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or am I just being weak?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Question for all you that work/run kitchens.

I took interest in the culinairy world 6 years ago,and last year i quit my job and started working as a dishwasher at a restaurant.

My job was to mop ,wash dishes ...and help the cooks when busy.The restaurant was at a point if transition of owners and staff.3 Months later I abandoned the dish manager position and became a cook.

Now ,by myself i cook around 34+ menu items.
The 2 other cooks split 24 menu items between themselves.
This was extremely hard the first 7 months,since I had zero exp as a cook or working a kitchen.
I work the deepfrier,the grill, make the soups, sauces,salads,and house 6/8 house specialties.
Apps range from fried soft shell crab ,deep.fried wimgs,to grilled chicken or dried beef.
There are about 9.diff soups,3 salads ,and then specialty entrees like salmon,mussels or steaks aside from 12 other entrees.
Service lows down if I get held up working apps,soups,salads,and entrees all at the same time,even when its not so busy because i get overwhelmed fromthe amount of orders I get.
The other 2 cooks stand around and wait for me to cook my 12 orders so they can.split 3 or 4 between.them two.Tjey only cook.entrees.And it goes on like this all the time.

Is this how it is in.your restaurants? If one guy is busy doing most of the food,do all the other cooks just stand there and wait,work on their prep work,while its their turn to cook?
Its only 3 cooks in a 60 seat restaurant.

Arent cooks supposed to work every station or help the station thats the busiest?
Or is the cook for that specific station supposed to pull it together by himself and make most of the$ for the restaurant????

I was told "We all have our own jobs and tasks"
It kills all my drive and concentration to see tickets of orders pile all,all for me...and the other cooks waiting around or relaxing .I do get help once in a while when.the head cooks in a good mood or bored.

So ,is there something wrong with this set up or am I just being weak?
post #2 of 8

That just dose not sound right. I have seen a lot of places set up like that. Some times it is from how the equipment is set up and part of the time it is from people with big heads. To me it sounds like people with big heads.

 

When you get slammed what are the ticket times (what is a good ticket time)? Do you ever get behind to the point the wait staff have to come ask for there food? I wounder how much this cost the owner over the next few years not being able to turn over the tables as much and people not coming back from slow food?

 

It can be hard to talk to owners and keep you credibility when it comes to something like this and you do not have much experience.

 

 

I believe in the 20 item menu rule a lot of the time we are at 16 items. 12 of the items are on our menu and the rest on our “daily specials”. With us being a bakery and someone else deals with desert they do not count. We have 3 cooks on from 5am to 10:30 pm, a prep cook from 5am to around 8pm, and a kitchen manager.

 

1 cook works and switches, 1 works salads, and 1 cuts vegetables until there needed to dip soups, work the flat top, and help out. Prep cook dose soups, salad dressings, casseroles, and such. The kitchen manager ends up spending most of there shift on the line with the cooks.

 

Between 6am and 10pm we do around 1,000 to go entries and serve at least 500 entries in the dinning room. Almost every day there are 2 or more catering orders going out that the kitchen has to help out with.   

post #3 of 8

It sounds like a shit system but you should just push through and enjoy being busy and learn as much as you can.

post #4 of 8

It sounds like you work with a couple of lazy cooks. Don't worry though. Before you know it, you'll know so much more than them and be their sous chef. Or, a sous chef somewhere else.

post #5 of 8

The other two cooks should not be "standing around" at all.  Period.  Don't care what the "set up" of the kitchen is.  If the only orders in are apps, salads, and fried stuff they should be helping you if they aren't occupied with other tasks.

 

The best kitchens I've worked in would see the cooks "shift" along the line as needed.  Typically the app/salads would get blown up first with little activity from the main line...then the main line would be busiest while the salad station would slow...then as the main line slowed down the dessert station would be hit heaviest.  So what would happen is that as the early pop comes in on the salad and apps, people would help out there as much as possible...then during the height of the rush the salad guy is slow but the main line is heavy and the salad guy helps them out as much as he can.  Then towards the end of the night everyone starts helping with the desserts or clean up.

 

To me it just sounds like laziness on the part of the other cooks.  I've seen this before.  Especially with the guys who have been there longest letting the new guys do the extra work.  If thats the case you might have to get a little angry and go off on them and let them know you won't take that crap.  Although that might not be a good idea if they have authority over you or are favorites of the managers or owners.  

 

But if its all actively affecting service...ticket times, food quality...that should get the attention of someone that matters who has a stake in whats going on.  If not and theres no chef or manager or owner who gives a crap about it, then you're probably not in a good place to be.

 

Also, that sounds like a poorly designed menu.  Can't say for certain as every restaurant is different, but ideally the menu should be balanced among the work stations.  Harder to do than it is to say of course, but when a menu is put together that should be something thats kept in mind.  Additionally, daily specials should be used that help balance out the workload between the stations...i.e. if the menu is saute heavy, the specials should not all be coming off the saute station.

 

Sounds as if prep is split unevenly too, but that might just be a result of the above factors.  Again though, it shouldn't matter what station the prep is coming into, nobody should be standing around if theres working needing done.  Yes, your mise is your responsibility, but thats different than saying that only the salad guy should be making soups.

 

And really..."We all have our own jobs and tasks"...that is just absurd.  Its a kitchen, its a team...someone saying that in my kitchen would have a few months of some extra shit work coming there way....walkins always need deep cleaned it seems, and those hood filters get real greasy...

post #6 of 8

As a chef/owner I can tell you being caught standing around watching someone else in it up to their necks is a sure fire way to experience the joys of the job market.
 

post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone for your responses.

Ive brought it up, and the head cook gets "mad" that I cant held it down during service because its a bother apparently if I need help busting out orders when hes trying to do prep work for the next 2 days.


It bothers me that the servers/owners rush me to do 70% of the food for tables, but truth is its only 1 cook working at certaint points during service.
And when.i confronted.the other cooks,they said its ridiculous for all 3 of us helping to get the food out of my stations,they have to.be ready for when.their items are called out or food will be slow to.go out on their side

I have def tried to step.up my game ,but the 2 cooks and the expo guy are being lazy,right?
post #8 of 8

The situation could be that the workload is actually shared out fairly evenly because the other 2 are doing the popular dishes and it's your lack of experience that is making you struggle, for example in my restaurant 3 dishes of a menu of 16 make up around half of the orders so the guy doing those does little else. A competent cook can look bored while working hard, thinking back to when I first started I was always sure I was doing twice as much as anyone else, I doubt it was true.

 

Assuming they are really just standing around doing no food and it's you lack of experience causing the problem they should be getting stuck in with you and helping you to learn better systems and work-flow so that in time you'll be able to handle it by yourself (or of course fire you for not being up to the job, sorry frown.gif ). What they are doing is only slowing down service which is bad for customers and therefore bad for business.

 

Do you think it could be that the other cooks don't like that you got promoted so soon after starting?

 

If everything is as it seems and they're just lazy gits my advice would be to get to 1 year service as a cook for your curriculum and then take that experience to somewhere that will appreciate it. At least being pushed that hard makes you good under pressure and you should impress in the next place biggrin.gif.

 

By the way, who in the world needs 9 soups on a menu? Are there a lot of toothless old crones where the restaurant is?

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