, organized, and clean short of just yelling at them.  So I wouldn't look at having mostly chain experience as a handicap by any means

 

But, that experience will only get you so far.  And if you do find yourself in a scratch kitchen, you'll probably be behind the learning curve a bit.  There is a very big difference in the work needing done, prep work mostly.  The amount of prep needed in even a smaller kitchen can be shocking to someone coming from a heat and serve background.  Some things take hours and hours to prep, or even days.  But with a background in chain stores, and being clean and organized, and being comfortable in a kitchen and using kitchen equipment, it will come quite easily to you.

post #5 of 7

Nothing wrong with chain restaurants, I drive by them all the time when going out to dinner at my favorite locally owned restaurants........................ChefBillyB

post #6 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by wvman2374 View Post

You can learn something in any kitchen, even chains.  In fact, theres a lot you can pick up from working in a chain restaurant that does mostly heat-and-serve type cooking.

 

The big things are organization, timing, cleanliness, and speed.  And those are very big things.  A lot of times these things are more important in a chain than in a stand alone, from scratch kitchen.  When its 4 guys on a line doing 500 covers on an 80 item menu, each and every night, with a KM over your shoulder yelling about 7 minute ticket times, there is no room for error, and those highly successful chains won't carry any deadweight for long, so if you can't keep up you're gone.  So you'll learn a whole bucnh, or you won't last.

 

Unfortunately, theres a lot you won't learn as well, as the breadth of actual cooking in those places is slim.  Generally those places aren't making their own stocks or soups or breaking down primals or hand making pasta or desserts or bread, etc etc etc.  

 

But in my experience, I'll look to hire somebody with solid chain store experience over someone fresh out of culinary school.  If I see a guy spent two or three years at Olive Garden, and he checks out when I call about it, I know that person is a proven cook.  Someone out of culinary school with no experience is unproven (and in my experience has a 50/50 chance of being worthless).  I don't care if you're a CIA grad...can you hold down a fry station on a busy friday night?  Because if you can't at least do that, I've got no use for you, no matter how many different sauces you have memorized. I can train someone to make the things I need made, but its hard to train someone to be fast, organized, and clean short of just yelling at them.  So I wouldn't look at having mostly chain experience as a handicap by any means

 

But, that experience will only get you so far.  And if you do find yourself in a scratch kitchen, you'll probably be behind the learning curve a bit.  There is a very big difference in the work needing done, prep work mostly.  The amount of prep needed in even a smaller kitchen can be shocking to someone coming from a heat and serve background.  Some things take hours and hours to prep, or even days.  But with a background in chain stores, and being clean and organized, and being comfortable in a kitchen and using kitchen equipment, it will come quite easily to you.

 

 

Wise words......Yes!

post #7 of 7
I worked at an applebees. management was awful. there would be ghosts on the schedule because the software required spits to be filled. huge daily prep list.
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