BOH contests

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by joshua tomczyk, Jan 7, 2003.

  1. joshua tomczyk

    joshua tomczyk

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    I am having trouble coming up with contests for the BOH. The FOH manager has contests for the servers frequently with a meal etc as reward for highest check average or other things. One cook asked me, after having to cook a meal for a server when he thought he was finished for the evening, why do we reward people for doing there job?

    I explained to him that he is trying to push servers to become better at there job and rewarding the ones that do, to try to get everyone to want to become better.

    Next he asked me why don't the cooks get anything like that? Saying it's unfair. I told him that he was right and would try to put some together.

    I have been thinking and of course I want to set it up to reward people for the right things an but all I have come up with is based off the station breakdown lists and going through each station randomly and grading what was actually done. No half points only one point for it being done and zero for what was not. I don't want it to create a disturbance or even worse actually anger the people that don't win and create resentment.

    Has anyone hear had any luck with this type of thing, if so what did you do and did it actually motivate people to improve?
     
  2. chefgbs

    chefgbs

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    The easy answer is to remind them that they are doing this for the love of it and not the money. Seing as how that probably won't be all that well received, you can try these:

    1. Food cost contest: Explain to them all the intricacies of how food cost is computed, tell them how it can be lowered and set a goal. If they achieve it, bonus time. That would only apply to the team, though.

    2. For an individual reward, have each cook come up with a special, with your final say, of course. Run each for a week. Whoever sells the most, wins. If your business is not steady, you can determine the winner as a percentage of sales.
     
  3. chefboy2160

    chefboy2160

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    Well does this bring back memories . When I was a young cook working saute station at an opening dinner house / nightclub in southern Cal back in 1980 we had 3 line cooks , sous or chef worked the wheel and if we were lucky we had a prep / runner and some essays who washed the dishes and bussed the tables ( I love them the most by the way ) . The front of the house was staffed by shall I say some very nice young women who did not hurt your eyes ( starting with the expediter ) outnumbering us back of the house guys 4 to 1 .
    The chef in order to form some sort of bond with his staff in our opening maddness decided to start a contest that whichever of the back of the house staff had more "Dates" with the front of the house staff ( Good Lookin Girls ) in the 2 weeks after opening got a day off without pay . The twist was he was included in the contest . We even had a score card posted on the line !
    Needless to say , I sure enjoyed earning my day off .
    Just an idea for a contest . Doug
     
  4. panini

    panini

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    Maybe get together with the FOH and do something mutual. Might take a few bricks of the wall that seems to be building. Maybe let the servers vote for someone in the back and vice versa.
    An challenges I've offered in the past have been rewarded with prizes outside the property. Especially cooks and servers would get dinners at the competition.
    just 1 1/2 cents
     
  5. suzanne

    suzanne

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    If only the cooks are going to be involved, how about Who has the lowest number of re-fires/replatings in a week?

    Then again: what are the recurring problems you want to solve? Is there any way you can turn the corrections into a contest?
     
  6. snakelady1

    snakelady1

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    I once worked for a chef who would leave money in out of the way places that he wanted cleaned .....so if you swept far enough under the ovens you might find a wadded up $20. If you have problem areas in the kitchen or cooler or freezer this could be a great incentive to get them to clean. He was also very random about this so we were always cleaning and looking.
     
  7. theages

    theages

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    Any new ideas on running a contest for the BOH?  Our manager is running sales contest for the FOH and said he would match it for a contest to my HOH staff.  I like the idea of running it around designing a special which I have to approve.  But I'd like to find a way to tie it into something like whoever maintains the coolers the best over a one week period, or perhaps some other cleaning/closing/organizational issue.  Any ideas?
     
  8. leeniek

    leeniek

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    BOH/FOH contests can be a challenge.  They did one at the breakfast place and the prize was that management would do their opening and closing duties for one day, and for the BOH no one participated.  The goal was to build morale (this was at a time that relations between the FOH and BOH were at an all time low) and it was just not the right time to make light of the situation with a game. 

    If you know that there is something that your staff seem to struggle with (or in some cases slack off on) a challenge to get that area (whether it be maintaining coolers, proper prep levels, cleaning as you go, etc) focused on might work.  The only thing is that they have to keep it up after the contest is finished too.  I noticed when the FOH did contests to boost sales, the upselling was great during contests, but when there was nothing in it for them they went back to their old ways. 

    I like the idea about the special, and maybe have each cook come up with a special for a day and the one with the most sales would be the winner?

    What kind of prize are you going to offer?
     
  9. theages

    theages

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    Thanks Leeniek.  Running a contest around a special should be rather easy and it's what I'll do if I can't formulate a better plan.  I'm still trying to find a way to run it around a task.  But designing it around a task such as maintaining the coolers seems harder to control and have equal participation. I would want to assign a cooler to each cook for a week but that makes for a long contest.

    You're absolutely correct about participation dropping off as soon as the contest is over.  I also see the same thing you mention re: FOH sales contests... sales drop when the contest ends.

    The prize is $100!  Pretty good incentive there so I want to gear the contest to something which will improve our operation (which is running pretty well, but there is always room for improvement).
     
  10. tmmanager

    tmmanager

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    My favorite chef challenge I have had is, the scavenger hunt.   We put together a scavenger hunt of a broken down recipe.  They start with the first card, which gives them a clue to where to find the first recipe item.

    Once they have found all their items, their team has to find the ingredients, weigh them out, and then create the dish.

    First team to create the dish gets dinner.  Losing team has to make it.

    Hopefully your team likes this as much as mine.
     
  11. brandon odell

    brandon odell

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    Since your kitchen line is essentially a production line, and increasing production speed is the most impactful thing kitchen cooks can do to increase your bottom line, you should run a contest based on production. Your kitchen staff can't help what people order, so it might not be fair to base a contest on what gets ordered, but you can run a contest based on ticket times for each individual station, or you could measure plates sold per hour.
     
  12. rat

    rat

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    I remember a while back the management offered a magnum of (very good) champagne to the server who could sell the most desserts in a month, the end result was pastry being crushed for an entire month. pastry profitability went up 20% as I recall and promply dropped after the contest was over, Hmmmmmm.For the pastry staff I offered each an opportunity to make a special for the week, whomevers special sold the most got 50 dollars and an early out on friday and saturday, the second and third place had to degrease and scrub the convection ovens. It was fun to watch.
     
  13. ed buchanan

    ed buchanan

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    I have done this for the last 10 years anmd every time I ran the promo sales of that item went up drastically
     
  14. junglist

    junglist

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    Depending on resources and how much faith you have in your BOH staff, you can have them submit recipes, do a tasting and feature the most popular as a special. At work we do this bi-monthly for our pizzas (luckily it's easy to execute new recipes for that station) and though there is no real concrete prize (maybe a bottle of wine or a comped meal), our staff is so into food and their work that they're happy just with bragging rights. 
     
  15. chefselassie

    chefselassie

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    Had it perfect right off the bat! Remind them why they cook. If you cant do that yet then learn.
     
  16. mayhem

    mayhem

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    Or! You could start a fight club at the roof of the nearest parking garage! Which, all jokes aside, we've considered. Dishwashers would have their own sub-league, obviously.

    As a saucier, I would never, ever, ever be such an a$$ as to put my line cooks through a competition. Sure, we go out for charity events and donate our food to "compete" with the other kitchens- who are doing the same, for a good cause. And I know already that I'm going to get moderated again, but:

    It would burn my a$$, bottom line, if as a chef I'd lost such complete control of my staff that instituting a sales contest even seemed like a remotely good idea. Dates with servers? Unpaid time off? F**k me gently with a chainsaw- the linemen get that already. Hiding money in places that should be cleaned in any normal kitchen? Really? We spend at least three hours every night cleaning. Not because we have to, and yes, it sucks, because after shoving out 15k of food we're really f**king tired- but we do it as a point of pride, and respect for our chef and ourselves.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 17, 2013
  17. kaiquekuisine

    kaiquekuisine

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    Yeh , i think this was well said. 
     
  18. mayhem

    mayhem

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    Thank you. And I will do my best to watch my language in the future, dear moderators.