Head office people!

Joined Aug 21, 2009
For the last two days we have had our district manager in the kitchen being trained by a trainer from head office.

She gave us a scathing review last time she was in and alot of it came from her own lack of knowledge of the kitchen. Some of it was our fault, granted, but alot of it was just stupidity. (like her questioning me on why I have the egg grill set at 250F instead of 275F like the book says, to which I replied... when we were training before we opened the trainers set it lower as they felt it needed to be and the eggs come out looking to chain standard this way, she got all trippy on me and temped the grill and yes it does run 25 degrees hot as all grills and ovens vary but to her it should be by the book... ack!) She has never once in the past six months questioned me on that and now it is suddenly an issue?

To make herself look important to the guy who was training her she was constantly nitpicking and finding fault with pretty much everything we did, and it was getting pretty annoying.

The best one was today.. .she asked the KM why we freeze our onions and mushrooms after we cook them and he stated the obvious... so they don't go bad, to which she replied... they have a four day shelf life so we should be making them every four days and we're not supposed to freeze them. The KM said to her to show him the page in the book that states that and she said.. it's not int he book, but you shouldn't be doing it. While I know it is her job to find things that we are lax on, she is really reaching for it if she is nailing us for freezing onions and mushrooms for later use. I have been there since we opened and from day one we have always done that and on countless visits over the past six months she has seen that we do that and has never once questioned it so I have no idea why she's on such a powertrip now.

Thank goodness she is gone but I have two more days of head office trainers in helping to "retrain" us as we apparently suck. The staff I have in for the most part tomorrow and Friday are solid on their stations and pretty much everywhere in the kitchen but I do have a couple of newbies who could use some shadowing, so I think I am going to get them to do that. Plus they are two extra pairs of hands and can pitch in and help out where we need it.

Don't you just love to have to answer to people who only know the books and not the real life day to day life in the kitchen? :laser:
Joined Sep 26, 2009
excuse my question, but why don't you prep onions and mushrooms daily? Are you not able to get a good supply of fresh veg or do you not receive daily deliveries? To be honest I've never frozen veg in over 25 years of restaurant/hotel cooking.
Head office people are trained by the book and sometimes the book is written for specific reasons, however there's no need for them to be anal retentive:)
Joined Aug 21, 2009
We do get fresh produce in six days a week, and I think the logic behind the prepreparing is to save time when things are busy and to ensure the consistency between chain locations with those items. The KM came from a corporate store and they did their onions and mushrooms the same way we do. There is alot that we do prep fresh daily as our chain has a big focus on fresh fruit.

The book is there to make sure things are consistent from location to location but somewhere along the way you will run out of bananas or kiwis (as we did this past weekend) and have to improvise so that the customer gets at least the same amount of fruits on their plate, but with a complimentary small smoothie for the inconvenience..
Joined May 29, 2006
I have to agree with Penbrook
I can't see the logic of freezing after saute. The freezing breaks down the molecules and cells of the onions and mushrooms and tend on thawing to make them watery and to limp.. To compromise quality by doing something you don;t have to is not my cup of tea. I don't care how but I can always saute onions. I can see where the trainer is coming from. If the kitchen manager jumped off the roof, would everyone else???
Joined Aug 21, 2009
If it were left to me I would do them daily and the stations that use them would be responsible for prepping them as part of their daily setup, but.. sigh.. I'm not in charge so I get to do what I am told. If I ever become KM at our location or at the one our owners are in the process of starting up, I will definitely do a few things very differently but for now we're doing it this way. I'm going to suggest doing them daily to the KM and see what his take on it is and honestly I think it would greatly reduce some costs if we were do to that as we would only be buying what we need each day.

We have made a significant change to our menu while keeping within the chain standards and that is the homemade soup. The chain puts out a weekly breakdown of sales per location and we top the chain in the soup/sandwich combo, as well as all of the lunch dishes that offer soup as part of the meal. Our sales in just soup of the day have skyrocketed too. I think word has gotten out about the homemade soup and I have noticed that I not only have to make the soup of the day but have a second onhand for backup as we have been selling out. That is the one thing that the trainers and the district manager are praising us on as we have reduced our food costs and are selling a better product with our homemade soup.
Joined Oct 10, 2005
Don't tke it so hard. Look, if the person inspected you and gave you a 99% then the pressure would be on THEM as to why they gave you so high a mark.

Remember Murphy's (Sod's law for Pembroke) law as it applies to hierarchies: That is, the fecal matter always falls in a downward motion.

Aww cheer up! Here's what you do next time the ol' inspector comes 'round:

You get an egg, blow it out hollow and run a length of butcher's twine through it and tie the other end of the string to a paper clip or clothes pin. Pin this contraption to the backend/apron strings of the inspector and watch the egg dangle between thier legs.

Mind you, you'd better make sure the kitchen is spic and span before you do this.

Me? I always keep a little pile of diced onions on the far upper left corner of the flat top going. They never burn, and are easy-peasy to replenish....
Joined Aug 21, 2009
Foodpump that would be funny to see her walking around with an egg dangling between her legs! Or we could fill the back pocket of her pants with shredded cheese and watch her leave a trail wherever she goes...

Today I have head office trainers in but I'm not too concerned. I know they will find something wrong as they always do but like I said, I'm going to use them to my advantage.
Joined Oct 18, 2007
Hang in there, many of us have been there.
I once had a manager of the restaurant (someone who is there pretty much daily and should know better) pull the fry basket up shouting "these should only be down 2 1/2 minutes!".
She didn't understand that during the rush the oil temp. had reduced significantly requiring more time in the oil bath.
She also did this to a friend of mine: Came around the corner with a corporate manager, and looked at the ticket, looked at the grill and then threw one of the two burger patties in the trash, and said "how many patties on a Timbertopper (our double burger)?".
My friend said "two, like always".
She slunk away and the corporate manager had a sour look on his face.
The boss is always the boss.
Unfortunately, the boss isn't always right.
Joined Sep 16, 2009
Funny thoughts, I wonder how she looks like walking around with egg dangling between the legs. Anyway I agree with JustJim boss is boss but they are not always right. Follow what you believe is right for that's your key and advantage in the game.
Joined Aug 21, 2009
So today was head office's last day with us and they did take the owners aside before me and talk to them about the the issues they had and then they shared them with me. In their eyes our biggest issue lies in our prep and it is that in some cases we are overprepping certain items and underprepping in other areas. So the KM and I need to be watchful and make sure it is done to spec and if we see something that looks sketchy we need to take it apart and make sure it is done properly.

We talked about the onions, and they suggested to precook four cups of onions and then when we see it getting low, do another four cups right on the grill but only precook them to translucent not carmalize them from the get go. We have been doing that wrong from the beginning and I suspect it might be that our first KM was good friends with a trainer so things may have been let slide and it has taken this long for it to be noticeable.

They also commented that today was the best team of cooks on the hot line they have seen all week. All of us have a sound knowledge of our stations and in the crunch we all pulled together to help and get it done. They like how the KM and I call board and that we have a good working relationship and we support each other all the time. The other thing they like is that both the KM and I are sound on every station in the kitchen and apparently we are one of the few kitchens in the chain were both the KM and AKM can do all of the stations competently.

Tomorrow we are head office-free... but it is Friday and the weekend is upon us so we have a huge prep list.

Funny thing too.. I expected to get dinged on the fact things weren't dated but they didn't care... they either didn't notice or let it slide... but wow.. that was a surprise too.

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