DOFB Rant

8
10
Joined Jan 1, 2017
Hi Chefs,

More of a rant than asking for advice ...
I’m Executive Chef of a multi outlet 5 star hotel, including ADD, IRD, BQT, 1 Michelin starred fine dining, another outlet pushing for a star, and a few other more casual outlets. The team comprises of about 120 including stewards.

Like everyone else, we’ve been hit hard by Covid and we’ve been forced to downsize. The team is down to about 80. 60% of 2021 AL has been cleared, and up to 10 days of advance negative EO for many team members.
The need for downsizing is clearly understood, however with business levels creeping back up to pre-Covid levels the management is not interested in re-hiring.

We lost the Exec Pastry Chef 10mo ago so I’ve been responsible for developing new pastries, 4 new Afternoon Tea concepts, new bread programs, etc.
I was also asked to push out the CDC of another outlet as he was not able to achieve a Michelin star.
On top of this the fine dining CDC had to leave the country without notice due to visa issues.
Now I find myself running the pass of the ADD during breakfast, and the fine dining outlet in lunch and dinner. My Exec Sous runs the other outlets. On top of overseeing the Pastry team and standard Exec chef duties such as food cost, BQT menu development, labour cost, HACCP, etc.

All this is enough on my plate however the DOFB is constantly on my back, micro-managing the most mundane & petty details. Sending me photos from the cake shop all day, checking the outlets to count how many staff are on duty and demanding to send people home if he feels there are too many working, etc. Even on my days off I often start getting messages from him at 7:00 and it continues until 20:00.
The DOFB cares nothing for staff welfare. He views the team as his slaves to facilitate his rise to EAM/HM.
I’ve told him diplomatically that when it comes to the point that an Exec Chef of a team of 120 is forced to be on the pass for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, things have gone seriously wrong.
He has an extremely fragile ego though, and will catalogue any form of resistance to his ‘leadership’ for future unrelated punishment.

Apart from being a micro manager and a narcissist, he’s a complete hypocrite. Recently we had several events worth over 300K in revenue over a 2 day period. I requested 1 casual labour to assist with preparations as the team is stretched far too thin. I was told to cancel people’s days off instead to cover. He finally relented but commented that I need to manage the team better. At the same time he hired over 30 casual banquet waiters to supplement the full time staff.

It’s discouraging working 14-16hr days under a megalomaniac. On the other hand, my food cost is extremely well controlled. I am one of the only Exec Chefs in the group to be be below budget despite the excessive discounts, room packages, etc. We are consistently rated among the highest in the city, we have a 1 Michelin Starred restaurant, and despite not being a Pastry chef, the 4 Afternoon Tea concepts I developed were the most successful in the hotel’s history. My team have commented that they’ve never seen an Exec Chef spend this much time in the kitchen.

I’ll be resigning as soon as the market opens up again. I don’t need this

rant over :)
 
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Joined Nov 27, 2012
Hey mate. Sounds like you've been doing a great job and sounds like you have the right idea in mind about quitting and looking for better pastures.

Have you had a one on one talk with the GM about your situation? Sounds like if you leave it will all collapse and things will go from bad to worse. A good gm would do whatever he can to keep you or at the very least Transfer you to a sister property in order to not lose an asset. Avoiding any bridge burning would be ideal if you can manage to get it done.

Trying is the important part, as long as you reach out a hand it's on them whatever happens next.
 
8
10
Joined Jan 1, 2017
Hey mate. Sounds like you've been doing a great job and sounds like you have the right idea in mind about quitting and looking for better pastures.

Have you had a one on one talk with the GM about your situation? Sounds like if you leave it will all collapse and things will go from bad to worse. A good gm would do whatever he can to keep you or at the very least Transfer you to a sister property in order to not lose an asset. Avoiding any bridge burning would be ideal if you can manage to get it done.

Trying is the important part, as long as you reach out a hand it's on them whatever happens next.
Thanks for the suggestion. I will indeed speak with my GM and try to outline my challenges in a non-judgemental fashion. I don’t wish to burn any bridges and the last thing I would like to do is to leave my team in a poor situation.
 
2,485
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Joined Feb 8, 2009
You look to be a quality person trying to do a quality job in a difficult time. Most quality chefs don't have a hard time running a quality kitchen is good times. The problem is during a Pandemic everything changed. During slower times it makes it much more difficult to maintain quality employees, preparing quality food in a quality establishment. It makes it even more challenging to accomplish this with a Dick head DOFB.
I would continue to staff and hire as you see fit. You have all the knowledge and understanding of what it takes to run your kitchen efficiently. As long and you're taking into account that we are in challenging times and somethings do need to be cut, You'll be fine. If the DOFB doesn't agree then let him fire you....If and when this happened to me, I would always walk out knowing I did things the way they should have been done......
 
5,508
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Joined Oct 10, 2005
Being able to run the operation as you have and within your budget constraints is actually your ticket out of there, those are very powerfull bragging rights.

When you go, there will be one helluva vacuum, and owners/HM will hold your f'nb responsible. Leave yourself room to make a return once the f'nb is gone....
 
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Joined May 5, 2010
F and B's were always the pain in my ass. The best one I ever had was an ex-Chef who turned Food and Beverage. At least he had the experience and knowledge.
 
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Joined Apr 27, 2015
When you leave, you really need to send a message to management as to the narcissist in question that forced you to relocate. Because otherwise that asshat is going to make other peoples' lives miserable too.
 
8
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Joined Jan 1, 2017
You look to be a quality person trying to do a quality job in a difficult time. Most quality chefs don't have a hard time running a quality kitchen is good times. The problem is during a Pandemic everything changed. During slower times it makes it much more difficult to maintain quality employees, preparing quality food in a quality establishment. It makes it even more challenging to accomplish this with a Dick head DOFB.
I would continue to staff and hire as you see fit. You have all the knowledge and understanding of what it takes to run your kitchen efficiently. As long and you're taking into account that we are in challenging times and somethings do need to be cut, You'll be fine. If the DOFB doesn't agree then let him fire you....If and when this happened to me, I would always walk out knowing I did things the way they should have been done......
Thanks Chef. Yes, the timing and exceptional situation worldwide is very well understood. I have no issue with putting in long hours and covering multiple areas that are not usually part of an Exec Chef’s role.
On the other hand, the extreme micro-management is bordering on harassment. I’ve scheduled a meeting with my GM to delicately broach the subject.
thanks again
 
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Joined Dec 29, 2019
Thanks Chef. Yes, the timing and exceptional situation worldwide is very well understood. I have no issue with putting in long hours and covering multiple areas that are not usually part of an Exec Chef’s role.
On the other hand, the extreme micro-management is bordering on harassment. I’ve scheduled a meeting with my GM to delicately broach the subject.
thanks again
In those situations I always looked around first . The job mkt will come back, people want to live.
Don't be surprised if the pressure the F&B passes on to you originates with the GM.
 
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