Experience or Longevity

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Joined Sep 17, 2018
This is very much the case on our town. People move here from other states just to open a restaurant. Every week there is an opening (and of course, closings often follow right behind). There are more places than employees to staff them.

We have some friends with a breakfast and lunch joint, they actually fired a line cook (a rarity in itself) and he had a job the next day with a new place up the road. They hired him because they cannot get enough staff to open. and had to take what they could get.
Unfortunately the way hiring go around here is after an interview I have to do documented reference checks, then they have to do a drug test, physical and background check. After that is all cleared they have several weeks on hands on training. So it is a whole process and even if I wanted to start someone off the street I can't, and some people can't or won't wait that long to start, as you said they can start the same day at somewhere else and not go through the whole process.
 
1,628
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Joined Dec 23, 2004
"If we want to see cooks that act like professionals we have to start treating them like professionals."

Gee, if it were only that easy. When all you get as applicants are adolescents that cant's even dress themselves for an interview, can't form sentences, and generally have no clue, the problem is definitely not us.
Didn't your mother ever teach you that respect begets respect?
As if it's an accident that that's the applicant pool! It doesn't look like a serious profession so professionals don't apply.
 
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Joined Dec 23, 2004
I'm trying to think of another profession that considers themselves professionals that didn't plan on working in that profession all their lives. I never had a cook tell me he/she wanted to be a cook all their lives. In my business if I had a crew with very little turnover for a year I considered it a great achievement. The only other profession I see coming close to being as bad would be a used car salesman.
It's a damn rare person that decides at 15 what they want to do with their life and sticks with that original plan til they're 65. A rare doctor or lawyer maybe but even a lot of those discovered that calling later on. Of course, if they're from old money they may have been groomed from birth for a certain role, I dunno. But whether you chose your vocation at age five or not has little bearing on whether you're a professional.

In the US most folks don't take food service seriously as a profession, and there's little reason they should. Sure a kid might watch Kitchen Nightmares or Chopped and decide to be a chef but they're seeing a distorted unrealistic kind of experience that doesn't really exist outside of TV.

As a 50 year guy myself I tend to see older cooks as being more reliable but that's not always the case. Some 60 year old cooks are just burnouts who've been drunk since their 20's. If I hadn't quit drinking in my early 40's I probably wouldn't be alive today much less be a chef.

But I guess we're kind of going in circles. We want committed, passionate drones that will do the most menial jobs for subsistence pay without complaint, and for years! I don't see that plan working out. Miserable pay and working conditions coupled with a lack of benefits will likely never bring the cream of the crop to kick down your door begging for a job. Make it worth their while or accept that they probably won't waste their time on you.
 
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Joined Oct 10, 2005
Hi Seoul food,
Regarding your employers benefits vs, salary point of view, I get it. I don’t agree with it it, but I get it.

What I would do is collect a bunch of screen shots from your local Craigslist showing what basic accommodations in your area are, what other employers are paying for similar positions, and what tele-marketers are paying for kids with no xperience. This last one is important because that is who is hiring successfully. With the screen shots include how many interviews you conducted, how many no- shows, red flags, and compatibility with the position you are offering. Main thing is don’t include any opinions, just facts and numbers. Send this work of art off to the powers-that-be-that decide on salaries, and don’t expect anyone to acknowledge this report.

The times are a’changing.. As one South African golf pro once remarked in the early 90’s “ change is the price of survival”...
 
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Joined May 5, 2010
I've been mulling this thread for awhile now. Whether I'm a line cook or a Chef, it doesn't matter.
To me the customer comes before the staff.
If I were quoting a Star Trek movie scene, "The needs of the many out weigh the needs of the one."

To that end, no matter what management sent me in the form of hands, I always put the customer above the needs of the staff in each and every case. After all, the customer pays the bills.
When you have inexperienced help, it reflects on the place, and can ultimately doom it.
Good Chefs with a well formed staff can take on just about anything.
When I discipline a cook, I'm not insulting them or trying to hurt their feelings, as I'm talking to the cook, not the person. The cook is required to perform certain tasks. If the person in that position can't do the work, even after training, keeping that person on is no good and can bring down the rest of the place, create resentment, and cause a lot of hard problems.
Finding and retaining good help starts with the interview.
In Seoulfood's example, the hoops that applicants have to go through for that position isn't always fool proof either. People can fake just about anything these days
 
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Joined Oct 10, 2005
Sure the customer comes first.

Let’s look at the retail sector, most big box stores and supermarkets have been slowly pushing self check out stations for years, but lately they’ve become more aggressive, with some stores having NO staffed checkouts, or only having staffed checkouts at peak times. The retailers KNOW that theft is higher, and indeed enterprising crooks take cellphone shots of barcodes on cheaper items, print them up at home, go back to the store and slap them on more expensive items. . Yet the stores continue to push self checkouts. Ive explained to more than one store manager that the cost for a real, live cashier is built into the retail mark up price, so why should I pay for a service the store has no intention of providing?

Yes the customer comes first in the hospitality industry, after all, we are charging for a product and a service. But if we can’t provide that service— heck if we don’t even have any standards for what that service should be— well then.... maybe we should have the menu on the wall and stand behind a cash register...
 
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Joined Dec 23, 2004
It's really impossible to cover this without observing the way that neoliberalism and the rise of multinationals have combined to create a new serfdom in the world. Kitchens aren't unique in this regard but as more and more wealth is in fewer and fewer hands this problem will continue to get worse. And things are certainly a lot worse now than even fifteen years ago.
 
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Joined Sep 17, 2018
But I guess we're kind of going in circles. We want committed, passionate drones that will do the most menial jobs for subsistence pay without complaint, and for years! I don't see that plan working out. Miserable pay and working conditions coupled with a lack of benefits will likely never bring the cream of the crop to kick down your door begging for a job. Make it worth their while or accept that they probably won't waste their time on you.
Maybe automation will eventually catch up with this particular need in our industry.
 
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Joined Sep 17, 2018
In Seoulfood's example, the hoops that applicants have to go through for that position isn't always fool proof either. People can fake just about anything these days
I agree. I had one person brag to other staff how he cheated the drug test and I've had more than a few cooks who looked great on paper and had all the right answers in the interview but were complete train wrecks.
 
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