Help with job title and description for startup?

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Joined Feb 24, 2017
Working with a client on a wonderful new concept, a fresh take on food within health care folding in scratch-made food, wellness, nutrition and gardening. It will involve cafe, catering, coffee, grab+go, a teaching kitchen space and a limited garden.

The idea is to start on "roller skates" and work up to the Tesla. But of course in the beginning, the leader will need to know and do and be ALL the things.

Because it's so menu-driven, and a chance to be really responsive, collaborative and creative (working with the on-site folks to move from my starter menu and recipes, to develop their dreams, menu and dishes) I feel like starting with a strong chef/kitchen and then eventually hiring for FOH management would be better (from a chef's perspective).

But in the beginning, it also involves FOH responsibility (cafe-style service, coffee, smoothies).

And ongoing, it also entails what are often owner-operator or outsourced responsibilities: marketing/social media management, and full responsibility for the financial ops.

So this position is entrepreneurial, but with a safety net. Overwhelmingly big, but super-full of fun potential.

I quickly realized we are looking for a unicorn, so I'm backing up a bit and reaching out for YOUR experience, perspective and guidance on the TITLE, and the job description (and the next few hires).

Anyone want to help me scaffold this part of the dream? I need to get out of my own head.
 
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Working with a client on a wonderful new concept, a fresh take on food within health care folding in scratch-made food, wellness, nutrition and gardening. It will involve cafe, catering, coffee, grab+go, a teaching kitchen space and a limited garden.

The idea is to start on "roller skates" and work up to the Tesla. But of course in the beginning, the leader will need to know and do and be ALL the things.

Because it's so menu-driven, and a chance to be really responsive, collaborative and creative (working with the on-site folks to move from my starter menu and recipes, to develop their dreams, menu and dishes) I feel like starting with a strong chef/kitchen and then eventually hiring for FOH management would be better (from a chef's perspective).

But in the beginning, it also involves FOH responsibility (cafe-style service, coffee, smoothies).

And ongoing, it also entails what are often owner-operator or outsourced responsibilities: marketing/social media management, and full responsibility for the financial ops.

So this position is entrepreneurial, but with a safety net. Overwhelmingly big, but super-full of fun potential.

I quickly realized we are looking for a unicorn, so I'm backing up a bit and reaching out for YOUR experience, perspective and guidance on the TITLE, and the job description (and the next few hires).

Anyone want to help me scaffold this part of the dream? I need to get out of my own head.
You wrote that big wall of text, with a lot of buzzwords thrown around, and I’m still not sure I have any idea what you are looking for.

You want a chef who can develop the menus and cook for a cafe, and for catering, and coffee, and grab and go, while simultaneously serving customers, doing email/marketing, social media, responding to guest inquiries? Lol…ok.

what is the actual concept of the business? Like a retreat or day spa?

you didn’t actually say much with your post.
You don’t mention your pay rate…I’m afraid to ask. Some sort of sweat equity and low pay? No health insurance I assume?

Your question is what to call this job? The closet I could come is “owner” and it doesn’t sound like the person is going to be an owner…so. I dunno.
I think I’d need more information but if you tried to sell me this job I wouldn’t be buying. I see your concern with getting someone on board.
 
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Yeah, and that’s only part of what’s in my head/on my notepad!

Thanks for reading.

It’s a cafe within a healthcare center (maybe 200 f/t staff once fully open) that also includes a fitness center component. So a very mixed clientele. Client is committed to fresh food/focus on nutrition, a varied approach (“all foods fit”), so everything from wraps, soups, salads that pack well, to a deli case full of tasty prepared foods, and baked goods, small hot and cold serving lines. A little of everything until we see what sticks.

I’m developing the menu to begin, and handing it off to someone who will develop it as they go.

Someone has to manage it as a business unit, tweak the operations and document everything: these folks are not foodservice people and they want to “hand the keys over”. So if the first/biggest hire as leader has this responsibility, I want it to be a chef. But in the beginning, they’ll need to have eyes on everything, advocate for what’s needed at next phases.

It does sound like an owner, and in a way it is, but with a safety net. There are only a few people who’d want to/be able to do this well, and for them, it’ll be the coolest job EVER.

Good pay (still working on that) great benefits.
 
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I think the title is “Chef/Sucker”. Starting small yet having everything you can think of to see what sticks is a recipe for disaster. I can assure you… the pay won’t be high enough. I’m not convinced that you have a well-formulated business plan. Big dreams are great but this one doesn’t seem well congealed yet.

Maybe what you really need is a level-headed and experienced PARTNER rather than an employee.

May I ask, what is your role in this venture? Are you the concept developer, financier, owner, silent partner?
 
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I hear you!

I'm the mid-wife. The org has wanted to do this for years, had their dreams all hashed out before we found each other. I'm the one who puts it on paper, challenges it, makes the connections, and makes it real. They want a (small, for now) counterbalance to contracted foodservice experience. There are lots of models for parts of this, nothing I've found yet that pulls it together in one place. This is a pilot to see if it can work.

Business plan is tricky to build, for sure. Been working on it all year : ) The concept is clear, menu is drafted, kitchen is (on its way) to being built. I have confidence in all those things. I'm building in an advisory team to provide training wheels as long as needed (these folks are super-smart, great at what THEY do, passionate about food, what it means for healthcare and communities) they just don't know the mechanics. It's a new business unit for them, essentially.
 
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I'm going to suggest a nutritionist or dietician with a business degree.
Although an educated Chef could do the job, your going to need sanitation and hygiene education for the staff, the documentation aspect would take up most of the daytime work alone.
 
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Definitely partnering w/inhouse nutritionist or RD. In my experience, they most often don't know or care "how the sausage gets made". I've got deep experience with this, and nutritional analysis is a part of the game. I'm test-driving meez, if anyone's used this. The concept is all-foods-fit, but education is key to meeting your body's needs. One aim is to have inhouse physicians feel comfortable "prescribing" food for their patients. So it'll be baked in to the model.

And did I mention there's a Teaching Kitchen attached? We're digging deep into the concept of Culinary Medicine, so chefs, RD's, all those folks will be getting hands-on.
 
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Think outside the tray : ) It's all retail, though there will be clinic patients through and targeted. There'll be a heavy outreach to larger community to make it a place people want to come to eat (also in a beautiful setting) and for educational and cultural events.

And the food will be awesome.

I had a gig for a long time on a mucky-muck college campus, where we pioneered amazing fresh food, made from scratch from real ingredients, sourced locally before that was a hackneyed phrase (though still important). It worked! There were lots of kinks to work out. Was it "school lunch"? Yes, in that we needed to be constantly responsive to who was eating our food (students, faculty, vip's, internationals, greater community) and what they wanted and if/how we could provide it. But so much better than school food, so the gears caught, and once they did, people got what we were trying to do and it worked. And now it's pretty common on campuses. This is a similar mission, similar frontier space, which is where the entrepreneurial (and business) mindset is needed, in addition to being a great cook.
 
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I know what I've done in the past, and what I'm plotting for the future : ) It's the title and job description I'm struggling with. It's not an owner, but they have to think like one. It's more than chef, for sure.
 
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Chef/partner. To succeed, the “hired hand” will need a huge amount of incentive, a vested interest, to perform as you want them to. I’d suggest a good salary, benefits, and a decent % cut. Only a fool would do what you want as a mere employee. Good luck.

What did you call the person you hired in your past ventures, and what were there duties, and how were they compensated?
 
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There was an (active) owner, I was nominally chef but did all the things, including the developmental/rail-laying work/menu and recipe design. We started with one stove and built over a few years, growing (organically! ha!) Eventually we hired a catering director, and that helped. When the owner (after I left) lost the contract, that catering director (brilliant) got the contract back, and organized it in a much better way (and stayed fairly active as an owner).

In this place, many years later, I've already designed the kitchens/workspaces. We have a much better sense of the model and what's needed than I ever had. But there are parallels and I appreciate your questions and challenges to dredge up memory!
 
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If I'm not "thinking outside the tray" it's because I'm only using the info you provided. I currently work in a hospital and we already do all the things you've described. Your setting/environment may be different but the concept isn't.
 
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here is my 2 cents.

I don't want to sound mean but I probably will.

It sounds like you want someone to do everything that you are supposed to do. Somehow you'll move on to be some kind of middle man while the guy you hire would take a ton of responsibility and you/owners will take all the benefits.

Unless the person expected to take care of this as a baby is motivated(money!) he just won't give two shits about the place. Even if you make him an "owner", it will be useless if its used as an excuse to pay them nothing. Promises on far of concepts will only attract in-experience.

You are using a lot of very "nice" words in your posts and giving me a lot of very vague info that hints at a lot of trendy concepts that my brain wants to fantasize about while at the same time not giving me any concrete facts. That immediately raises my hackles and makes my brain scream "scam" in the sense that whoever picks this up is gonna be abused to hell.

Real talk

You need a guy that will handle everything from the financial/marketing side of things to food execution, menu planning, front of the house everything and basically everything else (gardening as well, really?) in a small store on his own(maybe with a couple of people?). Sounds like a lot of the other employees are not in the picture unless the place starts printing money. So basically the guy needs to live and breathe the new business on the hope that when more employees come in he will be top dog(maybe of multiple stores or whatever rhetoric is used to sell the dream) in the far off future. Anything and everything will be expected of him cause he should look at it long term.

All of the owners worries with none of the benefits(if those ever existed in the first place)while at the same time having to listen to some outside perspectives with no experience but since its their money a very loud voice on what they want done. I don't know what would justify this kind of involvement unless it was my place(stuff done my way, the only way that works) and even then fuck that unless I had enough capital to delegate big part of those responsibilities.

This is my knee jerk impression of what the "insert fancy tittle here" position responsibilities and expectations will end up being. Again I am just trying to be honest but it just sounds like a shit deal from my perspective.

This is the kind of deal that someone with no experience to make it work would jump at and someone that has all the skills to make it work will stay the hell away from.

rant over
 
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My big answer on how to give a different impression(at least from my pov)

Be Specific.

Give me a job offer with exact numbers and job expectations. Nothing in the air, all the i's dotted and all the T's crossed(that's how it went I think). what kind of food cost do you want? what's your menu? where are the recipe cards? how many employees? How much time am I expected to be in the shop per day? what %is mine? etc?ect?etc? everything down on paper and well thought out.

I would go around doing it as if you wanted the person to invest money in the venture(he is very much your meal ticket). Be professional AF and win them over.

That would give me a much better impression of the gig for starters.
 
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The position you need filled is called an owner. No one hired will take on so many roles or responsibilities.
Yes I am blunt, but I have years of experience as a chef and as an owner— as do many of the people who responded to your thread.
 
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Y'all, this is EXACTLY what I hoped for. No apologies. Your candor is invaluable.

This is what is screaming around in my head, and my job is to make the case to client that you can't just hire a chef with good all-around skills and expect them to act like (and be capable to be) the "owner". But it needs to be "owned". I don't care how good or big the staff is: this is a self-contained business unit that requires all the pieces of a business functioning at a high level and there is no unicorn that will do all of this job, not for all the money.

I've BEEN that person with all the world's hopes on your shoulders. It's a recipe for disaster.

Can it be a team effort? If the chef is part of the team AND THE TEAM (Exec level in the org) is willing to step up and do their parts until it's fully staffed and humming.

My M.O. is to be crystal clear, in writing, in the job description, in the pro forma, in the ops manual, what this requires (and potentially requires) and what the safety valves are if any part of the team is not pulling their weight. And by team, I mean Advisory Team, not staff.

And the rest of my job is putting all of the parts of the car on the engine that I can. Yes, recipes. Yes a fully functional system of costing and menu engineering set up. Yes, a well-designed and stocked kitchen. Yes, accountability for partners in marketing (or a dedicated staffer). Yes, a first-year schedule (and partner staff member for scheduling/organizing events) with great connections already in place for the educational side. A sous chef who can be the operational chef as needed, who overlaps in schedule. Clarity about % expectations of time in kitchen/in office etc. I'm advocating for a FOH manager on par with the sous.

Keep shooting it full of holes. Come back to me in a year. If it works, I'll owe you a good drink.
 
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