How to Staff a Restaurant

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by brisket, Aug 15, 2010.

  1. brisket

    brisket

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    I need help.  I'm getting a new job sometime in the next 4 months as a chef of a new pub.  What I need to know is how I should staff it?  

    The menu is pretty basic stuff, about 30 items, but we will be doing all prep in house from french fries and salad dressings to bread and pastry.  The menu consists of soup, salads, sandwiches, burgers, steaks, nachos, wings, fish n chips. We're going to be open 10am to 10pm seven days a week. 

    The way I see it is that I need 4 people, not including dishwashers.  One opener, two floaters, and one closer.  Plus two of the cooks need days off so I can give it to them on the non busy weekdays.  So far it's just me and the GF, and while we don't need any days off, at some point I'm thinking we'll need to hire a fifth cook so that we can relax a little.

    So, anyone have any thoughts on the matter?

    P.S.  I've been getting mixed reviews from people about working with my girlfriend.  We're a serious couple, we've been together for 3 years and are moving in together in the fall.  Anyone have any thoughts on working with your significant other?
     
  2. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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    How many seats and how busy?
     
  3. aric87

    aric87

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    i would say it could either make or break your relationship. If you work well together, then great. But your both going to avoid say things to make each other angry and you'll harbor that until you do fight. I would say just keep it honest. As far as staffing goes, your estimate sounds correct. keep in mind that you could always utilize some personnel as duel purpose. I have cooks that wash dishes and only have a dishwasher on friday and sat. the rest of the week the line cooks do both. good luck
     
  4. brisket

    brisket

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    Sorry I forgot to mention the seating.  It's 65 seats, 20 in a private dining room and 45 in main bar area.  Business?  Hard to say.  We're in a smaller town of people that like to drink, fairly wealthy people for the most part, somewhat of a retirement community.
     
  5. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    For the type of simple food you're talking about, 4 competent cooks should be able to handle 400 covers very easily.

    If you're more bar than restaurant, you can probably get away with two (not counting plonge), on the slow days.  But if you're a pub-grub place, you'll want to be pretty close to fully staffed most nights.

    But if you're a sports bar in any way, you might want to have an extra body for game day crushes when the tickets come in 20 at a time.  You may well do 80% of your food business on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, and Monday nights (although the Church of Monday Night Football is no longer as well attended as it used to be). 

    On the other hand, a core of four may actually be too many.  A lot depends on the physical aspects of your kitchen as well -- how large, how arranged, how many burners, how big the fry-o-lator, and so on.  How much pre-packaged, frozen and/or par-cooked ahead, and nuking you want to do is another important consideration.  

    In a few months, in spite of all your planning and expectation the nature of your business will begin to establish itself.  Unless you have a Dream of a Serious Restaurant don't try to push it to far from where it wants to go.

    BDL 
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2010
  6. brisket

    brisket

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    Hmmm, there's no way we will have 400 covers on any night of the year.  With 65 seats?  This isn't New York City it's sleepy rural town New Brunswick.  I'm thinking our busiest night of the year, we might have 120-140 covers, and that's a stretch in my eye.  What is a plonge?

    The owner is calling it a pub but from everything he's described to me(from big screens, stage area for live music, to poker room upstairs) it sounds an awfully lot like a sports bar.  As does the menu, not much pubby food to speak of in fact.   I think he's very lost on the concept, and also this is his first foray into the industry.

    So now I'm thinking maybe just 3 cooks, including myself, as well as a part time prep cook.... 
     
  7. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    Plonge is the dishwashing station in a brigade.  The plongeur is the dishwasher.  French gives minimum wage cachet. 

    40 covers per cook for typical pub food seems like significant overstaffing.  If you and your guys can't handle a 60:1 ratio, it's either a complicated and expensive menu or there's something wrong.   If you're not trying to do Le Bernardin, you're three seems pretty good.  

    But, hey.  If you go four to begin with and it's too many, you can always cut back.  Similarly if three isn't enough to keep the place running like ball bearings on rails it's easy enough to find a cook.  Either way, it won't take long to find out.  One football Sunday in a sports bar should tell you all you need to know.

    Segregating responsibilities and domains often works well for couples in the same restaurant.  Since you've been hired as chef, she might want FOH.  Not that it matters but for whatever reason it seems to be a lot more common than the other way around. 

    BDL
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2010
  8. chefedb

    chefedb

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    In opening a new facility, almost all places Overhire. WHY? because you do not know if all the people you hired 1-show up opening day2-are any good3=first week you are new and a novelty and customers will come in just to see place. After the initial period you can then adjust accodring to flow and business. Ex. Daytime may not be busy and service staff can stack soiled dishes on dish machine and you can bring dishwasher in later. GOOD LUCK
     
  9. brisket

    brisket

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    She's actually a better, more experienced and knowledgeable cook than me.  We're sharing chef responsibilities, as in co-chefing.  The only place where I have more experience is with ordering, inventory and menu costing whereas she has everything else.  

    The 60:1 ratio sounds good.  We'll just need to hire one good cook.  Thanks for the help fellas.

    Out of curiosity, what would a run of the mill line cook, with say 3-5 year experience, normally make in the United States?  From your personal experience.