Dating Co-workers!

Joined Jan 4, 2006
I always had a hard time when two of my cooks or one of my cooks and a server would start dating. I am usually happy for them because I know that a cook will always perform better behind the stove:roll: but at the same time it always place me in a tuff spot when I had to fire one or the other.

If they are serious about their relationship, sometimes by firing one, you know that the other one will be pissed off for a while and probably leave fairly quickly:beer:

I did meet my wife in the kitchen:lol:
Joined Jan 13, 2005
My wife used to be the sales a catering manager where I worked. We only starting seeing each other after I had moved on, but I think I will reserve any public opinion on the issue just the same:blush:
Joined Feb 19, 2004

As there is no question to this discussion I'm starting to think that you're counting hours of work (see high paying jobs) as hours of self-promotion on cheftalk without making any contribution to further the profession. I know this might well start another flame war for me, and I admit that I'm glad you moved your website into your signature, but I really feel like you're using cheftalk as an advertising tool, which pisses me off. I've poured out my heart to this forum, and it should not be used as a low-budget application for self promotion.

If you've got a question as to whether or not it (screwing the staff) is right, and whether or not it's professional behavior, the answer is a flat no. If you're trying to ask if the reality is different than the ideal, the answer is a resounding yes.

If you're truly interested in proving your professionalism, it's done by turning off the part of your brain that makes you look at co-workers when you enter the building. A great chef is not an animal whose physical drives overwhelm the drive to be a better manager and cook, he or she is an driven craftsman, to whom the craft has greater meaning than any other thing in the moment, or anything which can take away from that moment.

Joined Jun 29, 2004
For me, dating co-workers doesn't work. I try to keep my professional life and personal life separate, not bring any baggage into the kitchen and not bring my work life home. Dating co-workers seriously interrupts this harmony. Nothing is worse than being in the **** for MEP, and having your girlfriend/server want to talk to you in the middle of it, then feeling bad for ignoring her in favour of maintaining professionalism (no matter how much attention you pay outside of work). It just doesn't work. I don't mind meeting women at work, but I can't work with them and date them at the same time. As far as just hooking up with them, it ruins any image of professionalism, and again, isn't worth it.
Joined Jun 13, 2002
In our restaurant, there are at 10 couples who are together, plus another 10 family members.

It's not a family operation, it's a community operation.

We're in a small town. Everybody knows everybody. It's a tough syndicate!

Our restaurant is owned by a larger corporation, but they only own three other establishments beyond ours. We're continually the most impressive operation for all of their restaurants. And we have the best numbers......

Dating on the job has always happened in my 27 years in the business. Always! It's unavoidable. I know kids who are graduating high school soon, that I may have been prone to putting people together..... a long time ago!

Instead of criticizing it, promote good relations with your staff. They don't have to have sex for christ's sake, they just have to be civil in how they go about their relationship....... everyone has their job. Embrace good relationships! It's healthy! It is!

If they can't perform, than it's a problem. Separate the difference and move forward........

Make decisions based on who the people are, and how they may react with others... customers, staff, etc. Not on who they're fu**ing!

Joined Jun 29, 2004
I hate to hijack, but I disagree. While this is somewhat off-topic, it's a very valid discussion (you don't necessarily need to ask a question to get an answer or have a good discussion) since it happens very often in our industry. As far as self-promotion goes, so far his posts seem to be in line, he has valuable experience to offer, I personally don't see a problem (he's not the only one I've seen in forums advertising himself). These forums sometimes get a little bogged down by endless questions anyway, it's a nice break to see a post like this.
Joined Mar 23, 2005
Touchy subjects all around....

Humans will be humans and if two people find themselves attracted to each other, its going to hapen on the job or otherwise. What they do with it after that depends on values, priority and maturity. Unfortunately, human nature does not allow us to generalize on subjects like this. We also cannot displace the fun factor seed we all have, most understandable even more so when single ;-)

As for the ruffled feathers going on, I am not quite sure where the spark for the fire came about, but I personally do not have a problem with this thread and its origination.
Joined Jan 4, 2006
Well, DanBrown, have one on me!! :beer:
I know that I just got here, but I thought that it was an OPEN DISCUSION kind of place. NOT just a ask questions!! I appreciate your opinion, and if you have questions go for it...
Everyone else
Chef_Bob, MikeB, Botanique, emhahn,
Thanks for jumping in with your feed back...:smiles:
This non-questions came about after a conversation with my wife who is still managing people in the industry and had some issues with two employees being a bit too kissy kissy at work:):)

I still think that when my cooks were sleeping with someone the're performance and behavior were way better:)

I have 20 years in this business, and I am still surprised with people's behavior! AND that's all I have to say about that:bounce: :bounce:

Joined May 16, 2003
At my externship I almost hit on the hostess until I found out she was dating the soux chef! Now that would have been funny.

Hitting on co-workers is too limiting.

Hit on the customers!

Mark :D
Joined Jan 4, 2006
we all know we can't stop love from happening:)
Once you are struck with the bug, it's over... you have to make a move:)

Just remember, splits are never much fun and even less fun when you keep working with the person everyday or when that person start dating the boss right after you!:eek:
Oh, better yet, picture this:) after the split, this love interest may become your boss! up:eek:
Joined Dec 16, 2004
And when the relationship doesn't work out and the couple doesn't want to work together or they start slandering each other on the job, He/she comes in drunk/hungover because he/she is trying to drown his tears. One quits. Then the mgmt. comes into play. Not worth it. Blah Blah Blah.:chef:
Joined Oct 28, 1999
Great line!

Just to interject (rather than stoke the fire of a very heated discussion)...
I don't even let my students date one another. Do I have the legal authority to do so? No. Will I explain the inevitable end results? You bet!

... this, too, is a touchy issue (no pun intended)! As a manager, or anybody witness to this in fact, that can be considered sexual harassment. That is bad news all around. While the definition of sexual harassment is fairly broad sweeping, that is a VERY slippery slope on which to tread. I'm speaking from experience... I think my VERY FIRST post on ChefTalk (waaaay back in 1999) was on sexual harassment in the work place. Man, I'm getting old!
Joined May 26, 2001
That's the problem, in a nutshell. They are at work to WORK, not to maintain their personal relationship. That kind of behavior is simply not acceptable. It doesn't matter whether an employee is having a relationship with ANYONE, fellow employee or civilian; there are good and bad aspects to that. What matters is that it infringes on their focus on work. And that is NO GOOD.

A lot of other industries have rules against "fraternization" -- no way that would work in our business, though. But it is a situation to neither encourage nor discourage. The important thing is to prevent it from interfering with getting the work done. Which means being absolutely fair to both parties when discipline is necessary.
Joined Jan 4, 2006
Yes, I agree too, a strong company policy is best to begin... BUT, unfortunately, you can't stop LOVE:crazy:

If some two cooks want to do the "mess around" it become pretty hard... again, no pun intended:) to prove the whole thing unless they are doing it on the "wood block":) in the kitchen...

I once had one of my cook make a comment about "silicone breasts" to his own girl friend at work... AND The girl standing next to the girl friend got offended and put in a complain againts my cook, which resulted in a 3 day suspension for my cook! He was not a happy camper:D

Anyway, I am glad that this tread is sparking some good conversations, it is sure to help younger cooks before it is too late
Joined Nov 1, 2004
Great Topics on this thread.
I am known for being a little racy in the kitchen at times, especially when I was younger. I have had to learn a few lessons about how sexual harrasment plays out. Pretty much you have to cover your a** in any conversation you have with your employees.
I married the gal that I met at work. She worked as the head cashier and I was the Garde Manger Chef at the time in a large hotel. So we weren't really in the same departments and there were times when we didn't see each other for a few days. So I really never thought that I was going out with someone that I shared a daily work space with. Fast forward ten years. Still married and happy.
As far as relationships in the same department are concerned, I tend to frown on that. In my opinion and experience, fraternization tends to distract from work rather then uphold the work standard. I have seen it happen to many times when a popular young waitress that is going out with one of the cooks decides to go on a cigerrette break. Not only does the cook drop everything and leave but so does his pals that are in the inner circle of friends with the couple. On one cigarrette break the whole kitchen clears out! Unnacceptable!! Then there is the sneaking off to do the kissy, touchy, feely thing. Then there are some employees that are not really committed to one person but date a score of cooks and others. One or several have "intimate relations" with this employee and the stories follow. They get spread around and of course the fair lady has been scorned and her honor sullied. Then come the sexual harrassment complaints and I end up working there shifts to cover the suspended employees. So here is the question. Is this "love" and we should not get in the way? Or as professional managers should we establish a company standard that prevents the above true examples from happening? I vote for the latter. I have witnessed too many soap opera's, bitter breakups, so on and so forth. Lets not mention about the increase of partying that happens between two players and subsequently any of there friends that happen to be working at the same job. Then having to deal with that hungover, burnt out, tired for work but was wide awake all night crew that I have to deal with.
To sum it up, I tell my employees that I really don't care what they do after work. I don't want to know. If you make it obvious to me at work then you as an employee have infringed upon my time and I will come down with a "decision" that they will have to abide by. As far as sous chefs dating other cooks. This leads to accusations of favoritism by other employees and we all get to walk down the sexual harrassment trail in the kitchen so I forbid any sous chef from dating fellow cooks. If they have truly found "love" then they can quit and date the cook from another job. Besides that, doesn't distance make the heart grow fonder?
I realize for familly operations it is a different dynamic. But in that scenario people react differently then if they were working for a large corporation. You can't act up if Aunt Susie is your manager or if everybody including Parents, Aunts and Uncles patronize the restaurant. There is also a stigma attached that if you did act up and got suspended or even fired that you would have to answer to everybody you know :eek: and not a human resource manager behind some desk.

Great topics I love this thread
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