Jumped ship

Joined Apr 19, 2001
Jumped ship, threw in the towel - whatever. I've had it. This restaurant is so disorganized, I don't even want to talk about it. Told them I wasn't going to be responsible for the poor decisions being made, and the lack of management for the FOH (yesterday, I noticed the mayo and all dressings had been sitting out on a countertop for lunch service, without any ice - for 2 1/2 hours. The mayo had actually crusted over on top.

They're now down to an exec chef (of one week - seems like a good guy, willing to work with me, but most of his experience was in catering, not short order line work), two good line cooks, and two 20 year old Emeril wannabee line cooks who are kitchen slobs. And they're only open for lunch and breakfast! What in the world are they going to do when they open for dinner?

I feel absolutely okay with this; there are a couple of avenues opening up, and I'm willing to see what the universe has in store for me.
Joined Oct 28, 1999
"When one Door closes, another opens"

Your sanity and the way you feel about yourself are the most important facets of your professional life. Salvage them and you salvage your willingness to return to the field.

Best of luck!
Joined Apr 19, 2001
Thanks, Jim,

Am waiting to see which door is going to open!

I came through this with the confidence that my skill level and knowledge are right where I want them to be. I just got disgusted at the lack of management (dishwashers not knowing their duties), the 'too many chiefs' syndrome, and the unwillingness to listen to basic kitchen and health concern procedures, or to spend the money to rectify those concerns.

The complaints I've heard so far from the members of the community make me wonder how long it's going to be before the restaurant tanks; very dissatisfied customers already, with good reason. It got to the point where I quit making excuses when someone would make a comment to me.

They spent so much money on the 'trimmings'; it's a beautiful building; beautiful interior; beautiful landscaping; they've spent almost a million for the frou-frou. And who knows how much on the ice cream equipment - shock box, extra freezer, ice cream maker; and they're using a total crap product to make the ice cream; premade mixes, full of things I don't even want to think about. And now that they have no money left because of poor planning, they won't give the kitchen the support it needs to get up and running.

Their loss, not mine!
Joined May 26, 2001
"When you're up to your a** in alligators, it's hard to remember that your job is to clear the swamp."

It's better you got out before they ate you alive!!
Joined Sep 21, 2001
Don't forget that you learn as much from a bad restaurant as you do a good one. Its' very nice that you learned what NOT to do especially since it is someone elses' money.
For now its stopped. But it never ends.
Joined Mar 9, 2000
people shouldn't go into the restaurant business unless they know what they are doing.

there should be a test, like becoming a contractor, before you are allowed to even get a permit to open a restaurant.

there are too many people with money who have always dreamed of owning a little place that shouldn't own one until they know what they are doing.

sorry for the ranting, i consulted at a place that i resigned from just before it, under strange circumstances, got torched.:eek: :rolleyes: :(
Joined Apr 19, 2001
Thanks for all the support, everyone; it'll be interesting to watch the place from the outside to see the consequences.

Chefjohnpaul, interesting about the 'torching'. The little ice cream place that was there before these folks renovated it was destroyed by fire.

Hubbie thinks I should just make an anonymous call to the health dept.!, but I think that would be rather obvious. I'm a firm believer in what goes around, comes around. It's only a matter of time before someone gets sick from something they ate there.
Joined Nov 29, 2001
I'm a firm believer in following your gut instinct. No reason to hitch your wagon to a lame horse. Hubby made a few boo-boos in judgement last winter that cost us financially. It's best to go with your intuition. Good luck and I'm sure someone with a reputable establishment will snag you up soon :).
Joined Nov 20, 2000
Everything always gets better, even in NJ:D. Best of luck with finding new endeavors. We're all behind you. Life is too short to have to change everyones diapers if you get my drift.:rolleyes:
Joined Aug 9, 2000
I agree with chefjohnpaul after all if all of us need to have credentials why not owners?. I think they should have to have a culinary degree and a business degree.


Staff member
Joined Mar 29, 2002
I don't think credentials would mean anything as to ownership. The critical flaw is the owners think they know the answers. A good businessman would recognize the limits of their expertise and get good counsel. And note that credentials no more guarantee good counsel or business sense than they do a great cook.

A fool and his money are soon parted is very true here. These owners are foolish. Their million dollar loss.

What Marm might consider is seeking a business loan and a group of confederates to purchase the place when it fails and take it over properly with a new name and business plan.

Joined Aug 9, 2000
I was being kinda sarcastic before lol. I have dealt with a lotta fools like that I just feel like a lot is expected of us as chefs as far as knowledge and credentials go but any fool who can get a bank loan or who's daddy has money thinks they are a restantuer or instant businessperson unfortunately it is not so.
Joined Jul 28, 2001
Well, you gave it your best shot. That is all you can do, right?
Just don't pass it off, learn from it. It all means something! Just got to figure it out.
I can't take part in the owner bashing thing. I personally don't think that someone who risks everything does something malicious to hurt themselves. It's a learning thing for all. I feel that letting all kinds of people and personalities go into business, with or without training , is the best thing about the country we live in. You just have to find the enviornment that makes you happy.
You will find that place.
I like Phils attitude, if you keep an eye out and this place turns down, give a hollar, I'll invest a few bucks in ya.
Joined Apr 19, 2001
Gee, Panini and Phil,

Maybe we're on to something here! A real 'ChefTalk Cafe'!! Seriously, thanks so much for the words of support.

I don't want to sound like I'm owner bashing, and I do agree, it takes all kinds. I just wish they were all smart kinds. I really do feel for this guy; nice guy, honest intentions, life's dream, etc., etc. His major drawback was that, as he told me SO many times, 'I've been in business for 35 years'. Well, it was a florist business - NOT a food business!

He never got a good consultant, and that's why he got ripped off on the 6-basket fryer fiasco and the line setup; never had a menu consultant for development; and apparently never had a financial consultant to advise him on how much he had to sock away for startup labor, food, etc. costs. So now his **** are in a vise and he's panicking at the $$$$ flying out the door, with very little return.

I feel sorry for him - to some extent - if he had just listened to the food people he hired instead of making executive decisions based on his money panic, and his self-proclaimed knowledge of business, the opening would have run more smoothly, with systems already in place for the employees to follow. As it stands now, no one knows their responsibilities, there are no clearcut guidelines for such commonplace things such as where to put dirty aprons and towels. I'm sure y'all can see the chaos that has reigned supreme!

He learned the hard way with the 'toaster fiasco' the first week we were open for breakfast. Kept telling me we didn't need the conveyer toaster; he brought their little K-mart 2 slice toaster in from home, as well as the GM's 2 slicer. The toast and bagels didn't fit in the slots, the bagels didn't fit, the toast took 3-4 minutes to toast, and when we had to use both at once (plugged into the same 'surge protector/extension cord', they tripped the circuit. He got so many complaints that first week, he finally bought the *** conveyer, but by that time he lost some customers.

Ah, well, water over the dam now; not my problem anymore. I HAVE learned from this; my learning curve was SO steep, and I loved it! As I said, I'm so curious to see how it's going to do, once the customers get over their awe at the physical plant (it really is beautiful) and see the menu is nothing over the top, and continue getting bad service because he won't support the kitchen staff.

Off topic - Jeff, are you going to make it to the FFS? I'd love to meet you and give you a hug!
Joined Jul 28, 2001
It's not looking good. I can't believe I forgot we will be away that Mon. thru Fri.before. Taking Nick to Disney. I checked and found a pretty good deal on flight and room but it gets me out of here Fri nite and back Sun, nite. If I go I'll be leaving getting the shop back open to Sophie and that's a pretty big chore. We're also shutting down the other kit. for the week. I will deside this week. I would really like to go when I have more time to visit old and new friends and do some dining.
Joined Apr 19, 2001
Does sound rather tight, Jeff - sorry you can't make it. I so understand responsibilities coming first!
Joined Jul 31, 2000
Dear Marmalady,

Wonderful insights given here.

I just want to send you my best wishes for success in whatever you do....

I'm sure you'll rise to whatever occasion comes your way:)
Joined Apr 19, 2001
Thanks for the thought, Brad,

Life is opening a lot of doors for me right now; I have a couple of small catering jobs to do for the Spinal Cord Project at Rutgers coming up, and just answered an ad for a part-time private chef in a nearby town; good pay, good hours, we'll see.

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