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Aggresive Expansion a problem?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

Hey guys!  New poster here.  Sorry if I'm not in exactly the right place, it seemed most appropriate.

So anyway, I'm a cook.  I will be my entire life, in some shape or fashion.  I'm in a pretty a pretty slow part of my state as far as the food community goes, so I'm used to showing up at the jobs I've had being one of the only individuals that knows what I know and can do what I do (which I've always thought wasn't much to begin with).  I'm on my third cooking job now--and I'm 26--and I've had somewhat the same situation that I mentioned above.  I'm at the point with this job that I think of myself as a chef and am recognized as a chef by my peers, but as an actual 'title' or 'job description' goes, I'm just a cook.
 

This is a bit of a problem, for number of reasons.  Not only are my actual skills and techniques much more developed than anyone other than my supervisor's, but I also do a better job maintaining and keeping cleaning standards high as well.  I'm servsafe certified.  I write the menus for the particular crowd I cook for (I work at a country club/retirement home, and cook for 30ish people).  I help budget it and cost it out, and try my best to help instruct and teach my other peers certain skills an techniques that might make their jobs easier or at least help them do it better.  I also have my associate's degree in Literature with a minor in business computer software, which I understand probably isn't a direct benefit to the Dietary department--but it certainly helps, considering my job responsibilities.

Now, I've recently been noticed by a bunch of higher-ups--mostly other administration, like  my supervisor (who is a CDM).  Earlier this year, I was given somewhat of a promotion--a 10% bump and a murky addition to my job responsibilities, mainly the menu-writing.  Nothing was REALLY added as I was already doing it, but it was a formal way of recognizing my initiative to take that task from my boss.  I was also given another 10% increase a few weeks ago, for the same thing.  There are things I happen to find in the kitchen that aren't done to what I think are proper standards, and I do them.  Again, I guess the second raise was a way of recognizing that.  Now, both of these raises and promotions were done without my CDMs approval.  He wasn't really part of the discussions, for reasons I haven't quite discerned yet.

 

Now though, I'm being offered another, third raise--10%.  We all sat down and got a better idea of what I do currently and what I would like to do with my current responsibilities.  We also talked about adding more, like more of a supervisor role instead of actively cooking 5 days a week.  A co-manager with my boss, if you will.  They also offered to pay for me to transfer my associates to finish taking a culinary degree and pay for my CDM.

But here's the issue:  my CDM doesn't like it.  I've spoken with him and he insists that our professional relationship is fine, but that he doesn't feel my performance reflects what the administration department has been offering me.  When I ask for reasons why he feels the way he does, he doesn't really give any aside from the fact that I can run 5-8 minutes late pretty consistently.  (I'm in the middle of three school zones on the way to work--I'm trying)  But if administration felt my tardiness were an issue, I wouldn't be given these promotions.

 

So I'm left feeling sort of caught in the middle.  On one hand, I'm excited.  I feel recognized, valued and maybe even excited about what I might be able to do with my job at this place.  Not to mention, I'm getting more money and may get back to school for free.  But on the other, I feel guilty.  Am I going over my bosses head with these things?  Is my performance really sub-par, or or does my boss feel threatened?  He's by no means a bad supervisor, and I've already stated I didn't want his job.  If anything, I feel like these promotions and visions for what the kitchen team can accomplish can make him look pretty good.  Advice?  Suggestions?  I just can't help but wonder if I'm doing the right thing, or if maybe I should find a job elsewhere to escape the drama...

post #2 of 17
To me--mind you my opinion only-- it sounds like HR wants some kind of an option if your CDM were to leave suddenly. Hence your pay increases. Understandably your boss isn't quite comfortable with this.

Once again, only my opinion, and I look forward to other opinions.
...."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 #3 of 17

Pretty much echo what @foodpump said. Sounds to me like you are being groomed as a replacement which is a smart move by the higher ups. Doesn't mean that your CDM will be let go, but smart to have someone in the wings ready to step into the job if the need arises.

 

The CDM might feel somewhat threatened or have a bruised ego by the higher ups recognizing your performance. Hard to say from this side of the screen. I will however agree with your CDM that 5-8 minutes late is sub-par. In the restaurant biz, early is on time and on time is late and late is unemployed.

 

One last note, doesn't sound like much drama to me. A job where performance is recognized and actually acknowledged is a job to hold onto IMO.

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #4 of 17

I do have to comment on the lateness issue.  Its the consistency thing that irritates me.  O.K. you gotta go through 3 school zones, and that takes 10 minutes.  So?  I have to cross a bridge, 6 times out of ten it'll take an extra 15 minutes.  What do you do?  Compensate.  Start your trip 15-20 minutes earlier.  Get to work earlier, grab a coffee, peruse the banquet sheets, then get to work. 

 

I've had this conversation many, many times with employees who blame it on the bus, etc.  If it's consistent, it is plan-able.  

...."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 #5 of 17

I agree with all of the above.  I will add there is no excuse for being consistently late.  You should be at your job location 10 to 15 min. before your shift starts.  Not working but ready.

post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 

First, thanks to everyone who bared with the whole post.  It was pretty lengthy, but I feel like some context was important.

To address the lateness 'issue'--it's just that; there isn't an issue.  I haven't signed any sort of written warning about it, and it's really never brought up except for when I asked him why it seemed to rub him the wrong way.  So that being said, I think it may be beside the point.

 

But as for the bruised ego bit--I've thought about that.  But I'm on my supervisor's  side, and I try to make that pretty clear.  It's been known between myself and him that retirement home kitchens aren't really my thing; I come from restaurant kitchens (all of two--hah!). 

I think it may be of some benefit to say too, that Administration seems to find his methods a little laid back.  I've been approached several times before with questions like 'why is the kitchen so filthy' and ' why are we cooking turkeys the day before serving?'.  In my head I would like to think that maybe I can just sort of help cover the things my supervisor doesn't have time to do but...well.  I don't know.  At any rate, it feels very much like drama.  I may have a chat with administration and be instructed to keep it between myself and them, and may have the same happen with my supervisor.  And again, my peers in the kitchen will notice that I'm away a little more or that I'm doing office work more and immediately think that I'll have them doing 'more work' when 'more work' just means soaking dry beans instead of using canned.

post #7 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by foodpump View Post
 

I do have to comment on the lateness issue.  Its the consistency thing that irritates me.  O.K. you gotta go through 3 school zones, and that takes 10 minutes.  So?  I have to cross a bridge, 6 times out of ten it'll take an extra 15 minutes.  What do you do?  Compensate.  Start your trip 15-20 minutes earlier.  Get to work earlier, grab a coffee, peruse the banquet sheets, then get to work. 

 

I've had this conversation many, many times with employees who blame it on the bus, etc.  If it's consistent, it is plan-able.  

 

 

At my most recent "former employment" I lived 35-40 minutes away, and had to cross two bridges on an interstate that was notorious for backups.  I was at work, at least in the parking lot, a minimum of 30 minutes early every single shift...for years.  Only 2-3 times did I hit stop&go traffic, but I wasn't late those days either...and that's what was important to me.

 

My advise, start setting your alarm 15 minutes earlier than you have it set now.  Don't use excuses...you'll go far.

 

Everything else sounds fine to me.  Worry about the people who are in the position of giving promotions and raises.  Have integrity every day you are at work...in everything you do.  Again, you'll go far.

post #8 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by foodpump View Post

I do have to comment on the lateness issue.  Its the consistency thing that irritates me.  O.K. you gotta go through 3 school zones, and that takes 10 minutes.  So?  I have to cross a bridge, 6 times out of ten it'll take an extra 15 minutes.  What do you do?  Compensate.  Start your trip 15-20 minutes earlier.  Get to work earlier, grab a coffee, peruse the banquet sheets, then get to work. 



 



I've had this conversation many, many times with employees who blame it on the bus, etc.  If it's consistent, it is plan-able.  


 



This. For all the effort you say you're putting in at work to earn and deserve these raises and additional responsibility; surely leaving ten minutes early isn't the deal-breaker for you. It's irrelevant whether your boss is intimidated, just personally dislikes you, or thinks you're a figment of his imagination. Being late on a regular basis is unacceptable, ESPECIALLY if you're expecting to be in charge of the kitchen. I unlock the restaurant I work at for our accountant, FOH, etc. How's that gonna work out if I'm late? Your bosses bosses probably don't know enough to care about you being late. Maybe your boss isn't on good terms with them. Maybe he's actually trying to help you by confronting you about your problem before calling their attention to it. Again, this is irrelevant. Fix it.
post #9 of 17

Allow me to be ascerbic.  To me, you are already making an excuse.  Even if nobody else cares or notices, you should.  You should be the one making sure you are there on time. So what if it's not an issue?  What next, you're tossing the last bit of salad dressing without scraping the pan?  Nobody cares, it's not an issue.  But it could cost you and your coworkers your jobs.

post #10 of 17

I will add to the chorus. Don't be late. It's a problem. Fix it. 

post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 

Update!

Again, thanks to everyone adding to the thread.  It's nice to get input.

At any rate, I'm not late anymore--but that didn't fix my current problems.  I guess my main issue here is trying to find the root of the problem.  I didn't want to automatically blame anyone, especially my boss.  But at the end of the day, I feel exhausted due to making up for our kitchen's shortcoming in cleanliness, quality and all-around lack of heart.

So, probably a simple solution.  Anyway--thanks guys.

post #12 of 17

Many times it is indeed an uphill battle to elevate standards when no one else is on board. Why is staff not going along with the plan? What is the main thing holding your vision back?

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 

Man, you have to know that's a loaded question.  :lol:

 

There are many reasons.  The staff are...probably capable, but aren't appropriately trained.  Things aren't done efficiently, products aren't made well.  Often the easier way out or 'it's just the way we've done things' is the path taken.  Of course with me being only the assistant, it makes me look awfully silly to ask people to do things a certain way when our boss 1) doesn't do things that way himself and 2) doesn't ask them to, or correct them if they do not.  This would probably apply to...everything, and I definitely have specific examples if they would help.  Food quality is definitely one thing, but I can't even get them to keep the place clean, and I would consider that an issue before we even start talking about the food.

There also isn't really a record of anything.  Food costs on my side aren't kept and never were, and I have no idea of what numbers are good or bad, and my boss doesn't care either way.  I've attempted to get that area under control, but I cook 7 hours a day and the rest of the my day is typically dedicated to prep and cleaning.  If I wanted to crunch some numbers and do some office work too, I would be there quite a bit longer, and I'm not really allotted the time.

But I'm not trying to turn this into a vent session.  I'm genuinely interested in figuring out what's wrong.  I'm the type of person that tries to right wrong simply for the sake of wrongs being righted, but I can't decide if the place is simply too much for me to handle or not.

post #14 of 17
Quote:

Originally Posted by NOJROBAT View Post

 

ask people to do things a certain way when our boss... doesn't ask them to, or correct them if they do not.

 

Does he support you in your efforts to right things? Do you have any disciplinary power?

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #15 of 17
Thread Starter 

Not really, and it's pretty minimal.  I'll ask him why we don't mop the floors with floor cleaner instead of bleach (yes, that's a thing that happens.  We cook, we don't perform surgery.  Also, we have industrial-sized buckets of floor cleaner, which I'm sure cost less per use than bleach.  Plus, throwing away a bottle of bleach away a week irritates me with plastic being in the trash that wouldn't have to be.), and he says 'I mean, I'm not really a mopper per se', but If I think it's a problem, I'll mention it.'

Now the way I see the above problem is this:  if we can't even clean our floors, then what can we do?

I mean, I just want properly cleaned floors.  I also don't want someone to bust their ass on a slick floor because someone thought it was a good idea to mop it with bleach.

 

With the food, it's just a mess.  We had hanger steaks ordered just a couple weeks ago.  I cleaned enough beef for 25 people, which took a bit of time.  When I come back after the weekend, he tells me he diced it up and served it with gravy, and then proceeded to tell me I can't put it on the menu again because 'they wouldn't like it'.  :confused:

post #16 of 17

I don't mean to be a downer, but I am a realist. If nothing changes...then nothing changes. Doesn't sound like change is going to happen any time soon, except your frustration level will probably go up. I am stubborn, pig headed, and a never say die type of guy, however what is good about hitting yourself in the head with a hammer..it feels good when you stop. Sometimes, it is time to put the hammer down and walk away.

 

There are places that will appreciate and value your desire to do things the right way.

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #17 of 17

     I had a waiter who mopped the dining room floor every time he worked without being asked. I never questioned it.  Then one day he asked why we were out of bleach. 

He did not understand why I was not happy to  learn he was using bleach instead of  an actual cleaner and he didn't listen to me when I explained that bleach didn't do anything. 

So I went to wikipedia and a couple of other websites and printed out an explanation of bleach and what it does, an explanation of surfactants and degreasers and what they do and handed it all to him the next time he worked.  No more discussion was necessary. The floors were much cleaner after that. 

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