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Notice of resignation

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 

So I am the AM manager of a small, but extremely busy restaurant in LA, with a handful of cooks who work under me and the PM manager who is basically the head chef for all of us.  One of the guys we hired a year ago wanted to take on more responsibility and learn some of managerial steps so we spent several months training him, eventually giving him a pay raise and a promotion of sorts.  This has been going nice and smooth until he got a job offer from a place he applied with 4 years ago (not another restaurant).  After receiving this news, he gave his ONE WEEK notice and that's that.  I can't blame him for wanting to take a well-paying job, isn't that what we all want?  And he has worked in this field in the past so it's entirely relevant for him to back into it but after pouring countless hours of training into this guy and losing him in a week, I'm a bit miffed.  I felt that considering his newly acquired position in the restaurant, more notice would've been ideal or at least some hints that he was considering looking elsewhere.  So what I'm left asking myself is, do I give him a good referral?  He worked very competently for the last year and was always a trooper in the most dire of situations but I run a small, tight crew and losing him will place a pretty substantial workload on the rest of his crew.  Do I just tell prospective employers that he was great for the last year but he screwed me over right at the end?  Trying to use my logic instead of the frustration this situation is causing me.  Insight is greatly appreciated.

post #2 of 29

I've always thought that 2 weeks was standard, but at any cook job I've left I've been asked "How long can you give me?". Basically is the weeks notice something you asked about or something he enforced?

post #3 of 29
Quote:
Do I just tell prospective employers that he was great for the last year but he screwed me over right at the end? 

No.   NEVER give any employee a bad review as it opens you up to lawsuit (if you are in the US).  If you are unsatisfied and do not wish to give him a good review just say "Mr X worked here from this date to this date, that is all I am comfortable discussing"  The new employer will get the message and you cover your own a$$.   Even huge corporations with giant HR departments refuse to divulge negative info about past employees, it leaves your business too vulnerable.   

post #4 of 29

It does not open you up to a lawsuit to give an employee a bad review if what you are saying is verifiable. That is a common myth in management and HR circles.

 

For example, "He's a crappy employee" is not something you can verify, and could open you up to a potential lawsuit, even if it's true. However, "He frequently no call, no showed so we had to fire him" is something you can verify, and as such you cannot be sued for making that statement if it's true and you have records to back up your assertion.

 

The rule of thumb you should stick by is to always tell the truth and don't let your emotions make you say things that are really just feelings and not facts. For your employee, it sounds like the truth is that he was a good employee but let you down when he only gave you a 1 week notice.

Brandon O'Dell

 

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post #5 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brandon ODell View Post

It does not open you up to a lawsuit to give an employee a bad review if what you are saying is verifiable. That is a common myth in management and HR circles.

 

For example, "He's a crappy employee" is not something you can verify, and could open you up to a potential lawsuit, even if it's true. However, "He frequently no call, no showed so we had to fire him" is something you can verify, and as such you cannot be sued for making that statement if it's true and you have records to back up your assertion.

 

I worked in the corporate world for quite some time before I went to culinary school, Ive seen it come back and bite far too many people.  You can defend yourself in court if you have documented proof, but that is far more trouble than it's worth.  By refusing to give a positive review the person on the other end of the line gets the message and the case will never make it to court if they try to sue you.  If you do say negative things you better have a lawyer on speed dial and a stack of documents/videotape  to prove your point.   

 

"He's frequently a no call no show" even leaves you open as different people will have different ideas about what "frequently" is.  That little slip  of saying frequently instead of saying "4 times in 3 weeks" could cost you thousands of dollars.  That's why it's more trouble than it's worth and why major corporations have people who specialize in these matters

post #6 of 29

He doesn't need a referral.

I mean, he got the job and is leaving/left.

 

Would I write him a reference letter? Nope. No way. No freaking way!

One week notice is absolutely unacceptable. It's treachery.

 

Six months later, after I cooled down, I might write a letter of reference.

post #7 of 29

"....We found "X" a competant employee, who is leaving us of his own accord and with  minimal notice.  We wish him all the best in his career."...........

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post #8 of 29

I think you're crying a little bit too much.  The guy did a good enough job, as you've told us.  He was trained and promoted.  It seems as if you like the guy.  Be happy for him, and stop crying about him leaving you in a week.  He had the curtesy of giving you a week.  Can you move someone up from within to replace him?  It sounds to me that you've got a pretty good thing going.  Are you telling us here that you that you can't find a decent enough cook in a week?

 

Our profession ain'te rocket surgery ... we work in kitchens. 

post #9 of 29

I would never give any one a bad reference unless you like defending lawsuits. While it doesn't mean the other party will win if they file a case, legal fees are expensive and you won't get very far with future promotions if your employer starts fighting lawsuits.

Remember it just might be you looking for a reference in the future.

For any of my people that were exceptional I always gave a letter of recommendation at their exit interview. For those I don't want to give a reference to I just don't respond to select questions when I get a reference call. Most HR people are pretty bright and get the hint pretty quick. There's no need to say any thing you might regret later no matter how much shuck n jive legal ease gets tossed about.

The rule of thumb here is treat people the way you would want to be treated.

In this case I wouldn't give a letter but I would give a positive reference if he ever needed one.

By your own admission the guy applied for this job years ago and still gave you a weeks notice to go to a much better job. Lighten up a bit and be happy for your staff when they can do better. It's not like the guy bent you over by walking off the line on Friday night. You also need to accept a little responsibility here IMO because it looks a bit shady when you say  you gave "him a pay raise and a promotion of sorts".

You either paid him appropriately and promoted him or you didn't.

 

Dave

I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
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I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
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post #10 of 29
Not giving negative references when they are deserved does a disservice to the restaurant world. Bad employees need to face consequences or they will be a bad employee for the next restaurant too.

The fear of lawsuits is way overblown. If you have simple documentation to back up a negative reference, a lawsuit will never make it to court. For that matter, the complaint will never make it past the state or federal department of labor and it won't require an attorney to defend against.

HR issues are SO misunderstood in the restaurant industry. Most manager's and owner's knowledge of labor law was learned from hearsay. They rarely take the time to call the state or federal department of labor to ask for advice. In my state, advice about negative references is listed on a FAQ page on the DOL website, as are many other misunderstood common labor issues.

Brandon O'Dell

 

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www.bodellconsulting.com

 

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post #11 of 29

It doesn't sound to me that he was a bad employee; after all, you saw potential, trained and promoted him.

It sounds like your only gripe with him was that he gave short notice. If he's not salaried, one to two weeks notice is acceptable, though tough on you, for sure.

It's possible that he could have lost out on the new opportunity if he didn't agree to starting quickly. Too bad for you, but that's how it works out sometimes. 

Would you be complaining so bitterly if he"d had to quit with short notice due to a family crisis?

If he's basically a good employee with a good work ethic, don't punish him for looking out for his best interests. 

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post #12 of 29

So, you hire a replacement and s/he says "I need to give my current employer two weeks notice" when you need them NOW.

 

Would they be a "bad employee" if you talked them into giving only one week notice?
 

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post #13 of 29

I think that for those who stay in the R&H field there are those whom have other talent besides, I knew an lawer who waited tables for a less stress jobs. While I coden't think of a more stressful job he loved serving,the thing is there are a lot of people who flip flop in the restaraunt industry we can't be jealous of those who do not stay in our industry. I would only list facts not feelings.

post #14 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by IceMan View Post

I think you're crying a little bit too much.  The guy did a good enough job, as you've told us.  He was trained and promoted.  It seems as if you like the guy.  Be happy for him, and stop crying about him leaving you in a week.  He had the curtesy of giving you a week.  Can you move someone up from within to replace him?  It sounds to me that you've got a pretty good thing going.  Are you telling us here that you that you can't find a decent enough cook in a week?

 

Our profession ain'te rocket surgery ... we work in kitchens. 

 

Courtesy of a week? Really?  I've given a month notice at each place I've ever worked.  2 weeks minimum!  I'm not sure how the talent pool is in Chicagoland, but here in SF, finding a solid cook in a week is nearly impossible.  A solid lead cook like this guy seems to be, is invaluable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PeteMcCracken View Post

So, you hire a replacement and s/he says "I need to give my current employer two weeks notice" when you need them NOW.

 

Would they be a "bad employee" if you talked them into giving only one week notice?
 

 

I would never "talk" a cook to screw their employer by giving 1 week, because I think its hypocritical.  I think its completely reasonable to give everyone in the kitchen a little overtime for a week and have that star cook sign on with class.

post #15 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by PeteMcCracken View Post

So, you hire a replacement and s/he says "I need to give my current employer two weeks notice" when you need them NOW.

Would they be a "bad employee" if you talked them into giving only one week notice?

Well said, sir.

 
post #16 of 29

I believe the cloaked issue here is the lack of loyalty of said employee..sure he was a hard worker, competent, and seemingly able to handle situations under a great deal of pressure, but what good are all those qualities to an employer or business if there is no loyalty and ethic?

 

It's tough...are you doing a disservice to the industry by not shedding light on the lack of this essential quality? or do you simply want retribution? I think that's an important question you need to ask yourself. There are ways you can diplomatically (or passive aggressively) point out this professional character flaw if you feel you owe it to the industry. However, if you're doing it to get even, I say take the high road, and karma will take care of you, and him in the end. I promise you this will happen. You may not be there to witness is, but I assure you this will occur.

 

To the employer who hired him, he's obviously aware he's given his current employer one weeks notice is not a person of character himself, so if said employee were to turn around and do it to new employer, then what goes around comes around, see? karma.

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post #17 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by IceMan View Post

I think you're crying a little bit too much.  The guy did a good enough job, as you've told us.  He was trained and promoted.  It seems as if you like the guy.  Be happy for him, and stop crying about him leaving you in a week.  He had the curtesy of giving you a week.  Can you move someone up from within to replace him?  It sounds to me that you've got a pretty good thing going.  Are you telling us here that you that you can't find a decent enough cook in a week?

 

Our profession ain'te rocket surgery ... we work in kitchens. 

 

 

All depends on the situation, I guess.  If it's a big kitchen or has multiple kitchens, it's easy to pull someone in to cover.  If it's a small place, it's not easy,because you have no excess staff and few employees on call or working p/t to draw from.  Keeping a file on current resumes is a crap-shoot as well because if someone is looking for a job, they'll usually find one if a matter of weeks--if not days. 

 

I tell my f/t employees that I require two weeks notice resignation after the required-by-law- 3 mth probation period is over, before I hire them, and I expect them to respect that request.  I'm sure we've all worked the 90 hr weeks covering the shift of the guy who got fired on-the-spot for stealing or some other deed, and we all know it can take weeks, even months before things settle down to a dull roar with a new guy in place and you getting some kind of a regular day off.

 

Here in Vancouver, the odds are stacked well against the employer, "the onus is on the employer" is the law.  So, if employees need babysitting and nappy-changing, then I'll change nappies.  F'rinstance we had this one dishwasher who one day just didn't show up.  Scuttlebutt was that he was now working across the street.  I call up and check--he was.  I told the owner across the street  that it was common courtesy for new hires  to quit the current job before starting a new one, he agreed.  Then we had a cook who was constantly late, he had recieved several warnings.  On his last day, I told him he would not work his 8 hr shift, but only the minimum 3 hr as required by law--he was a good hour late.  He freaks out and starts screaming throughout the dining room, and takes off.  I call up his other employer and tell him to watch for "X" as he is acting strangely and harrassing customers, oh--and to tell "X" NOT to come back for his last cheque, it would be mailed out.

 

I guess it all comes to this:  During the hiring/interview I always imagine the candidate talking about ME instead of his employer, if the candidate diss-es his current employer or collegues, or whatever, I imagine what he would be saying about me.  If I ask a candidate to quit toute-suite, and leave his current employer with less than a week, or that I would cover any expenses should he/she leave early, I know sooner or later the ball will come round to me and I'll be left with the same situation.

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post #18 of 29

By law you can't and better not say anything derogatory to a perspective employee. Other wise he can sue you.

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post #19 of 29

Touche'

post #20 of 29
(Duplicate post deleted)

Brandon O'Dell

 

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Brandon O'Dell

 

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post #21 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by chefedb View Post

By law you can't and better not say anything derogatory to a perspective employee. Other wise he can sue you.
Not trying to be inflamatory, but why would you be saying something derogatory to a prospective employee, and what does that have to do with giving a reference?

Brandon O'Dell

 

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O'Dell Restaurant Consulting

www.bodellconsulting.com

 

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post #22 of 29
I havent worked in the states in 9 years but I remember 2 weeks notice being the standard. Will that one week make any real difference? Also the question of loyalty has popped up, this person is going to work at a non competing business that he applied at 3years before commi g to work for you that sounds like a carear move, I dontsee where loyalty becomes a question. I understand it is tough to loose a good worker but if you had a year of good service from him then wish him best of luck and part on a positive note.
post #23 of 29

What about talking directly to the employee about it? Remind him of why he's been promoted and how much you need him, and that his giving one week leaves you in the lurch. Tell him you'd like him to put the start of the new place another week out. The worse that'll happen is he says no, but you've gotten your point across. 

 

If he's been great 99% of the time that's probably his true character. Get pissed but no need to get even.

post #24 of 29
Thread Starter 

Some great responses here.  Slamming his reputation is the last thing I would do, and I like Twyst's input on handling future people asking about him.  The reason his quitting was so catastrophic to our system is that we run a fairly lean crew, every person pulling their fair share.  It's not easy losing 40-50 hours of that kind of coverage.  What upset us (the entire staff) was that there was zero writing on the wall.  He ambitiously pursued a management position some 6 months ago, to which we obliged and prepared to work him into the position.  And YES, he was a salaried employee.  Any management position I was leaving, I gave 2-3 weeks notice in order for the company to either schedule accordingly or get someone new in.  He didn't even give a full week, more like 5 days notice.  I think some of you are right, I think I'm just angry that I spent countless hours training this guy, working with his schedule and trying to help him make more money and when a better opportunity came up, he jumped ship and left his peers to pick up his slack.  You're right, karma will come around full circle, it always does. 

 

Unfortunately, the timing for his new hire is immediate so I can't get another week out of him.  I've always been the type to let things run their course, so  I guess the consequence he'll have to face is working with an entire staff who will be negatively impacted by his choice the next 3 days.  Sounds like a nightmare to me.

post #25 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lagom View Post
Also the question of loyalty has popped up, this person is going to work at a non competing business that he applied at 3years before commi g to work for you that sounds like a carear move, I dontsee where loyalty becomes a question.

 

I don't see loyalty as an issue in this case.  In the Mid-West we have a lot of people that five years ago were making solid six figure salaries. The auto companies/suppliers have been calling many of those people back to work. It's a bit unreasonable to think that some one making a career move is going to keep grinding it out for two weeks.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by frostythespider View Post

Slamming his reputation is the last thing I would do, and I like Twyst's input on handling future people asking about him. 

 

 

No offense to Twyst and as I posted I handle things pretty much the same way when I don't want to give a positive reference. However, you are slamming the employee pretty hard when you refuse to comment. This is what I do with people that pull no-shows, get caught stealing etc. When you don't want to give a positive reference it only makes sense to work smart and CYA.

I'd just try to remember that while a short notice is not ideal it's not an employees fault that you are running with a skeleton crew. You might also ask your self if your employer told you to pink slip the guy or let him go if you would have given two weeks notice or two weeks severance pay.


Edited by DuckFat - 6/14/13 at 7:54am
I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
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I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
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post #26 of 29

 I worked in an industry where the day you gave a 2 week notice was the last day you worked for the company. This was industry wide in the Chicago area, not just one company. It goes both ways sometimes.

post #27 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by PeteMcCracken View Post

So, you hire a replacement and s/he says "I need to give my current employer two weeks notice" when you need them NOW.

 

Would they be a "bad employee" if you talked them into giving only one week notice?
 

 

Good conversation.

 


I wouldn't try to talk them into giving one week notice. That person would be working both jobs for two weeks.

And I don't mean that in a hard-ass way, that's just how it's done. Isn't it?

 

If I call on a reference and the person is tight lipped, I ask if the employee is eligible for re-hire. The answer is always "no".

That's the worst reference you can get IMO.

post #28 of 29

Basically I would tell anyone that called on a reference for the former employee pretty much what you told us.

 

He worked very competently for the last year and was always a trooper in the most dire of situations but I run a small, tight crew and losing him will placed a pretty substantial workload on the rest of the crew. I would have appreciated more than a one week notice from him.

 

Stick to facts and don't let emotions cloud the situation.


Edited by cheflayne - 6/15/13 at 7:27am
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post #29 of 29

Why does he need a referral?  He's already been offered a new job and has resigned his current job (with your establishment).  Sounds like the new gig is in the bag.

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