Can I say, "no"?

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Joined Aug 7, 2013
So, chef comes into the kitchen and begins assigning prep to the cooks. "On Friday, you make some of this, you make some of that, I want you to make this for me..." None of the assigned products are on the menu.

I ask if there's a special event going on and when it would be.

He said, "I'm having a private party at my house this weekend and this is what will be served."

Ummm...

I have a ton of work to do as it is, and he comes in and piles this stuff on us as if it's going to be served at the current oncoming lunch rush.

Am I wrong in believing that I am due some extra compensation for doing work for a party that is going on outside of the restaurant, on a day that I don't even work, on top of my regular workload? This doesn't feel right to me.
 
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Joined May 30, 2015
Tell him you will do it before/after your shift and expect to be paid time and a half for the duration if takes, but that you won't do it during your normal shift nor will you do it off the clock.
 
316
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Joined Aug 7, 2013
Tell him you will do it before/after your shift and expect to be paid time and a half for the duration if takes, but that you won't do it during your normal shift nor will you do it off the clock.
So he IS out of line with these duties. I suspected as much. Thank you.
 
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Joined May 30, 2015
So he IS out of line with these duties. I suspected as much. Thank you.

You're welcome. To me, I would say he's out of line unless the prep he wants you to do is very minimal (which it doesn't sound like). Also, is he actually paying for this event, or just appropriating the restaurant's products? We have a sous chef at our restaurant who is notorious for coming to the restaurant's walk-in and "grocery shopping" on her days off, but our executive chef/GM is too afraid of her to say anything about it and our owner is an out-of-town pencil pusher, but this kind of crap really gets under my skin.
 
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Joined Aug 7, 2013
You're welcome. To me, I would say he's out of line unless the prep he wants you to do is very minimal (which it doesn't sound like). Also, is he actually paying for this event, or just appropriating the restaurant's products? We have a sous chef at our restaurant who is notorious for coming to the restaurant's walk-in and "grocery shopping" on her days off, but our executive chef/GM is too afraid of her to say anything about it and our owner is an out-of-town pencil pusher, but this kind of crap really gets under my skin.
Heard. My chef is the owner.
 
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Joined Sep 26, 2017
You can say no or not depending on where you want go in your chef life.

Not only is doing extra stuff an opportunity to practice doing new things, but it is also a way to show your attitude and loyalty.

When I was in school, I used to help my chef instructors out with special events on the weekend, for free.

When I was working lunch shifts at the beginning of my career, I always stayed for the dinner shifts, unpaid.

When I was the chef, I worked from opening to closing for the salary of working 8 hours a day.

My career was a breeze. I had people, from dishwashers to chefs to owners, supporting me in pretty much everything I did and every decision I made, no matter how preposterous. I had the trust of everyone.

I believe it was all because of the extra commitment I gave.
 
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Joined Jun 5, 2018
So, chef comes into the kitchen and begins assigning prep to the cooks. "On Friday, you make some of this, you make some of that, I want you to make this for me..." None of the assigned products are on the menu.

I ask if there's a special event going on and when it would be.

He said, "I'm having a private party at my house this weekend and this is what will be served."

Ummm...

I have a ton of work to do as it is, and he comes in and piles this stuff on us as if it's going to be served at the current oncoming lunch rush.

Am I wrong in believing that I am due some extra compensation for doing work for a party that is going on outside of the restaurant, on a day that I don't even work, on top of my regular workload? This doesn't feel right to me.
 
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Joined Feb 17, 2010
How much stuff are you talking about?
Saying no sounds like a good way to be out of a job. Find a way to get it done, if it takes a little ot, so be it.
I had an owner that usually gave me a shopping list on Friday, sometimes it was just gathering ingredients for him to take home to cook, sometimes it was roasted meats, sauces, composed salads, snacks,
Complete meals to take to his boat for the weekend. He's the owner, just get it done. We had a great relationship.
Just my experience.
 
2
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Joined May 29, 2018
So, chef comes into the kitchen and begins assigning prep to the cooks. "On Friday, you make some of this, you make some of that, I want you to make this for me..." None of the assigned products are on the menu.

I ask if there's a special event going on and when it would be.

He said, "I'm having a private party at my house this weekend and this is what will be served."

Ummm...

I have a ton of work to do as it is, and he comes in and piles this stuff on us as if it's going to be served at the current oncoming lunch rush.

Am I wrong in believing that I am due some extra compensation for doing work for a party that is going on outside of the restaurant, on a day that I don't even work, on top of my regular workload? This doesn't feel right to me.

You must directly confront her. You are not liable to do his household job.
 
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Joined Oct 31, 2012
Should you do it? Yes.
Should you get paid for doing it? Yes.
Do as much as you can during your regular shift. If it doesn't get completed, you simply say, "This is what I was able to get done. Did you want me to stay and do overtime?"
Whether or not the chef/owner is doing a catering gig, an extra in-house function or private party doesn't really matter. What you prep during work is still food prep, whatever it might get used for.
Don't work for free. If you work, you get paid. But he isn't asking you to help him take advantage of the restaurant owner.That would be highly unethical. He is the owner as well as the chef so it's his restaurant, his food and money and his call.
 
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I know you have a great work ethic so won’t preach on that.

Also seem to remember this particular kitchen is just a learning experience on your goal list?
So FWIW... if you have punched that clock for a sufficient amt of time and have drained it dry re skills say no and brush off the resume, keeping in mind that hospitality is a pretty small world...with Alamo City smaller than most.
I know I wouldn’t want to have to cook at one of the river walk tourist traps just because rent is due (hustling tips at one is a whole different story lol).

If this particular house/chef is well regarded (and vindictive to boot) it will be your rep vs his mouth.

Just sayin’ (if it is time to beat feet) this “favor” may make a difference when potential employers run into this guy at the after shift drinks spots.

mimi
 
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Joined Feb 8, 2009
He's not asking you to clean his pool or paint his house. He's asking for some extra prep that your already trained to do. Nike didn't become the best selling sneaker by saying no.

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Joined Oct 10, 2005
You are paid to cook for a restaurant, which in turn pays your salary. This stuff has nothing to do with your job.

What I would say to the Chef would be something like:

"I'll see what I can get done AFTER my usuall prep is done, but I can't guarantee that I'll get everything done. I can work o.t. if you like though".
 
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Joined Mar 1, 2017
Are you wrong for expecting extra compensation for this work? If its given to you to do during your normal shift, then, yes. He's the boss. He can tell you to do whatever he wants during your shift so long as its legal.

However, not getting paid for work in the food industry is quickly becoming a thing of the past. We've all done it and it still happens. But, things have changed quite a bit since I started in this business, especially when it comes to employee compensation.

Is this guy out of line for giving his people extra work to do on their shifts? In my opinion, no. Like I said, he's the boss. If you are professional, and I assume that you are, you find a way to get it done. However, if getting it done means you put in overtime, then, you should be paid accordingly and the owner should be prepared to accept that reality. Its not only the right thing to do, chances are its the law.

Simply refusing the extra work without extra pay, as some have suggested in this thread, is the wrong answer. It could very well cost you your job. Find out how much latitude you have to get the job done. Ask if overtime is available. Ask if you can come in early or stay late to get it done. Maybe have one or two people dedicate their shift to the party food and the rest of the staff take up their slack during service/prep etc?

There are many ways to handle this situation and refusing the work or demanding extra pay under 40 hours is not the answer.

Good luck. :)
 
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Joined Feb 8, 2009
I just remembered one more thing. When I made out my employee schedule I always took care of the people who Bitched less and worked hard........Just Sayin'
 
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Joined Aug 21, 2004
It may not feel right. It may not be right. But if a correction is coming, it is the responsibility of the Chef's boss. The chef may be the boss. The chef may even be the owner, but he still has a boss; also known as guests, who decide whether to frequent the establishment or not. If they have a less than stellar experience due to staff being overwhelmed with performing non-work related tasks, they will make their future decisions based on that. Your decision is whether to work for the chef, or not; knowing that he doesn't always do things the way you would, if roles were reversed. You make your decisions. The chef makes his. The guests make theirs. Sometimes in life, I do things I don't agree with because the overall result outweighs the present circumstances.
 
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Joined Oct 10, 2005
20 years ago I was a Sous at the Dynasty (now a Marriot property) in S'pore. One day I come back from the bqting meeting to find all of my staff gone. Not in the staff room, not in the change room, just gone. D/washer tells me the G.M. took them to his private owned fruit stall just meters from the hotel. I go down there and find all of them prepping fruit. G.m. was there too, I asked him if the fruit stall was owned by the hotel, he says no. I ask him why he took my staff without my knowledge or consent, he says his staff didn't show up and needed the work done fast. I asked him how he was going to compensate the hotel for the manpower, he tells me in so many words to piss off.

A day later I'm hauled into the owner's office and grilled, I tell them what I experienced. A week later I'm fired. A year later Marriot buys the hotel and retains most of the staff, but the G.M. was the first to go.

Even now, 20 years later, I wouldn't have done anything differently....
 

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