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How to build a strong crew from an average group

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

Hello, I have been involved with a group of people that range in talent to run a buffet. 12 hot wells, 2 salad islands and 1 dessert island. Average covers ranges from 500 to 900 per night thru-out the week. Most are average at best and a few know how to pump the groceries out, only when it is busy. I am trying to team work, even though that means that the strong usually end up helping the weak.

This always ends with resentments as we are human. I have worked with them, to their surprise, as they have never had a supervisor, sous-chef or chef help them do the work. I encourage organization (mise en place), time awareness ( bought a clock for the wall), and communication. The lead cook I encourage to delegate smaller assignments to the food runners; prep prior to service and helping to either fire or pull hot items from the oven, sham, fryer, or steamer during service. I have shown and suggested that one person plate all hot items except for steamed vegetables,( easy enough for a runner), so that 4 runners are not trying to assemble a separate dish at the same time on one 12' table, (it's crazy to watch). I have been with them on a 1,000 + cover night and all goes well, you just cannot stop, ABDS is my motto ( Always Be Doing Something ) So, I have seen them perform, but when left alone for approximately 15 to 20 minutes, they fall apart, finger pointing, and that's not my job to playing stupid and milking a task. My question to you all is any idea's of how to build a strong crew from a group of average people.


I thank you all now for your thoughts

post #2 of 4
I've never worked for a constant buffet, only put them out on mothers day and such. But, the first thing I would address is the resentment on the team. Generally it occurs when you have weak team members not striving for improvement. Sit everyone down and be straight with them. We've all been the weak link at some point and those of us that have had the experience being the strong player should be all about helping to make sure things go smoothly.
post #3 of 4
Sounds like you already have a strong team. But, you cant leave them alone, is all. I've definately been in that situation; the only thing i can say is, it's your kitchen, set the expectations that they will help each other and finish all tasks as a team, whether you are there or not. That has to be "your way." The best chefs are the ones their cooks listen too when they're not there. Apparently you are resposible for their successes so far, take the next step and hold them accountable for each others work. If they don'twant to do it they will motivate each other. Also, work with your lead cook. If he isn't a leader, what is he doing?
post #4 of 4

Check out the Disney model of team building.

I worked for a huge medical system that was having problems with motivation.

The entire model took almost a year for us but maybe there are some short term fixes you could implement.

Good luck.



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