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Losing my passion!

3839 Views 9 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  mikefromzim
Hows it fellow Chefs!

I have been working as a Development Chef for a group of restaurants, belonging to a big company, for 8 months now.

When I started, I was offered a great package, nice salary, a vehicle, very good incentives and best of all, free range with the menu, prices, products and the Chefs and cooks I hire. The two managers at the time of being hired were brilliant, we had the same outlook on food, taste, and the general direction we wanted the restaurants to go, attention to detail on everything in the restaurants. I was involved in the decor, bars, menu layout and design, marketing and even training the FOH staff. I loved the work, sixty hours a week, five days a week, dream job!

After four months, we a new manager arrived, who happened to be the brother of the Director of the company. He wanted to standardize the restaurants, kind of turn them into something like a Wetherspoons. Both managers were forced to resign, I lost a couple of good cooks, my incentive was taken away, vehicle gone.

The new guy started changing the way the restaurants were run, within a month made the places tacky, plain restaurants. I was pushed out from my roll, and now all I do is pretty much sit at a computer and feed him numbers, hardly any cooking or development. The quality of the food has gone down, lack of Chefs, I have two cooks at one of the restaurants, who now have to cook, wash up, porter food and clean the bloody toilets.

He took over the design of my menus, and it literally looks like a ten year old designed them now, you cant even read thing.

He has pushed our prices way up, to the extent that we have potential customers sit down. read the menu and leave. Four dollars for 330ml coke (every other restaurant in town is two bucks, and considered high)

My GPs when I started, were 65%. now I have to have them at 75%.

I know this guy wants me out, and is giving me useless work to get me to resign, and I do want to quit, I have lost every bit of interest in the place. Problem is there is absolutely no other work in the town i'm in. Moving is not really an option, as I have a LTL on the house I'm in.

Anyone else been in this situation? Should I stick it out and be unhappy, and hope it gets better. or try my luck somewhere else?

Hope someone can give some advice.
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I've been there before, holding down a job just for the money.  It's a miserable experience.  The best I can offer you is to keep looking, while you try to improve your situation.  One question, with all these changes what has happened to your top and bottom line?  If the places have gotten that bad are you losing customers?  If you are losing customers, are you losing more than has been made up in this guy's cost cutting measures?  Where is your profit now, compared to before this guy came?  I know that he is family of the owners, but if profits have been dropping then I would definitely go speak with them about the direction of the place.  If profits are up, then you will have a hard fight on your hands, even if, ultimately, this type of business plan is not sustainable.

At some point you may have to make the hard decision as to whether to stay and compromise your standards or figure out a way to get out from under your house and move to find a better job, but only you can decide what is most important to you-and yes, financial security is important  especially if you have a family, or a house, etc.  I loved it when I was young and had no responsibilities.  I could do whatever it took to follow my passion, but now my passion is my family and unfortunately sometimes my career decisions are based on what's best for them, and not what's best for my passion for food.
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Frankie007, sometimes that is much easier said than done, especially in smaller communities that may not have near the amount of restaurants like a city does.  And if you have a mortage payment or family to consider, it becomes that much more complicated.  Sometimes you are forced to ride out a situation that is not the best, and so you need to look and see if there is any way possible to improve the situation.
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