Question to the owners

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Okay guys! I guess this is aimed more at owners or such but please feel free to give your input. The owner just decided that my staff can no longer come to me for any inquiries for pay grade. This means if anyone is unhappy or feeling unappreciated they cannot come to me for a solution. They have to go directly to the owner and he will proceed as he sees fit. My question is, how is this a good idea? I am the executive chef of a very new restaurant( 2 years old). I am also the third chef and my sues is the 3rd as well. That is 6 different managers to have an impact in two short years. I am all for learning and trying new things but I think the owner is undermining my station by not allowing my staff to let me address their problems. I would really love to understand what is going on in his head. Any thoughts?
 
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Chef....As I read your paragraph, I see red flags everywhere.

So you're saying that in 2 short years this place has had 3 Chefs and 3 Sous Chefs?

Doesn't that make you think "HHHHMMMMMM?"

While I agree with YOU, it would seem as though the owner has other agendas. Tread lightly here....
 
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I'm an owner and to be honest money, while extremely important, is usually way down on the list of things that the crew is unhappy with.

They can still come to you with any other issues and if they come to you about wages then redirect them to the owner. Realistically speaking $.50 or a buck an hour isn't going to make anyone more satisfied in their job, especially if they have to ask for it.

Also, Chefross has a very good point. That much turnover is a massive red flag.
 

pete

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I agree, a lot of red flags here, but to address your point directly.  I can see the owner's point of view, especially if the previous chefs thought the solution to every employee issue was just to throw money at them.  1.  That often isn't the real issue of the discontent.  There are often more serious underlying problems and those won't be solved by small raises. 2. Suddenly, a well crafted payroll is out of control and can be the downfall of the restaurant if they can't make their payroll.  So I understand the owner wanting to get a handle on his payroll, because ultimately it is his money.  Maybe, in time, after you have proven yourself, he will loosen up on the reins and allow to make those decisions, or, at least, be part of those decisions.  At least, I would hope so.
 
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A real world scenario that I have seen happen, more than once, that might help shed some light. Chef knows he is leaving. One of his final offical acts is to give everyone in the kitchen a raise... What a great guy chef was!!!
 
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My labor costs were consistently 3-5% below my target range. I guess that is also why it is frustrating. If I had out of control numbers I would understand. Cheflayne you might be correct and he is afraid I am going to quit.
 
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ChefJess606, I don't think the owner is worried about you leaving. I think it's about the owner keeping the loyalty of the employees in his corner. If the Chef has all the tools to get the loyalty of all the kitchen employees then what would happen if he canned you. Im many kitchens a good chef will take his crew with him. The kitchen employees don't have a lot of loyalty to the owner. In most cases the owner is a PITA, just another person to fire their butts. As a owner, I would never give to much control "POWER" to anyone in my restaurant..........Good luck.......ChefBillyB
 
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My labor costs were consistently 3-5% below my target range. I guess that is also why it is frustrating. If I had out of control numbers I would understand. Cheflayne you might be correct and he is afraid I am going to quit.
I don't think he is afraid that you are going to quit, but it behooves a smart owner to watch his bottom liine. In order to succeed in business you have to be able to delegate and trust; but no one is going to watch your money as carefully  and understand things from your point of view as much as you.

I have seen a chef who got in a snit with an owner. He ordered three times the amonut of proteins and vegetables. Gave everyone in the kitchen healthy raises. Then he walked out the door snickering.

The cost of the proteins and vegetables hurt, but was a one time hit. The payroll hit was an ongoing hit.

The New England Patriots are the super bowl champs. Does coach Belichick decide the players salaries?

Look south a little bit, Washington DC. We elect senators and members of congress. When in office, they then vote on their salaries and benefits. Is this a sound business model?

The joint chiefs of staff of the armed forces might make budget recommendations on the level of defense spending for the national budget, but they don't set the budget. This is a sound idea. :~)
 
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Actually, Coach Belichick does decide player's salaries- he's one of the few coaches that has exclusive player personnel authority.  Still, I get the point you're trying to make.
 
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Thanks for the feedback! I guess I meant it when I said I was trying to understand what is going on in his head. I am by all standards a newbie in this industry. I personally disagree with the owner on most subjects. For example, the only reason to be in this industry is money. And the only reason to have food is to sell beer. I am beyond frustrated but I refuse to give up. I am where I am because I love what I do. To create amazing food. However, I don't care how much I make doing it. I am however excellent at numbers and the general paperwork involved with running a kitchen. That includes the daily labor and food costs.
 

pete

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. I personally disagree with the owner on most subjects. For example, the only reason to be in this industry is money. And the only reason to have food is to sell beer.
If the only reason to be in the restaurant business is money then the owners are in the wrong business!!!  There's not a lot of profit to be made by most restaurants.  Sure, if run well they should make a tidy little profit, but very few people get rich off of one restaurant, but I do see their point somewhat and often restaurants do need that "money" person to bring the others, with loftier goals, back into line, because, ultimately it is a business and when you get down to it the sole purpose of being in business is to make money.  I don't care how good the food is, how awesome the service is, at the end of the day, if you aren't profitable you will be closing your doors.

To the owners second point; is this a restaurant with a bar or is more of a bar that happens to also offer food?  Depending on what the owners wants out of the place their philosophy regarding the role that food plays in their establishment is a perfectly legitimate stance.  It's all about their overall vision of the place.  The problem comes when they don't have a coherent vision, but if they are united in how they see the role of the food in their place, it is your responsibility to make sure that you help make that vision a reality, whether  you agree with it or not.
 
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Pete....you're so right about this. Many many places make more money off the beer, wine, and alcohol that the food is a second option only.

I see this all the time in the mind set of owners.

A good example where I live is the casinos here. They make money on the booze while people gamble. Some places even give away drinks for free while you're on the gaming floor.

As the years go by the reservation believed they SHOULD offer some kind of food for the guests while they are gaming. They create a small deli, or a buffet with really poor quality food. The people don't care, as long as it's food. They pile their plates with the snow crab legs or prime rib and they are happy, the house loses money, and the reservation population still lives in squalor.

I don't understand why the food is not given second thought
 
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I guess I meant it when I said I was trying to understand what is going on in his head...I personally disagree with the owner on most subjects.
Welcome to the club. I can't begin to tell you how many times I have worked for owners, where I could have reduced the bottom line while improving quality, but was handcuffed by owners who couldn't relinquish control due to their frail egos which told them their way was the best way. It is called control issues and many people (especially owners and that is the reason they became owners) have them.

A wise person hires an expert and then listens to the expert. A wise leader delegates. Wise is not required in order to be an owner. Some never will be.
 
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