Crazy Owner

Joined Jan 29, 2017
I have been in the industry for twenty years. twelve months ago, I got a head chef spot at a short order place. Staff of ten to thirteen in the summer.
The owner owns another restaurant and is now opening another.
He was nice enough the first eight months of hire but has seemed to gone completely ape shit in the past few months. Maybe correlated to the new restaurant, not really sure.

The biggest issue is ordering. When I started, ordering day was on my thursday ( a monday ) and truck came on my first day off ( a Wednesday ) . When I would come back to work on friday, I would start noting things we are low enough we need more and things we could possibly run out of ( I am held to a strict no 86 policy ). He would then make me account for it. Based on sales a proper portioning, it was accounted for 90% of the time with a -/+3% difference . He decided that I needed to start my week on truck day and not do the ordering ( we always did the order together, and it was a battle to get what I believed to be enough for the week ordered, with him always trying to cut me short ). So now, every single week, I am short items. If I say, on truck day, hey, we x amount of this and we sold y amount of this last week, he will either proclaim that I am crazy and there is no way we will run out, or claim there was more than what I have written down for inventory on sunday. And than when I do run out during the weekend, I am told things like "So I have to work on my day off?" or "It is impossible we ran out, count it again " ..... and yeah, I will offer to go to the store, but it is apparently "not my job" .... but it is my job to get my ass chewed out when I am cautious of stock, selling stock, or needing stock.....

So, obviously, I cleaned up my resume , and am actively searching for a new home, but is there anything else I can do? Am I doing something wrong?
Joined May 4, 2005
Hey I think I know this guy! And his twin!

Sounds like a real joy to work with. Unfortunately there's nothing you can do when the owner is difficult to reason with. Good luck on the job hunt!
Joined Oct 10, 2005
Naw, nothing you can do.

The owner has to complain about something, so it could be your cooking or the way you comb your hair, but he chose ordering because it is so easy.
What I mean is no matter how perfect your kitchen is, you will have some stuff left over, it's impossible to get it right--especially with an a'la carte menu. It doesn't necessarily apply to banqueting or catering though.

Why the owner does this is anyone's guess, but if you are good at your job you will naturally ask for more salary or some other compensation.
Joined Oct 31, 2012
First off, I'd like to express my sympathies. Been there, didn't like it.
Here's my opinion/suggestion. It may help or not. If you have a POS system, it tracks all the sales of each item. So you can run various reports, by shift, day, week, month, by item, by group and category and about a hundred other things. So you know with complete accuracy what's been sold and when, what was delivered and when, etc. Print this out to use for ordering.
If your inventory system is already computerized, so much the better. If you can connect the two, even better.
So the essence of my suggestion is to computerize the hell out of the entire process from start to finish.
Then when argument day arrives, it isn't you with an opinion, it's you with a computer generated report with actual numbers. Those are much harder to argue with.
Just to beat a dead horse, I'll throw in an example. The POS sales report for the past week says 65 stuffed chicken breasts were sold between monday evening and Friday lunch. Inventory report and invoice says 75 were delivered Monday morning. A quick visual check shows five in walk-in and five in prep on the line. All accounted for.
The sales report for the past twelve weeks shows sales of at least 60 each week. The lowest sales was the fourth week, also the same week as that enormous blizzard. Etc, Etc.
Of course, owner cooperation is needed to do much of the computerization but the closer you can get to this the better.
I believe so strongly in doing this and am so confident that it will solve much of the issue that I'll wager that if the owner gives you a hard time about it and doesn't want to computerize it all so it's extremely accurate, then he's hiding something or taking product home that he doesn't want to admit to. Or he's an idiot.
(That no 86 policy? In my humble opinion that's a pretty stupid rule.)
Otherwise, Best of luck with the job search.
Joined Aug 21, 2009
I had a similar situation... owner opened up another place and needed someone to run the kitchen in his established place and I ended up being that person. It was not enjoyable at all. He went to take care of his new place and I was left to run the kitchen in his other place with little to no direction from him as to what his expectations were and his wife was the most miserable and rude person I have ever come across in my life, and honestly if I had met her in an interview I would not have taken the job. Needless to say I got myself out of there as fast as I could.
Hope you find something new very soon
Joined Jan 11, 2018
That owner needs to understand that if you are constantly running out of things and customers are unable to order what they want, then they will more then likely not become repeat customers. Can't stay in business if you don't have customers coming back.

Your better off leaving and finding an establishment that puts trust in the Chef.
Joined Jan 29, 2017
chefwriter, thank you. when I was doing ordering with him, I had an excel spreadsheet I would put all of the sale data in it, and it would give me a usage report on stock. Often we would argue about how much I really needed, but I was right most of the time where when I was wrong was only when business would take a dip or the sales on that item would be overshadowed by something else. Since writing this post, I am doing another system where I can quickly see low counts or miscalculations, and I will be taking inventory every week on my friday so I can be accurate in my counting.

Still actively looking though.

Thanks ya'all , the feedback ( as always ) is greatly appreciated :)
Joined Oct 31, 2012
Does the operation not have a touchscreen Point of Sale system or do the waitresses use paper tickets when ordering?
If you have a POS, then the program manager can create sales reports. If the owner doesn't know how to do this then get the POS sales rep down to explain it to both of you. You shouldn't need an excel spreadsheet to put the data in. The POS is doing it all already. You just need password access to the management part of the software program. then click through the various drop down menus. One of them should have the "Create Reports" option.
Joined Oct 1, 2006
Hi iceman82,

Here are a couple thoughts.

"Hey Boss, you do know that people only come here to give you money for something they want? Right?" "Telling them get to get something, other than what they really wanted, risks losing them as a customer, right?"


Ask him to trust your ordering judgement for 30 days. (This would at least get him off your back for your final 30 days while you look for better opportunities!)

Focus on the numbers, pick previous a month food cost and after your 30 days, compare the numbers. I guess that he is concerned about waste and losing profit with too much inventory. He should know how to read the numbers.

Best of luck for your future!
Joined Jan 29, 2017
Yes and yes!
We have a great POS called Toast, which is extremely robust but a still buggy in the inventory level. That is where my spreadsheet comes in. I export a weekly sales spreadsheet from the POS, import it to my own sheet, and viola, I have last weeks sales, average sales, high sales, and for each item based on portioning. I also take inventory before I leave for my weekend and compare that to the actual sales to show variance in reporting ( never is it beyond -/+1% ) .
Basically, I got that part of it on lockdown, but he does not trust me or care to put trust in me. Which I figure isn't such a bad thing until I get into situations like this.

Anyways, got a interview lined up for a fine dining establishment with slightly higher pay, extra time off, dinner only, right up my freaking ally. As far as I can tell, it was all meant to be :)

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