“Held hostage” by staff

Emcel

Banned
14
0
Joined May 15, 2019
I think me and a few others asked the only questions that matters that you did not answer. Why can't you scrap the kitchen staff and start over or at least weed out those that are not performing?

From your profanity laced tirade, it would seem that the problem with your current situation is not limited to just an under performing staff. You came to us asking for advice, remember? You have received some very good advice in response from some very knowledgeable people. Because you didn't like or agree with that advice, you told us all to f--k off.

Ok.....so, let me give you some more advice.

The first golden rule of leadership is that you are responsible for everything that happens on your watch, including shitty, under performing "millennials." It is your job to motivate them, train them and get them to do what they are being paid to do and meet the standards that you set. Period. Case closed. Pissing and whining that just because they are millennials they can't be trained or have poor work ethic is just a poor excuse for your failure as a chef to train them. If the members of your staff cannot be trained and meet your standards, they get fired. End of story. If that is something that is not allowed or a power that is not within your color wheel as head of the kitchen, then, your options at that point become extremely limited.

Your first step, my friend, in straightening out your assed out kitchen is to identify and correct your own deficiencies and shortcomings and accept the fact that your 25 years of experience is not a substitute nor does it make up for a lack of leadership.
Good, get angry. At least you’ll know you’re alive! The funniest thing about your post is that you are offended by the word millennial. Very telling. Oh yeah, fuck off while you are at it! There’s a difference between not following good advice, and receiving crappy advice! I’m not sorry if I offended your delicate sensibilities, but in all fairness my goal is to be kicked off this forum! JCOTC, never intended for this all to be so fun, but it’s becoming more so with every reply!! Lol!!!!
 

Emcel

Banned
14
0
Joined May 15, 2019
Good, get angry. At least you’ll know you’re alive! The funniest thing about your post is that you are offended by the word millennial. Very telling. Oh yeah, fuck off while you are at it! There’s a difference between not following good advice, and receiving crappy advice! I’m not sorry if I offended your delicate sensibilities, but in all fairness my goal is to be kicked off this forum! JCOTC, never intended for this all to be so fun, but it’s becoming more so with every reply!! Lol!!!!
And, my friend, you have not answered my question. Have you ever worked a 16 hour shift just to go home and answer all your email? I’m going to guess no. So until you go though the eight gates of hell......”Ya Basic”.
 

Emcel

Banned
14
0
Joined May 15, 2019
Thank you. Millennial's get a bad rap...I've met and worked with just as many lazy, incompetent and entitled older employees as I have younger. But I digress...



Could you expand on this line of thinking a bit? How does a politically correct kitchen affect the overall performance of the employees?

That seems like a bit of a red flag to me, to be honest. Are you upset that you can't yell, scream, belittle, engage in inappropriate workplace behavior (innuendo, harassment, etc) in order to get your message across?

If those are the only tools in your management toolset, I can understand how you are having difficulty managing your staff.





So you started with basically a whole new kitchen staff, and somehow they are doing all the same bad things that the previous staff did? Did you not instill a training program, have standards, clearly defined roles, job descriptions, recipes, etc? You had and opportunity to rebuild a kitchen the "right" way, and yet somehow everything went back to the old way?

That sounds like a complete failure of leadership. I like that you acknowledge "it's your fault" and take responsibility, but honestly you sound clueless about how to run a staff without yelling/screaming (I'm assuming).

My advice would be to:

Standardize job descriptions and tasks/stations. Everyone should know what they are responsible for and how to achieve those goals. <--- it's hard to hold someone responsible for doing a job if there isn't clear, concise communication on what that job is. When disciplining someone you can also point to specific things in their job description that they failed to do (I'm writing you up because you failed to get to work on time for 2 shifts this week, or I'm writing you up because you didn't follow the recipe for "X" and what you produced doesn't meet our standards). Clear communication of expectations is paramount to good management.

Recipes for each item, again for accountability and standardization.

Kitchen wide daily tasks that need completing (putting away deliveries, weekly cleaning tasks, etc) and assign them daily

Make yourself visible and available to talk to.
Employees will sneak around and try to get away with things if they think the chef will yell and belittle them instead of offering solutions and constructive feedback. If I mess up a batch of tomato soup, and the response from the chef is to yell/scream/throw a tantrum, the next time I mess something up I'm going to try and hide it so I don't get yelled at. But as a manager, if you offer solutions (OK Tom, it's only 4:00 so you have time to remake that soup. I'll wash the lettuce for you while you get the new batch going. We have to find a solution because this is the second time this week you burned soup and that's not acceptable--let's talk before you leave about what went wrong and steps we can make to make sure this doesn't happen again) you'll get better results from most people.

Try and find out what motivates your employees. Is it money? Food/cooking? Identify one or two that you can mentor and can (hopefully) become your "key" personnel. If you have 1 or 2 core workers, who you have a good relationship with, who are aligned with your vision, it can work wonders. They can help you hold others accountable (peers holding peers accountable is amazing and often means more than managers doing it) and give you feedback about what other employees are thinking/feeling.

Good luck!
I have a great
I was going to respond this am but had to leave for work and planned to respond afterwards. Now I'm home and I see Someday has beaten me to it. I may have worded it differently but the message would have been the same.
The problem is not the staff.
On an up note, I faced a similar problem several years ago when I moved from restaurants to an institutional environment. But I quickly realized that despite the staff's lack of training, discipline, etc. they all did the job. Did they do it with the same dedication and passion I would have? No and the poor employees got weeded out. But as Someday pointed out so well, performance expectations were presented and expected to be followed. Clear, concise and direct. And in a matter of fact way, not emotionally.
Keep in mind that much of the general atmosphere can be created by expecting objective criteria to be followed. Objective criteria like Serv Safe was developed for exactly this situation. An employee may or may not know how to clean a tenderloin or make a good hollandaise but they can be quickly taught temperature guidelines and sanitations controls. Wrap it, label it, store it.
Most important, if they see you doing something right, they will be more inclined to do it right.
you should have just gone to work and not followed through with a response. I love the way you and many others have villianized me, assuming that I am completely incompetent. Your lame advice shows your inaptitude! Oh yea... Please report me.... my goal is to be banned
 
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Joined Aug 15, 2003
It is clear that none of you have been in a predicament where you have had to open at 4 in the morning and work until 11 pm running every station in your kitchen every day of the week and then go home and complete all the office work you didn’t get done!

You're right, I haven't been in that predicament before because I'm a good chef who runs a good kitchen and have hired, trained and held accountable staff that I trust to perform said jobs.

I think I understand why your staff doesn't want to work for you, lol.

Also, your inability to properly work the internet has me concerned.
 
4,688
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Joined Aug 21, 2004
food for thought: it has been my experience that the attitude of an organization starts with the guy in charge and trickles down

I am a big believer in the ripple effect. A question I ask myself frequently is what kind of ripples am I sending out.

"If you can, help others; if you cannot do that, at least do not harm them." – Dalai Lama
 

Emcel

Banned
14
0
Joined May 15, 2019
You're right, I haven't been in that predicament before because I'm a good chef who runs a good kitchen and have hired, trained and held accountable staff that I trust to perform said jobs.

I think I understand why your staff doesn't want to work for you, lol.

Also, your inability to properly work the internet has me concerned.
You just keep thinking that sweetie and see how far ya go! Kharma will be a complete bitch for you. If you are concerned about my inability to “work the internet” PLEASE REPORT ME TO THIS WEB SITE! I’m concerned with your complete lack of empathy and relevance as a human. Go get your shitty coffee now! I’ll bet money you are always 10 min late! Wash, Rinse, repeat “I am a good chef.... and god darn it....people like me!”
 

Emcel

Banned
14
0
Joined May 15, 2019
You're right, I haven't been in that predicament before because I'm a good chef who runs a good kitchen and have hired, trained and held accountable staff that I trust to perform said jobs.

I think I understand why your staff doesn't want to work for you, lol.

Also, your inability to properly work the internet has me concerned.
Riddle me this, if you are a “good chef” then why do all of your employees want to leave? I’m thinking you’re not “visible” and you are sitting in the office drinking your Carmel location iced vanilla bullshit and I also know more .....
 
778
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Joined May 25, 2015
Wow! This started out with a sincere question and it's degraded to this. Yeah, I definitely see where the problem is now. I feel sorry for the people who work with you.
 
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926
Joined Oct 10, 2005
ummmm...the Germans have an expresssion that goes something like “ after the ship sank, everyone had great ideas how to save it”.

Honestly, what kind of advice were you expecting? There’s no magic bullet here.

If I were you I would have worked at your place for two days for free, made my observations, and gone to the mngmt with a list of requests before accepting the job. Both you and I would know within 3 minutes of listing those requests if it made sense to walk out, —with the two days of work as the the best, cheapest, form of insurance ever.

Both you and I know that once you accept the job, you have no bargaining power.

Both you and I know the harder you work, the more your cooks slack off, and right now their goal is to drive you crazy, cooking is the furthest thing from their minds.

Several times in my career I was forced to take immediate action and quit my job—I’ve never had any regrets in doing so—my kids still talk to me, my wife still sleeps with me, and I don’t take any medication.

Hope you can relax
 
3
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Joined May 16, 2019
Hi OP!
From what I am gathering here you are seeking a way to motivate your team to do their job. You have implemented the standard best practices to clarify to each worker his/her duties and streamlined kitchen tasks with little success. Do I have that right?
So let’s step back and get a birds-eye view of your staff.
From your original post we have people with:
-Lower kitchen line skill sets
-Entitled Attitudes
-No enthusiasm for food
-Unmotivated to do better
-Restrictive (PC)/low on humor???

So the root of the problem appears to be that your team isn’t “buying in” to working as a team and making the kitchen a successful, well oiled machine.

So let’s put our heads together and see what can be done to improve things.

First off, what are your insights as to why they are in this job? Benefits? The only gig they could land? Job security?

-what would it take to get their cooking skills up to par? Could corporate pay for something like https://rouxbe.com/industry-training/?
-Buy in....hmm okay so we know that humans want to feel loved and accepted, valuable and have purpose. So how do we foster this in the context of the kitchen....have you heard of Donald Miller’s storyline?
https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/building-a-storybrand-with-donald-miller/id1092751338
So his audience is copyeditors, but his message relates here. So a basic story is you have a hero, hero meets a guide who calls them to action and hero either succeeds or fails. His principles for advertising actually work quite well for your problems.
So I want you to close your eyes and visualize this: Your workers are a bunch of Luke Skywalkers, (feckless teenage ne'er do wells), and maybe a hans solo and Chewbacca thrown in the mix. You are Yoda/Obiwan Kenobi leading your heros to success. The kitchen is the the Sith. We have to rebalance the Force.
Okay now that we have reframed the problem, how do we call the hero’s to action? It’s probably gonna have to be twofold. Working individually to see what each person is motivated by and what they want at work, maybe even what they find “painful” enough as a consequence for bad choices to stop bad behavior. Then the addressing the team as a whole in some motivating way and maybe implementing some new structure?

Sorry I am still chewing on this and developing ideas as I go. Is anything ringing true for you? Am I getting close to the answer you were seeking?

If none of this is helpful maybe try another forum like Reddit? The have a subreddit for chefs, management, entrepreneurs lots of different industry cross-sections someone might be more helpful there.
 
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Joined Feb 8, 2009
You're right, I haven't been in that predicament before because I'm a good chef who runs a good kitchen and have hired, trained and held accountable staff that I trust to perform said jobs.

I think I understand why your staff doesn't want to work for you, lol.

Also, your inability to properly work the internet has me concerned.

The perfect answer from a quality Chef.
 
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