Country Club vs Restaurant

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by adamburgerdavis, Jun 25, 2012.

  1. adamburgerdavis

    adamburgerdavis

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    Hey Everybody,

    I have worked in country clubs the past three years and have been recently looking for a new job. I have an awesome opportunity to join another excellent country club near me. The issue is that i feel like I'm not sure if i'm losing out on opportuities to learn more or if I am just looking for something just because. I've had two seasons experience in actual restaurants but it was just as a fry/salad cook at a local restaurant. So my question is what would you do and why?

    Thank you for your input!
     
  2. squirrelrj

    squirrelrj Banned

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    Country clubs work like this.

    PEOPLE GET WHATEVER THEY WANT. I don't like being blunt like that, but it's how they work.. there is no rules, menu's, etc..  there are guidelines that the staff will follow, to a certain point.

    If you can accept that fact, you'll be fine, because they pay a lot more money, and depending on the chef, you can learn so much.. i've been lucky to learn from a couple of the best chefs in New England, but I also have to deal with everything else on the side, as well.
     
  3. twyst

    twyst

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    You usually get to run a much higher food cost percentage at a country club, so thats one added bonus as you usually get to work with some great product :p
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2012
  4. chefedb

    chefedb

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    In most cases country club menues are more diverse. There are Theme Night dinners. You are also dealing with a sought of captured clientel, so it shold be different as to not bore them with the same all the time. You get to do elaborate presentations on the buffets, restaurants in most cases don't have them. Usually clubs pay better and better benefits, rarely will they go broke. You get to deal with many foods from all nations. . Much better chance for overtime pay.
     
  5. adamburgerdavis

    adamburgerdavis

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    Thank you for your replies but maybe i worded my question wrong. I've worked in both but certainly do not claim to know what both are 100% about. I'm just wondering where i can learn and advance my career more.

    I know the restaurant is riskier but i feel like if i can get into the right place i'll be able to progress much faster.

    Thoughts?
     
  6. chefedb

    chefedb

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    Already answered you re.. my opinion . Its your choice
     
  7. adamburgerdavis

    adamburgerdavis

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    I'm sorry i thought you just were explaining positives and negatives. Thank you
     
  8. fryguy

    fryguy

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    I've worked all my life in the biz and would NEVER go back to a regular restaurant. Clubs have Better money, Better product to work with, More flexible food cost and labor cost, different events so you don't get board doing the same old thing, We just did a swim in movie night, very cool. coming up is a car show and dinner on the course, again very cool.....Oh did I say better Money.....I'm not rich but I make a pretty good living doing the club scene. I have 15 more years to work and would like to finish up my career here at the Oswego Lake Country Club......also after awhile it becomes a family atmosphere after getting to know your members.....If you can move into a chef or sous chef position you can really set yourself up for a very lucrative career with a lot of fredom and creativity.....also if your in the right state you work your ass off in summer and kick back in the winter....
     
  9. chefedb

    chefedb

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    Depending on location and club sometime you work harder in off season because you have less staff.
     
  10. chefboy2160

    chefboy2160

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    Also there are some pretty good perks for the chef. I ran one back in the mid 80s in the Los Angeles area and was allowed to play golf monday thru friday any time I felt like blowin out of the kitchen. Also better food cost for sure and the freedom to pretty much plan all the food for your parties as well as Banquet and Buffet experience. This job became a boon on my resume and gave me the back up to move up in my pay scale at my next jobs.

    Good luck, Doug.........
     
  11. chefbuba

    chefbuba

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    Everyone needs to spend a little time at the club......it's a whole different ball game.  "Chef and sous chef were reportedly driving  golf carts erratically across the fairway"......I had to explain that one a couple of times.
     
  12. fryguy

    fryguy

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    usually after the Christmas party
     
  13. adamburgerdavis

    adamburgerdavis

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    I hear all of what everyone is saying and I appreciate it. But I'm not in it for the money now. I'm currently the grill cook at the country club I work at but i'd be willing to take a Garde Manger or prep cook at a restaurant if i thought i could learn more. I know the products are all grade A in clubs but i figure if i can learn to make wicked dishes with OK product i could transfer those skills back to the product club gets and elevate dishes that much further. You also mentioned a less strict food cost in clubs, but again i feel like restaurants could teach me to use more of everything. But who knows, maybe it would just be smart to stay in clubs......Anyway wher do you think i could strictly LEARN more. I don't care about pay or benefits or position, i just want to learn more.
     
  14. chefedb

    chefedb

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    Most restaurants do not have a Garde" Manger they have a pantry or salad person. The Garde" in a club or hotel does all the displays and fancy platter work only where the pantry does the rest (salads, appis etc)
     
  15. michaelga

    michaelga

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    Don't get too rosy of glasses about a restaurant... most of them don't give you the chance to "learn to use more of everything".   Most go to Sysco and / or frozen pre-portioned etc.  Don't get me wrong many places do it right but i'd say they are in the minority.

    Honestly - work your way up the club chain before deciding to go and try other stuff.   IF you jump club right now you're likely going to get slammed and likely canned as the grill cook at an average restaurant ... you'll be expecting too much, and likely not be used to the low cost - high speed mentality.

    But - do what you want too... explore / travel etc. I'll be the first to say that I've made mistakes ... gone to the wrong places and done the right / wrong things but still done very well.  

    This is a very forgiving business if you can 'produce' ... ie. get the damn job done.  (standards are where you find the differences - clubs generally = higher standarc, your avg resto = lesser... now if  you have an in for the french laundry, alinea or wd50 well then stop typing and get on a plane)

    ymmv
     
  16. sparkie

    sparkie

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    That's the truth. In the end, you are in control of what you do and don't learn from any given situation. All of your achievements and accolades will be because YOU pushed yourself to succeed, not because you choose to work prep in a restaurant over grill in a club.

    Also, who you work for is more important than the type of place. There are great chefs ands bad chefs everywhere. We cannot say that club or restaurant chefs are generally better than the other, they are all the same, mostly average, some DBs, some great. Your job is to stay open, make the most of your opportunities, and when you make a bad decision, learn from it and move on.
     
  17. adamburgerdavis

    adamburgerdavis

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    Thank you Michael and Sparkie, that makes a lot of sense. If you've seen my other thread I've been reading a lot of chef's autobiographies and maybe that glamour is getting stuck in my head with restaurants where in fact it's usually much shittier. The one thing I really want to avoid is becoming complacent at a club and never getting a chance to do better stuff. But it sounds like a smart move to climb the club chain of command then look around. Thanks again everyone!
     
  18. chefedb

    chefedb

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    Florida statistics       Rest Chef   $40,000 -60,000 year maybe benefits and bmall xmas bonus  

      Club Chef   $48000---130,000. year plus bonus, benefits and xmas bonus.(most time 1 week salary)
     
  19. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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    You can do real pastry and garde manger work at a club.  You can develop menus.  You can take classes.  You can work on your certification.  You can do competitions.  Wonder why so many CC chefs are CEC?  ;)  If you get into the correct one you can really learn about cooking.

    You will do banquets.  You will run the concession stand.  You will do the Friday fish fry and Tuesday ladies' outing.  You will do cigar dinners, outdoor pig roasts.  You will do brunch.

    All said, working in a quality club will take you through all stages of traditional cooking from barely better than McFood to Ritz Carlton dining. 
     
  20. rsteve

    rsteve

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    Virtually every country club, to which I'm familiar, requires members to spend significant dollars monthly in its dining facility. It ensures that there will be a steady clientele and consistency of staffing and work hours. It makes job stability far more likely in a country club than in any restaurant. We're all are well aware of how many restaurants go belly-up, daily, in large metro areas.

    It was also mentioned that in a country club, you become increasingly familiar and friendly with your clientele; a major plus. And, of course, as kuan noted, you get to grill brats and Kobe.