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Pondering a move to the FOH

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

I am overseeing 22 suites at a medium sized soccer venue. My property has had a new Exec chef each year that I have worked as I am in my 3rd season. I started as an hourly suites cook and last year, I tried to leave to take a sous chef job at a catering company but my old chef gave me a $4 raise to keep me. This season I got a promotion without a raise as our stadium switched management companies and I am over suites and the buffet with a supervisor under me to do the buffet. 

 

I enjoy what I do, but if I ever want to move to a position where I am not in a kitchen all day in my 40's 50's and 60's, I know I need to move in the front of the house. I guess my end game is something of a 50 hour a week job around food but not in a kitchen or stadium where I can enjoy my family and have a life. There is alot of turnover in my stadium in the front of the house and I know I am organized enough to handle it but I am nervous to talk to anyone about it in the stadium because I don't want it to get back to the director before I can talk to him myself or new chef that I am not 'all in.'

 

How should I go about it?

 

My front of the house people like me and trust my decision making abilities, and generally speaking employees who have came to me for advice before come back for more because I don't talk down to them, I am professional mature and responsible, and "they say I am the cool one." The director likes me for sure,as I am quiet, I don't gossip or get into 'nickle and dime', drama. I was part of the core 8 or 9 people brought in early to help get things organized and most of those were salaried managers. I rarely see my superiors in my area, which is a good sign because there are plenty of fires to put out in other areas.

 

So my question is when is the right time to go and ask my director if he would like to move me into the foh? What questions should I be asking myself to know if and when I am ready?

 

Thanks for reading and look forward to reading some outside opinions.

post #2 of 4

You will have to be more specific about what position you want to move to. To just say FOH is to be too broad. You have outlined your long term goal here- to have a life with about 50 hours a work week. What is your short term goal? How will your moving to the front of the house be the beginning of that journey? SO the first position you want to move to is? and then? and then? 

You also seem committed to the company you currently work for. Nothing wrong with that but that isn't the only path available to you. On other threads in this forum are lots of discussions about career choices. Catering, nursing homes, institutional foodservice, food sales, commercial production, and much more provide opportunities to work in a kitchen within a shorter work week. If you branch out into management, that opens many more doors but many can also have long work weeks. 

Perhaps you can approach your director with a more general query about overall career possibilities. What, in their experience, are some of the paths you can take. 

post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by chefwriter View Post
 

 What is your short term goal? How will your moving to the front of the house be the beginning of that journey? SO the first position you want to move to is? and then? and then? 

 

I think I would like to be the Catering Supervisor. I know they input the numbers and check in the contact people with the ind'v suites, organize equipment, stocking schedule, etc. I feel like there is half of that job I am already hitting the ground running as I know the pace and expectations of the building. I am worried about the computer input and money handling aspect of it. It is a hourly position that routinely gives out OT or if I get a salaried position it's a smaller bump in pay.

 

(My other worry is that my director my want me to start at the entry level foh postions that college grads and young people walk into and don't follow up on all the little details that aren't spelled out for them like getting utensils or sternos out to the catering site.  Maybe they have to stop organizing there party because they have 200 pieces of silverware to roll and they don't have the wiggle room in there labor budget to call someone in to do it.)

 

My next stop would be the F&B director. The person who has been sitting in that chair during my time has been someone with years of FOH experience under there belt, which I have none. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chefwriter View Post

 

You also seem committed to the company you currently work for. Nothing wrong with that but that isn't the only path available to you. On other threads in this forum are lots of discussions about career choices. 

I hate starting over. My wife remembers our first 2 or 3 years I jumped around from job to job and always had excuses and such. My last 3 full-time jobs I have been there 3 years apiece and I love the stablity in my personal life. I love knowing my work schedule for 2015 calender and being able to plan vacations and holidays without upseting my boss with a time off request. As I eat drink and breath sports, I love being around the empty stadium and the rush of gameday, my prep days are super chill and fun (usually.) I love that I know where things are and most people look up to me as a leader and I have a responsibity to uphold. The team COO knows me from my work ethic before he knew I was supervisor and it's humbling that he wants me to bring my son to meet him on gameday and hopefully spoil him in some gameday exprience I could not otherwise give him. I've never been so well treated before around my job and the culture of our building (It's easier to handle much better the daily ups and downs or the kitchen), I hope and pray i I don't have to know it any other way again.

 

What is this commerical production you speak of, Like cooperate chefs developing and testing recipes? 

post #4 of 4

     Sounds like you have a great position. I hope it lasts. It's a very nice feeling to want to go to work every day. 

Commercial production could mean being a corporate chef doing recipes but there are other commercial opportunities as well. 

The members of this forum comprise a large list of possible careers. 

     A better way to express this might be to ask you to imagine all the various forms of food you encounter every day. All the food needs to come from somewhere, a farm, a large factory, a warehouse, a small production facility, a grocery store. All that food needs to be transported in some way. All that food related activity needs to be supervised and coordinated by various people. In the middle are buyers and sellers. 

    Then there are the various segments of the population who need to be fed. People in stadiums like the one you work in, people in prisons, people in colleges and universities, nursing homes, large hotels, large work camps for big corporations like oil companies, rich people who own yachts, large and small restaurants. My point being that when you think about where you want to find a career, there are many, many possibilities. 

   It sounds though that you have managed to find an environment well suited to you. So mindful of the good relationship you say you have with the director, I would suggest you ask for a time when you can both sit and have a conversation. Let him know the same thing you have posted here- that you are thinking ahead and trying to plan for your future and are trying to assess the best thing to do. 

He might be able to provide the opportunity to shadow a Catering Supervisor for a day now and then to see if you really like the job. Or he might have other ideas about your possible options. I'm hoping your boss is the kind of person who would welcome this talk to help you find a long term place with the company. Not all are. But you seem to be doing well so far and you'll never know if you don't ask. 

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