Is it time to go?

4
0
Joined Jul 23, 2020
I have worked for this business for a little over 4 years, I started as a Chef de Partie in their main (franchise name family style) restaurant for a year then became Head Chef of their new place next door serving street food tapas style dishes, we’ve developed a really good rep and even earned an Emerging Business award in our small town, but the problem is the other place is always their main focus, the bread winner, and because we are a smaller place catering to a more certain taste we will never be as busy etc and we are always in their shadow to the owners, they’ve basically never worked in with us or put in the effort to build us up and when we have average weeks it’s always made to feel like it’s our fault. It’s like have a small boutique store next to a huge franchise shop we just can’t complete with share numbers and figures. I’m proud of what we do and love my small team who are super passionate and motivated and none of us we leave each other in the weeds (unlike next doors team, nowhere near as passionate) and I have had almost total freedom of creativity, but I’m drained, I’m tired of putting my heart and soul into a business that just isn’t the owners priority and if I try bring up any concerns or don’t just nod and agree they treat me like I’m just being difficult for the sake of it. Iv been offered a job back at my previous job that I was Sous Chef at (number 1 in town for context) as what would basically be third in charge I could see myself ending up sharing the load with the head and the current sous chef. Would this be a bad move? Part of me doesn’t want to give up on this place that I have basically created but I also know I’m going to face the same issues over and over if I don’t. The owners at my current place also aren’t chefs so they are just a bit clueless and just about money and getting wage cost as low as possible to the point where I’m not allowed enough time to do everything. The owners at my original job are a husband and wife chef and FOH team who are way more hands on and not stressing their team about that stuff. Do I take a drop on position or do I stick it out in the hopes we can break out of our rut (not dead but also not as busy partly due to COVID and no tourists I think) and the owners will change
 
173
38
Joined Jan 17, 2015
Nobody can answer this question but you. You want to leave a Head Chef position to be Junior Sous? It doesn't make sense to me.......Ours is often a thankless job, they(owners) are not stroking your ego I am not surprised they have a lot on their plate. You say you have total freedom to make food you want. that is GREAT, lot of cooks would kill to be in that position! I always tried to take pride and pleasure in work I did and that made it easier, maybe try the same . As I said before it does not make sense to ME, but YOU might be different. Why don't you try and be better than the place next door? Make that your goal, get to them that way. Good luck
 
76
28
Joined Nov 9, 2020
If you're the CdC at your current shop then it is up to you to make it everything you can... The owners are there to own the property, but you are there to build the brand. Sometimes it means making hard choices, sometimes it means 18 hour days, 6 days a week, and half days on Tuesdays, but the bottom line is if it's YOUR shop then you need to take the bull by the horns and drive it.

A lot of the time the owners don't know what it takes to run a shop, they're just there for the easy money... if you're making solid business-centered decisions on how to run the business, then you need to sit down with them, not as subservient labor to their grand landlord/boss loftiness, but as a partner in BOTH of your businesses. As CdC / Exec in your current shop, you need to become the force to be reckoned with, know HOW to cut costs, build revenue, and make your shop shine.

I can't tell you if you should step up in your current spot or backtrack to the other job, that's going to be up to you. There is a difference between a 2 star fine dinner house and a chain restaurant, and maybe the owners don't get that, but the bottom line is if YOU can turn your shop around, your owners around, or not. If you can't, and sometimes the owners juat have unrealistic expectations, then yes, move on. But it's also up to you to look at ALL the angles and see if you can do somethings different and pull it out of the fire.

That's part of the fun and challenge of being the top dog. But you also need to assess yourself honestly - some people are awesome in the kitchen, but aren't cut out to be the penny pinching managers that being CdC sometimes requires. So it's up to you. Good luck, whatever you end up doing.
 
4
0
Joined Jul 23, 2020
Nobody can answer this question but you. You want to leave a Head Chef position to be Junior Sous? It doesn't make sense to me.......Ours is often a thankless job, they(owners) are not stroking your ego I am not surprised they have a lot on their plate. You say you have total freedom to make food you want. that is GREAT, lot of cooks would kill to be in that position! I always tried to take pride and pleasure in work I did and that made it easier, maybe try the same . As I said before it does not make sense to ME, but YOU might be different. Why don't you try and be better than the place next door? Make that your goal, get to them that way. Good luck
We are better food wise then the place next door (I also get asked to redevelop their menus at times because their Head Chef is not that creative he is just good at coming in day in day out doing the same old pumping out huge volumes) but they are not putting the effort into the rest of the place, advertising, events etc things we need to pull people in, that all goes next door. And we haven’t had a FOH manager for 6 months which hasn’t helped. I am always working about 10 hours a week on average for free just because I cannot run the kitchen to the high standard of food and cleanliness I expect (and they have come to expect) within their tight wage cost restrictions. So while I say I have creative freedom I also have a lot of other restrictions and their expectations of what I can achieve are becoming hugely unrealistic. I only have me and two other chefs, no sous so there is just never enough time in the day to get on top of things no matter how hard we work currently.
 
4
0
Joined Jul 23, 2020
If you're the CdC at your current shop then it is up to you to make it everything you can... The owners are there to own the property, but you are there to build the brand. Sometimes it means making hard choices, sometimes it means 18 hour days, 6 days a week, and half days on Tuesdays, but the bottom line is if it's YOUR shop then you need to take the bull by the horns and drive it.

A lot of the time the owners don't know what it takes to run a shop, they're just there for the easy money... if you're making solid business-centered decisions on how to run the business, then you need to sit down with them, not as subservient labor to their grand landlord/boss loftiness, but as a partner in BOTH of your businesses. As CdC / Exec in your current shop, you need to become the force to be reckoned with, know HOW to cut costs, build revenue, and make your shop shine.

I can't tell you if you should step up in your current spot or backtrack to the other job, that's going to be up to you. There is a difference between a 2 star fine dinner house and a chain restaurant, and maybe the owners don't get that, but the bottom line is if YOU can turn your shop around, your owners around, or not. If you can't, and sometimes the owners juat have unrealistic expectations, then yes, move on. But it's also up to you to look at ALL the angles and see if you can do somethings different and pull it out of the fire.

That's part of the fun and challenge of being the top dog. But you also need to assess yourself honestly - some people are awesome in the kitchen, but aren't cut out to be the penny pinching managers that being CdC sometimes requires. So it's up to you. Good luck, whatever you end up doing.
I am unsure what CDC stands for sorry, I am from New Zealand and that is not a term I have come across, but if it means something like executive I am not that just head chef and I don’t have shares in the business or anything. I am treated like an executive to an extent though being expected to control and report on wage cost and food cost etc, menu development and planning, advertising etc but I am also hands on in the kitchen every day with only two below me no sous etc so stretched pretty thin. I am doing my part as best I can but I guess my problem is they are neglecting to do their part and run the FOH part of it and the behind the scenes none kitchen stuff which has meant no matter how well the kitchen is run we are always let down by that and then they wonder why we are not crazy busy etc but won’t do anything to change it, I don’t have any control over that part of it yet get made to feel like it is all our fault
 
76
28
Joined Nov 9, 2020
Chef d'Cuisine... Sorry about that. Top dog in the restaurant heiraarchy like Exec or Lead Cook or whatever the top back of house spot is. ;-) (Like FoH - Front of House)

If it were me I'd be discussing the issues with them as a team member and partner. To me, the owner or Maiter d' were the ones doing the advertising, the back of house were just that - our extent of advertising was doing our daily menu, etc. The rest of it - sure. But it's up to the Front of house to get people IN the door so you can dazzle them with brilliance. At least anywhere I've worked. Back of house makes the food, front of house makes the customers.

You may be in a no win situation, where the best course of action is to change shops... but I can't make that decision, only you can. But either way, you need to communicate with the owners, tell them your concerns, and work toward a solution - as the exec chef (which is what you're doing) you and they should have open lines of commmunication - and those meetings should be telling you what direction you need to go. And if they're making poor choices as FoH managers and Owners, then you may be in a no win situation with them.
 
2,144
627
Joined Oct 31, 2012
I'll jump in at the risk of being a day late and dollar short so to speak.
Without knowing the menus at either place, I'll still venture some advice.
In reading this thread, the one area you don't focus on in particular as a problem area is the food and the production.
But I think you might want to make sure your creativity isn't outrunning your practicality.
There are three of you and only so many hour$ in a day. You have certain hours to prep, hours for service and hours to clean. Each of those times needs the inherent activities streamlined so you can all get in, get the job done and leave.
Take a close look at the menu and what it takes to produce each item.
How many items are there on the entire menu? Are there too many items? What are the top sellers? Do you run sales reports from the POS? How many sales come from the least selling items?
Which menu items take the most effort to prepare and why? Are they the same items that are top sellers?
How many ingredient$ do you have in inventory to produce all menu items? How many of those ingredients are cro$$ utilized? How many high cost ingredients are purchased for just one dish? Does that dish sell well?
As a business owner, you need to be brutally honest with yourself about all this. (The owners are treating you like an owner, you just don't have final say. I've been there, done that. It's a great opportunity to see things differently.)
Too many items that take too many man hours to prepare, require too many varied or special ingredients, have long prep times, low profit margins and don't sell well are a major drag. So a good overall menu fits the ability of the staff to produce quickly, sells well and is profitable. Any thing else has to go.
And also from experience I can say that when you have a really creative menu that sells well, advertising isn't so necessary. Word of mouth will do it for you, especially now with social media.

One other thing. Don't focus on the place next door for any reason. They do family style, you do tapas. You have a different restaurant. Regardless of what the owners say or do next door, you need to think of your place as a separate business. If you actually owned the place, they would not be your competition. So don't think of them that way now. As a separate business, Are you open the right hours for the clientele and what you serve? Is the place big enough for a FOH manager or can you set things up so the FOH staff have clear expectations and can run things with minimal input from you? Thinking of you and this place as a separate business now, are there any changes you would make? Write them down. Implement what you can. When the time comes and you have really thought things through in this way, come up with a rational sales pitch to the owners about what you've been thinking. Approached in this way that shows you thinking more like an owner they might surprise you by agreeing to many of your ideas.
 
4
0
Joined Jul 23, 2020
I'll jump in at the risk of being a day late and dollar short so to speak.
Without knowing the menus at either place, I'll still venture some advice.
In reading this thread, the one area you don't focus on in particular as a problem area is the food and the production.
But I think you might want to make sure your creativity isn't outrunning your practicality.
There are three of you and only so many hour$ in a day. You have certain hours to prep, hours for service and hours to clean. Each of those times needs the inherent activities streamlined so you can all get in, get the job done and leave.
Take a close look at the menu and what it takes to produce each item.
How many items are there on the entire menu? Are there too many items? What are the top sellers? Do you run sales reports from the POS? How many sales come from the least selling items?
Which menu items take the most effort to prepare and why? Are they the same items that are top sellers?
How many ingredient$ do you have in inventory to produce all menu items? How many of those ingredients are cro$$ utilized? How many high cost ingredients are purchased for just one dish? Does that dish sell well?
As a business owner, you need to be brutally honest with yourself about all this. (The owners are treating you like an owner, you just don't have final say. I've been there, done that. It's a great opportunity to see things differently.)
Too many items that take too many man hours to prepare, require too many varied or special ingredients, have long prep times, low profit margins and don't sell well are a major drag. So a good overall menu fits the ability of the staff to produce quickly, sells well and is profitable. Any thing else has to go.
And also from experience I can say that when you have a really creative menu that sells well, advertising isn't so necessary. Word of mouth will do it for you, especially now with social media.

One other thing. Don't focus on the place next door for any reason. They do family style, you do tapas. You have a different restaurant. Regardless of what the owners say or do next door, you need to think of your place as a separate business. If you actually owned the place, they would not be your competition. So don't think of them that way now. As a separate business, Are you open the right hours for the clientele and what you serve? Is the place big enough for a FOH manager or can you set things up so the FOH staff have clear expectations and can run things with minimal input from you? Thinking of you and this place as a separate business now, are there any changes you would make? Write them down. Implement what you can. When the time comes and you have really thought things through in this way, come up with a rational sales pitch to the owners about what you've been thinking. Approached in this way that shows you thinking more like an owner they might surprise you by agreeing to many of your ideas.
Thanks for your response, you make some valid points that I would agree with. I’m am already trying to hit all of those marks as best I can while still fitting their concept brief and feel I have it as streamlined as I can with a small menu that isn’t super complicated and all sells consistently. I try not to focus on next door but we sit down combined weekly to look at the figures wages etc and so of course we always look shit next to them and the fact that we send out a better product and overall have happier customers is overlooked. All over summer the owners made a point of how next door was the bread winner so that was the focus (they also have a large courtyard outdoor area which we do not) and all the events etc went there so we never stood a chance a small town of unadventurous people.The problem is the owners not helping to evolve and promote the business to get people in the door to begin with. Over the road (literally my old job is!) while it my be a step down it is with chefs and owners that are far more passionate about creating the best food and experience possible and less about data and figures and money.
 
Top Bottom