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A question to chefs

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
How do you guys feel about that quality control of restaurunts where the head chef is also the owner versus a head chef hired by an owner that runs the restaurant? Weird question but I work along side a head chef at a fine dining restaurant and he is also the owner, I always wonder how it would be life if that was different.
post #2 of 14

I suppose it depends on the individual.  But you would expect a chef that was the owner to be obsessed with quality control since he has the most invested in the success of the business.

"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
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"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
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post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
quality control is a very hard thing especially with a high volume restaurunt
post #4 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by jhtessema View Post

quality control is a very hard thing especially with a high volume restaurunt

I would have to disagree with that. To me, it is no harder to maintain quality at high or low volume, it is a matter of standards set and maintained. Ive done it both as a chef abd chef owner. Just be consistant.
post #5 of 14
For the chef du patron, the standard should be higher than a chef de cuisine, I have alot more respect and cut more slack for patron, they have alot to deal with and if it is a "one man operation" even moreso. They are the real workhorses in this industry!
post #6 of 14

Quality control, customer satisfaction,  as well as maintenance and repair of the property and equipment usually fares better when the owner is the Chef or a working partner.  

 

Most places start of this way, and then once things settle down the owner is away or on "extended" holidays with staff taking up the various duties.  What this really means is that if no huge issues come up, and if the income is steady, the owner doesn't bother rolling up his/her sleeves anymore.

 

 

 

However.......

 

 

It is not advantageous for the owner to be known as the owner.

 

Does that make sense?

 

Every a customer walks in and the first thing they say is "Are you the owner?" the alarm bells go off, and I or my staff, or my partner go into "auto-pilot mode" and state blandly:


"I'd be happy to pass on any information you have to the owner".

 

You see, social custom in N.America dictates that you tip the waiter a percentage of the bill and stiff the cook.  The same social custom dictates that not only do you stiff the owner if s/he serves you, but that you hold the owner responsible for: The weather, travel glitches, parking issues, facial and physical appearance of staff, personal donations to charity,  and generally the state of the world as it stands.

 

Example:

 

Customer parks car in a 1 hr zone, and after 15 of walking into your place, gets a ticket (went shopping for 2 hrs prior)

 

Option A: The customer doesn't know I'm the owner.  Nothing happens.

 

Option B: The customer knows I'm the owner.  Either customer insist I "fix" parking ticket, or holds me responsible for lack of unlimited parking in the general area.

 

Example:

Customer signs bill for $100.

 

Option A. Nothing happens, and I or my partner will probably get a tip.

 

Option B.  Customer insists it was too much money, stiffs the tip, and then proceeds to hit me up for double that amount for his/ her school/church/local charity.  BUT, but get this, with a promise of "free advertising".

 

But social custom also dictates that anyone who walks into your establishment has the right to demand your time.  98.37% of the time someone asks "are you the owner?" it is followed by a hit-up for a charity request or some kind of advertising/web based deal--usually financed by leeching on to your VISA account..  You see, because you are open to the public, that means you are easily and readily available.  This means that your time is useless, garbage, you only exist to grant wishes.  What really scares me though, is that this mentality is demonstrated more and more by secondary and high school students. The students didn't invent this mentality, they were taught it--either by parents or by teachers.....

 

Oh dear...

Was I on a rant?

Sorry about that........

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #7 of 14

It is always better if the head chef is the owner because they can more closely relate to you as a chef as well.

post #8 of 14

OF COURSE it is better if the chef is the owner from a business perspective! We have a vested interest in avoiding waste, we make sure we only buy what we think we're going to sell, and so on. It's the best way to ensure a restaurant business stays successful, unless the chef/owner is an "artist".

 

However, some of my return customers expect me to be the Maitre d' as well, for which I simply do not have the time. I cook, for fuck's sake! I can't do the rounds, asking how the food's been. Some customers just don't get it. And that pisses me off big time...

post #9 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Recky View Post

OF COURSE it is better if the chef is the owner from a business perspective! We have a vested interest in avoiding waste, we make sure we only buy what we think we're going to sell, and so on. It's the best way to ensure a restaurant business stays successful, unless the chef/owner is an "artist".

However, some of my return customers expect me to be the Maitre d' as well, for which I simply do not have the time. I cook, for fuck's sake! I can't do the rounds, asking how the food's been. Some customers just don't get it. And that pisses me off big time...
I have to disagree. If you know so much about running restaurants as you say you should pretty well be quality control and plating (assuming you have a brigade of "talented and trained" chefs under you, as you have said elsewhere), leaving you plenty of time for a huge part of proprietorship: being the face of the business. I don't think in all cases it's better; better for who? Sure the food might be great but if chef is so busy cooking he can't get bills paid on time and the city cuts your natural gas? Etc.
post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpoiledBroth View Post


I have to disagree. If you know so much about running restaurants as you say you should pretty well be quality control and plating (assuming you have a brigade of "talented and trained" chefs under you, as you have said elsewhere), leaving you plenty of time for a huge part of proprietorship: being the face of the business. I don't think in all cases it's better; better for who? Sure the food might be great but if chef is so busy cooking he can't get bills paid on time and the city cuts your natural gas? Etc.

 

In certain situations yes, but you can't really argue with the chef/owner about how it is in his restaurant.

post #11 of 14
When is it ever okay to argue with the chef or owner lol
post #12 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by alaminute View Post

When is it ever okay to argue with the chef or owner lol


LOL Never! ;-)

post #13 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpoiledBroth View Post


I have to disagree. If you know so much about running restaurants as you say you should pretty well be quality control and plating (assuming you have a brigade of "talented and trained" chefs under you, as you have said elsewhere), leaving you plenty of time for a huge part of proprietorship: being the face of the business. I don't think in all cases it's better; better for who? Sure the food might be great but if chef is so busy cooking he can't get bills paid on time and the city cuts your natural gas? Etc.


I didn't say elsewhere that I had a brigade of trained and talented chefs working under me. I have merely worked with various trained and talented people in the past.

 

After having cut my working hours and with it, some of my workload, I actually started running my kitchen completely on my own, except on weekends where I have a dishie-cum-salad-guy. This has actually improved quality control in my kitchen. Thankfully, my girlfriend does the bookkeeping and prepares all the paperwork for my accountant, and I pay the bills when they are due.

 

Having reduced my working hours and revised my menu (a move designed to stop me becoming a burn out victim, as mentioned elsewhere on this forum), I'm now running my restaurant in a far more organised fashion. At the same time, I am the face of the restaurant. Not that I get much time to chat with the customers tableside, but overall, at least for smaller restaurants like mine, being head chef and owner is the way to go. I see other restaurants in the area in which head chefs come and go suffer, because the food quality changes (and with it the public perception of the places) with every replacement.

post #14 of 14

Yeah, if the owner is also the chef you don't have a problem with the culinary vision not matching up with what the owner has in mind.

"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
Reply
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
Reply
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