I really just want to rant about non competes for a moment....

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Joined Aug 26, 2018
I have almost accepted that these are pretty much standard in certain parts of the industry, but that doesn't make it easier to swallow.
At a previous job I had to sign a 3-year non compete once my salary went over a certain point. Even though I stuck with the company for several years, once things started going bad I was faced with a really difficult choice. I stuck around for a while hoping I could make things better, but finally got to the point where I was just miserable and quit. I ended up having to sell my home and move out of state to work.
Now I am back in a situation in a new city where I am being asked to sing a non-compete in order to get my next promotion. I am really interested in this job, but there are also some red flags that make me hesitate. The non compete here would never expire. So if I ever quit or get fired, I am blocked from cooking in this area for many months. That is a big financial penalty considering that moving is expensive and breaking a lease, even more so.
I have been wrestling with this decision for weeks and just upset that it is happening again. Ugh.
 
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Joined Sep 26, 2017
So weird. What kind of places ask you to sign such agreement?

At cities I've been, the amount of movement the chefs and sous chefs made could make you dizzy.

One day he's the chef at this restaurant, the next day he's the chef at another restaurant.
 
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Joined Aug 26, 2018
During my last job search, most of the places I interviewed with did this in some way. It is probably more in the case where a chef starts to be known by his/her name as much as the restaurant name. It wouldn't apply to the sous chefs, but would to the exec chef and such.
 
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Joined Apr 11, 2018
I have almost accepted that these are pretty much standard in certain parts of the industry, but that doesn't make it easier to swallow.
At a previous job I had to sign a 3-year non compete once my salary went over a certain point. Even though I stuck with the company for several years, once things started going bad I was faced with a really difficult choice. I stuck around for a while hoping I could make things better, but finally got to the point where I was just miserable and quit. I ended up having to sell my home and move out of state to work.
Now I am back in a situation in a new city where I am being asked to sing a non-compete in order to get my next promotion. I am really interested in this job, but there are also some red flags that make me hesitate. The non compete here would never expire. So if I ever quit or get fired, I am blocked from cooking in this area for many months. That is a big financial penalty considering that moving is expensive and breaking a lease, even more so.
I have been wrestling with this decision for weeks and just upset that it is happening again. Ugh.

I suggest you check you local laws. Depending on where you are, non competes may be unenforceable or are only enforceable to a limited degree, regardless of your signature on it.
 
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Joined Aug 26, 2018
kronin323 - that is good advice and I did hire an employment lawyer when I was looking to leave my last job. He said that my previous contract was overly broad and I had a good chance of it not being held up in court. But that still meant I would have had to go to court and at over $100/hr for the lawyer I wasn't willing to do that. Plus he said that if I took another job in that area, my previous employer would likely send a legal letter to my new employer stating I was under contract and my employment was in violation of that. Yikes! Here is an interesting article on a chef in NYC that was banned from working there.https://www.eater.com/2017/10/13/16459044/non-competes-chefs-how-do-they-work
 
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Joined Dec 2, 2017
Might a suggest that you have an Attorney look it over and suggest amendments to the contract. I made changes to mine that the owners felt were reasonable. A legal document works both ways.
 

Cdp

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Joined Aug 31, 2017
chefs are mecenaries i was once told you take care of them they will fight your wars battle the demons and oddly cause you headaches but in the end,
they are loyal to those who stand beside them,

i would put it back on them personally, and say thats serious childish mindset your in and say if you want it go with that make it 200 yard berth of the area
 
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Joined Apr 11, 2018
kronin323 - that is good advice and I did hire an employment lawyer when I was looking to leave my last job. He said that my previous contract was overly broad and I had a good chance of it not being held up in court. But that still meant I would have had to go to court and at over $100/hr for the lawyer I wasn't willing to do that. Plus he said that if I took another job in that area, my previous employer would likely send a legal letter to my new employer stating I was under contract and my employment was in violation of that. Yikes! Here is an interesting article on a chef in NYC that was banned from working there.https://www.eater.com/2017/10/13/16459044/non-competes-chefs-how-do-they-work

That's true, fighting it in court costs money. More than moving and breaking a lease? I guess it depends on how long it draws out. One difference, though, is it costs the employer money, too.

That was an interesting article, thanks. But one thing that stuck out to me was how they kept pointing out how rare the case was but then later spun it into a red flag that everybody should worry about its likelihood that it could happen to them. Strikes me as a bit incongruous.
 
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Joined Aug 26, 2018
Good points and I will probably try to make a counter offer to amend it and possibly consult with a lawyer.
 
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Joined Oct 31, 2012
If you have any plans at all to agree to anything with this group, consult a lawyer and let him/her read the contract. I can understand a clause like the article stated, below 114th St, no Italian for a year, or something like that. But to say I can't work? That would have to include one enormous severance package, also written in to the contract.
And what if the decision to leave isn't mine? Do I still have to honor the no compete and under what circumstances?
The best part of the article was the suggestion to treat the deal like getting married. Get to know who you're dealing with deeply before agreeing to anything under contract. Otherwise you remain a free agent.

This situation also makes me wonder how Ramsey, Ducasse and others have the contracts set up with their name on multiple restaurants. Clearly they aren't actually running every restaurant every day. But the chef who is running the place gets no public recognition.
In this case, the article expressed the concern that the money men are promoting a place based on a chef's reputation but the chef isn't an owner, just under contract. It's kind of the same situation as Ducasse, Ramsey etc. but the opposite.
I hope I explained that well because I don't get it.
 
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Joined Oct 10, 2005
When I sold my business, there was a no compete clause for me to open or manage a similar business. But that was for a 3 km( 1 1/2mile) radius, and only for 5 years. This, I felt was fair and fairly standard as far as businesses go.

But as an employee? You gotta move out of the city when the owner or Chef decides they don’t like your new haircut and they turf you?

Don’t sign this crap. If and when they want to hire you, that no-compete clause has got to be crossed out. If they insist, either they are going to be showing you the top secret of making gold out of coffee grounds and potato peels, or they aren’t worth working for.
 
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Joined Feb 24, 2015
Re-negotiate
I had one employer a few years back who tried this NC-clause thing
I asked him straight out - so that means if I don't work for you I don't work for anyone on this city? Sounded too much like a bad wiseguys movie
They insisted on keeping the ND-clause in the contract however - I countered and basically gave them the following option:

ND clause is in force for 1 year after the termination of my employment
Monthly salary was XY
So - XY x 12 = (let's just say) AB
AB is what needs to be paid as severance should the company insist on enforcing the ND

They actually ended up accepting it - when I left, the owner himself ripped up the ND clause in order not to pay AB amount to me
 
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Joined Dec 2, 2017
chefs are mecenaries i was once told you take care of them they will fight your wars battle the demons and oddly cause you headaches but in the end,
they are loyal to those who stand beside them,

i would put it back on them personally, and say thats serious childish mindset your in and say if you want it go with that make it 200 yard berth of the area
LOL...Are you sure about Mercenaries????? I always felt that Front of House was more like that. Self centered, no deep loyalty to each other, and not willing to go past their time for their pay. I tell my crew that they are more like Pirates. Loyal to the captain, work long hours for little pay, betray the Our Code..... walk the plank.
 
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Joined Sep 26, 2017
Interesting article. Made me wonder what was wrong with the chef.

One of my best working experience was when I was an opening chef at a restaurant and the opening got delayed by almost a year. I got to play around in the kitchen experimenting and tweaking stuff to my heart's content with zero stress. I was really loving it.

We did went through a lot of impatient waitstaff though, which is understandable because they didn't get paid like I did.
 
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Joined Aug 26, 2018
For those suggesting to just walk away from the offer - have you been in this situation? It may seem like an easy solution, but when you start making over a certain salary, these become more common. I don't like it, but have heard enough from recruiters and friends in the industry to understand that walking away could mean a $15K pay cut. Now, $15K isn't enough to cover living expenses for the no compete period, but it is enough to make a person try to find a better option. I do like iridium12's approach, nice move. :)
 
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Joined Sep 26, 2017
heard enough from recruiters and friends in the industry to understand that walking away could mean a $15K pay cut.

Why the 15K pay cut?

Once you reach a certain level of salary, you usually also have enough skills and experience to command the same level of salary anywhere you go, no?
 

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