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Cooks in Michigan

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Hi all,

 

I am reaching out in despair right now.  It has been near impossible to find quality help, making my current crew of bad news bears look like super stars.  It doesn't help that over half of my scheduled interviews don't even show up.  The applications and Resumes I get sent to my email use little to no punctuation, and appear near illiterate or as if we were chatting on an instant messenger.  Moreover, I get the occasional response with nothing more than an attached Resume, or a list of job requirements with no Resume attached.  I live in an area saturated with chain Restaurants and ours is one of the few decent places to go and eat.  

 

The few people who do actually show up for the interview will more than likely have wage requirements out of my budget, and then out of my last 3 hires only one stayed longer that 3 days.  The crazy thing is if I run an ad for dishwasher my email blows up with people willing to work for minimum wage.  

 

My current staff is aware of the inability to hire people, and is starting to push their boundaries.  I don't like being held hostage, and people starting to think they can be late to work, take multiple smoke/cell phone breaks, and not keep our standards will destroy the  work atmosphere I am trying to build.  What gives?  Do any other Chefs have similar experiences?

post #2 of 7

I have definitely noticed an entitlement issue with many below age 35 or so. It's not an across the board sweep but a generational reoccurring theme brought about, in my opinion, by well meaning parents handing every whim to their children with a bow attached.

post #3 of 7

I think it's like that no matter where you live.

It's hard to find good help and 80% do not make it past 90 days.

 

Luckily for me my daughter runs a second location and I’m able to get most of my employees from her.

 

The issue I have the most issue with is finding people that want to work night sift and that want to become a baker.

 

post #4 of 7

It is hard to find good help in michigan, im from just outside detroit ill be in los angles until august, send me the information maybe ill come by and drop an app. 

post #5 of 7

This seems to be a world wide Problem.  I had the same Problem in Canada  and now here in Austria.  This is just me and my opinion but i blame the Food networks, partly,  everyone wants to be a Chef and think they can be.  Also the cooking Schools are pushing out far too many graduates with the mindset from the Young Cooks that think they are now Chefs and are not overly willing to just do the Job given to them and learn.   The good places hang on to there Cooks because they are good places to work and the rest have to look very hard for some one decent.   I hire more then one Person for one Job and see who is better after 2 weeks.  This seems to be the austrian way and I dont mind it.  But man do I see some crazy sht from some Cooks that i have hired. 

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

Hi all,

I am reaching out in despair right now.  It has been near impossible to find quality help, making my current crew of bad news bears look like super stars.  It doesn't help that over half of my scheduled interviews don't even show up.  The applications and Resumes I get sent to my email use little to no punctuation, and appear near illiterate or as if we were chatting on an instant messenger.  Moreover, I get the occasional response with nothing more than an attached Resume, or a list of job requirements with no Resume attached.  I live in an area saturated with chain Restaurants and ours is one of the few decent places to go and eat.  

The few people who do actually show up for the interview will more than likely have wage requirements out of my budget, and then out of my last 3 hires only one stayed longer that 3 days.  The crazy thing is if I run an ad for dishwasher my email blows up with people willing to work for minimum wage.  

My current staff is aware of the inability to hire people, and is starting to push their boundaries.  I don't like being held hostage, and people starting to think they can be late to work, take multiple smoke/cell phone breaks, and not keep our standards will destroy the  work atmosphere I am trying to build.  What gives?  Do any other Chefs have similar experiences?



The first red flag I saw was " wage requirements out of my budget ". Im not trying to be a jerk but if you cant offer a competive wage based on someone skill then your going to have a hard time attracting quality applicants. When I had my business in the states( PA. )I made it a point to be at the higher end of the scale of wages and paid people a higher wage than they would make elsewhere. Look at it this way, if you pay a buck an hour above the local average and a cook works 50 hours a week then if cost you 55 dollars( yes plus all the tax )above the payy avg, but you get more quality work and a more loyal employee. Im not saying it has to be a dollar an hour, though thats not much, but I have known people to move jobs for a quarter an hour just because their boss wouldnt come thru with anything. Plus a good dish washer is worth a lot mire than mim. Wage.

Next red flag, letting the employees see you have a problem with staffing. You got to keep that to yourself. Schedule interviews off site, ir during down hours or days. Are you out activily recruiting quality people? I am never without a business card to hand out and had no problem with approaching quality people to recruit when I saw one, even if I didnt have an opening then I would still hire someone worth hiring and find work for them.

Mulitable smoke and cell phone breaks? I am a smoker, so I get it, but work is work, you have to be proactive in controling that, cruise the kitchen, set regular break times, I learned a long time ago that yes we can have breaks in this business, to expect some one to work 12 hours without a bit of a break doesnt work long term. Service starts at 1130, at quarter after give everyone ten mins, a smoker will burn 2 in that time and be ready for a busy lunch, rush over at 2, clean your station and take ten, give and take. Cell phones, baned, all cells go into the office on vibrate, give out the main phone line number for emergencys only. First person you catch talking or texting, fire them, second person, fire them, everyone will notice the trend. Make sure your fair about it and dont limit it to the boh, servers shouldnt have cell phones either.

The atmosphere in the restaurant is set by the leader, you have to be not only willing to do what is needed, from plunging toliets, cooking a station, serving tables, whatever. Get rid of the dead weight, and get a rep as not only a quality place to dine but a quality place to work. Its is better to keep 50 % of the staff and tough it out until you fill the positions with good people than to jyst keep warm bodies in place.

Please not that Im not trying to sound like a hardass jerk, just trying to pass on what Ive learned and what works for me.
post #7 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lagom View Post


The first red flag I saw was " wage requirements out of my budget ". Im not trying to be a jerk but if you cant offer a competive wage based on someone skill then your going to have a hard time attracting quality applicants. When I had my business in the states( PA. )I made it a point to be at the higher end of the scale of wages and paid people a higher wage than they would make elsewhere. Look at it this way, if you pay a buck an hour above the local average and a cook works 50 hours a week then if cost you 55 dollars( yes plus all the tax )above the payy avg, but you get more quality work and a more loyal employee. Im not saying it has to be a dollar an hour, though thats not much, but I have known people to move jobs for a quarter an hour just because their boss wouldnt come thru with anything. Plus a good dish washer is worth a lot mire than mim. Wage.

Next red flag, letting the employees see you have a problem with staffing. You got to keep that to yourself. Schedule interviews off site, ir during down hours or days. Are you out activily recruiting quality people? I am never without a business card to hand out and had no problem with approaching quality people to recruit when I saw one, even if I didnt have an opening then I would still hire someone worth hiring and find work for them.

Mulitable smoke and cell phone breaks? I am a smoker, so I get it, but work is work, you have to be proactive in controling that, cruise the kitchen, set regular break times, I learned a long time ago that yes we can have breaks in this business, to expect some one to work 12 hours without a bit of a break doesnt work long term. Service starts at 1130, at quarter after give everyone ten mins, a smoker will burn 2 in that time and be ready for a busy lunch, rush over at 2, clean your station and take ten, give and take. Cell phones, baned, all cells go into the office on vibrate, give out the main phone line number for emergencys only. First person you catch talking or texting, fire them, second person, fire them, everyone will notice the trend. Make sure your fair about it and dont limit it to the boh, servers shouldnt have cell phones either.

The atmosphere in the restaurant is set by the leader, you have to be not only willing to do what is needed, from plunging toliets, cooking a station, serving tables, whatever. Get rid of the dead weight, and get a rep as not only a quality place to dine but a quality place to work. Its is better to keep 50 % of the staff and tough it out until you fill the positions with good people than to jyst keep warm bodies in place.

Please not that Im not trying to sound like a hardass jerk, just trying to pass on what Ive learned and what works for me.

 

Well said. I agree with just about everything you said, except for the cell phone thing. I don't understand any reasoning why cooks and employees can't have cell phones. Obviously taking or making calls during service (unless a true emergency) is a no no, but shouldn't I (as a professional cook/chef) be trusted to be able make decisions about making phone calls or texting during prep or breaks? I've never understood this rule...I mean, most professionals in most jobs can take calls on their phones during business hours (unless they are on a business call, in a meeting, etc) so why should being a cook/chef be any different? 

 

But yeah, you might take a hard look at your hiring practices and realize that more, or at least some, of the problem might lay with you. I'm not saying that all the blame is yours, but all the blame might not be with everyone else if you can't find employees and the ones you do find leave after a few days. Why did only one person stay longer than 3 days? If you pay too low you won't attract good people. 

 

You might try hitting up some culinary schools...younger kids might be looking for experience over pay, and while they might not be very experienced, there is a decent chance that they are somewhat motivated to learn and do a good job. 

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