How to deal with crazy owner.


Joined Mar 2, 2006
Well after losing my last job of 10 years due to the bad economy I found a new one, Everything I wanted, local sustainable, ecologically committed with a focus on the community and ecofriendly practices. I have been there for a few months and so far I feel as I am doing a good job.

Here is  my problem, the owners----

I have a hard time working with them, everyone else in the restaurant does too. They are both bi-polar and manic depressive.

One day they are all sunshine, the next they are throwing things around, glaring at everyone, randomly firing people for perceived slights etc. We have gone through 3 exec chefs in 8 months. I try to stay out of the way and do my thing but they are both so cheap it is hard to get product in, just a pint of raspberries for dessert garnish takes 2-3 days of prodding. I do the desserts and since I have started sales have gone up a lot however the one owner thinks we are using too much product now so gets mad when things run low "where is it going" he says, "is he throwing it away?". I was hired as pastry chef and really only do production and service, not what I was originally hired to do which was more of the clerical and ordering in order to take the pressure off the boss, the owner who runs the bakery part of the operation can not let go and has to have control of every minute aspect of the bakery, I was hired to let him get some free time and help out so he can do the things an owner should be doing, he is so burned out watching him try to make things is like watching  a tortoise with 3 legs try to cross a hot road. He spaces out in the middle of doing things, never has any time to test new items and is never happy with them until he changes the recipe to one he is familiar with--google I have about 20 years of experience here and it kills me to get a recipe clearly printed out from the Internet. I just want to make them happy and is is hard believe me.

Another thing is we found a hidden camera in the kitchen with a microphone, it is hidden in the clock- you can find them on e-bay.

So it is weird knowing everything said and done is being recorded, we use it to our advantage--"I hope he ordered the raspberries we only have enough for today...." Is that even legal?

Lately the owners think people are stealing things they don't know what but people are stealing so everything is locked up every time we need flour, cocoa powder nuts etc. we have to find one of them and get the key which is a huge waste of time, especially if they are not in the building we have to wait for them to come back. The one owner is out back in the am with a flashlight looking through the trash and looking around the buidling, I know of no one who is stealing here and if I did I would report it but this paranoid behavior is what is killing the team. Another incident, the one owner lost his keys the other day so everyone had to come back into the kitchen and empty their pockets and purses, it turns out one of the cooks needed something from the storeroom and forgot to give them back. That put everyone in a great mood believe me, I'm glad I was off that day.

They refuse to throw anything out, an example is we make a sample dish , they do not like it and it goes into the reefer, we don't use it or sell it it just sits, a week later I throw it out and get questioned why I threw it out. The same with cupcakes, we make them everyday the ones that do not sell go back to the kitchen where they sit, we cannot sell them but we can buy them if we want to (like anyone wants to buy old cupcakes) so when I toss them 2-3 days later I get the look--what if someone wanted to buy them?? They ask, I have no answer. The same goes for bread we have so much of it left over and it sits until it is completely stale.

We are afraid to toss it.

I really like the place and believe it can do well, the team is talented, I like the focus of the food but I do not know how to proceed here, I need to talk to them both this week as I cannot take it any more, I feel bad for them as their whole life savings is tied up into the place and that alone I know is very stressfull, when they are in a good mood they are great people and I can see their passion which is inspiring but when they are down it completely kills every ones desire and passion, everyone stops caring.

Has anyone ever experienced this before?

What would you say, how would you approach this situation?

I am getting old, have a house, a kid and a mortgage, this is getting too much for me are restaurants getting crazier?. I just want a normal (as far as restaurants go) job.
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Joined Oct 10, 2005
A CDN singer/songwriter Bruce Cockburn wrote, "The trouble with normal is it always gets worse".........

I have worked for people like you've described, but the camera wasn't hidden, it was pointed out on day 1, something about a "disgruntled employee who tampered with food".  Crazy?  On the first week I got reamed out for putting in a liner bag in the emptied garbage can.  "We don't use liners here, that's what we have dishwashers for"...........

I honestly believe that if you look at the business real estate listings in your area, you will find your workplace listed.  They (owners) felt they bought too high and know they can't get rid of it unless the books really sing. 

Problem is they're so involved with penny pinching that they can't see that they're impeding the daily operations.  Nothing will change untill the place is sold, or they suffer mental break downs. 

Nothing much you can really do, other than keep your eyes and ears open for something better
Joined Apr 3, 2010
These guys are a disaster waiting to happen. As far as them selling place , they should while they still have something left to sell.
Joined Sep 18, 2008
Hm, maybe someone that "knows what's going on" should make an offer????

Not that we "know" anyone that "knows what is going on", now do we.
Joined May 5, 2010
I work for 2 "alpha's" so I can empathize with your story.

I am constantly receiving recipes that some relative thought my boss' would like. The recipes are usually from some magazine and are made for the "clueless" people. I keep them in a file, but have as yet make any.

My boss also runs his resort same as your description. He does not want to pay a GM so has made each department head their own manager. How trusting this man is. He puts his full faith and trust in a few people to run his place.Boy what a guy......

As has been already said.......they will not change, so you must. Good luck.
Joined Aug 21, 2009
They aren't going to change.  I have worked for similar people and the best thing I did was get myself out as soon as I could. 

As for the hidden camera and microphone I'm not sure if that is legal or not.  I have worked in places that have security cameras and as far as I can remember we were told at the start that the cameras were there.

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