First Sous Chef/AKM Position. Need advice !!!

Joined Mar 11, 2017
I recently accepted a Sous Chef/AKM Position at an establishment that I previously worked at as a line cook/lead line cook. It's a Bar/Grill that seats roughly 150 - 200 people. This is my first management position. The problems I am having are mainly with my KM. When I was brought back there was only 1 line Cook, 1 prep cook, 0 dishwashers, me and the KM. Now we have 2 line cooks (1 pt and 1 ft)and a dishwasher. Severely understaffed given that when it's busy it takes 3 cooks at the bare minimum to efficiently run the line. The km is adamant about keeping staff to a minimum as well as product. The issue is that he does not help out at all,leaves as soon as i arrive,and 86,which i see as unnacceptable, has become a regular occurence, and employees are burnt out from being overworked.he refuses to release some essential responsibilitis to me. (Scheduling, hiring,ordering etc.) But will not handle it himself. Sorry for the extensive post but I don't want to quit because I have alot of respect for the owner and enjoy the environment. But I don't know how to get my km to see reason. Any advice would be greatly appreciated on this as well as advice for a first time AKM. Thanks
Joined Mar 1, 2017
Hi Paperchase.

I always recommend the "take the issue head on" approach.  It tends to cut through the BS and sets the boundaries early on in the issue. 

However, since you are an AKM, which is a management position, use that momentum to your advantage.  Spec out the overhead costs of having on shift the number of staff that you feel is necessary to handle dinner/lunch rush.  That includes any applicable benefits, salary costs, cost of food for meals, all of it.  You are basically doing a cost analysis.  If possible, include performance evaluations of current staff levels during peak hours vs what you predict the performance will be at peak hours under your model.  Put this information together in a straight forward and concise presentation that is simple and easy to understand.  When it is complete, schedule some time with the KM and go over those figures and see if you can convince him/her to concede some ground without turning it into a confrontational thing.   Even if you get nowhere with the KM, the fact that you put together that information shows that your head is in the game and understand the kitchen from a management perspective.  At least, that's what I would think if I were an owner and one of my junior managers put together something like that. 

If not, then you have three choices:  1) deal with it, 2) quit and go somewhere else or 3) take your case to the owner. 

If you go with door 1, there is a chance that time may prove you right.  If you go with door 2, you risk being seen as not dependable.  If you go with door 3, there is a chance you still may not get anywhere and create more friction because you went over the KM's head.  If you choose door 3, make good and sure your facts and figures are impeccable. 

I hope this helps.  Good luck. 
Joined Feb 8, 2009
Tell the owner you'll run the kitchen and hire another cook. This way you'll have productive people working on the front line. The less dead weight you have while your climbing a mountain the better off you'll be. Talking to the KM isn't going to do anything. The place will run better without him. .........Good Luck........ChefBillyB

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