Staff that Steal

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by pembroke, Nov 17, 2009.

  1. pembroke

    pembroke

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    We keep champagne and white wine in our downstairs walk-in fridge (when we have big dinners). Last summer I caught a member of staff walking into the changing/locker room (in the basement and down the hall from the walk-in) with a bottle of champagne. The staff claimed they found the bottle on the shelf with fruit and veg and was looking for the Butler who they wanted to return it to. The rest of the chefs and front-of-house team were busy with lunch service upstairs.
    What's the worse thing you've caught your staff doing?:mad:
     
  2. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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    Stealing alcohol is a sure bet wherever you go. Steaks, lobsters, even whole sub primals. One time I got a tip that there was going to be a meat raffle at the VFW and called the police. They got there but couldn't get anyone to speak up.
     
  3. duckfat

    duckfat

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    When I was still in the hotel business we had one unit that had a group of thives working together. The P&L's were totally put of whack. I had my entire tool box stolen from my office which was locked. Right before world cup soccer we had a reach in cooler emptied one night. As it turned out both the cooks and engineering were in on it.
     
  4. ed buchanan

    ed buchanan

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    Wine, liquor and beer should always be in a locked room or fridge, away from everyday kitchen staff movement. If you don't it deserves to be stolen, it's the nature of the business.
     
  5. pembroke

    pembroke

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    We have a large cellar that houses several thousand bottles of wine, it's unfortunate that when we have large dinners for 100+ we don't have a separate walk-in to store/chill the vast quantities of wine we use (reception drinks plus 4/5 courses each with separate wines and then dessert wine with port and fruit). Being over 660 years old we're not able to knock down walls and build new facilities. Security is important but we have little choice at times. Our silver however is housed in two bank vaults type safes within a separate silver room; some things are irreplaceable!
     
  6. ed buchanan

    ed buchanan

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    In the walk in you can put a wire rack cage with a lock that houses the liquor thus not stopping the free access by kitchen people to go into walk-in, yet they cant get liquor because it is locked in cage. Many places do this .
     
  7. fryguy

    fryguy

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    hey Pem, check this out, we had a chef here for 10 years who ran an outside catering operation. He would buy all his food through the club and reimburse the club for the food but if needed a few carrots here maybe some lemons, whatever it may be, he felt entitled to it because it would go against his food cost. not only that, but he would prep and cook most of the food here and have people on the clock, for the club, do work for his catering. Never paying for the gas or electric it took to produce the items. Well to make a long story short the managment put up with it because he was "So Good" and the members loved his food......crazy
     
  8. fryguy

    fryguy

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    good point i have worked a few places that had a meat cage....
     
  9. pembroke

    pembroke

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    Hi Fryguy,

    I would love a cage, used to have one at Sea Galley in Merchantile Village many years ago. Our walk-in is so small that we have to order max 2 days food at a time or we run out of cold storage. We stack the boxes of wine in the fridge on the morning of a function and hope they chill in time ( we also have a salad bar cart and several bottle racks of our own label pre-filled water chilling at the same time.) The shelves are always full except just before and after Christmas when we close for two week vacy.

    Fortunately we don't normally have problems as we count the bottles in and out so we would notice any shortages.
    Thinking about sea galley I seem to remember a dish washer sticking frozen lobster tails in the bins at night; the head bartender would let them out at night to empty the bins and one night he placed his hand on the top bin bag; freezing cold-looked in bag found lobster, guy fired....must have been back in the late 80's lol!
     
  10. leeniek

    leeniek

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    I worked at one place where we had an employee stealing money out of our purses and also this person was stealing food from the walk in. All of us but this one person was aware of the owner installing a camera in our staff room and she was caught red handed on tape and was fired on the spot, charged with theft and barred from ever setting foot in the mall as well because she even gave mall security a hard time. At the same place we caught an employee stealing out of the cash and out of the tip pool as well.. she actually was dumb enough to do it right in front of the owner and well.. she was given the same treatment that the other person was!
     
  11. foodpump

    foodpump

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    First, let me ask if it THE CHEF who stole a bottle of wine or just a cook. If it was the person in charge of the kitchen and he's caught with one lousy bottle of wine, it doesn't reflect very well on the upper mngmt.

    Dealing with a thief is worse than putting up with a thief--especially if the place is unionized. Try and prosecute a theif caught red-handed and you just might find yourself in a walk-out or strike....

    Bottle cages and meat cages are very common, and fairly easy to set up. Locks can be picked and cages manoevered to give up thier contents, make sure that you spend good money to do it right.

    Get clear garbage bags to line the bins for the kitchen, you should know the reason for this.....
     
  12. ras1187

    ras1187

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    Best story I have comes from a chain restaurant.

    For a while now, steaks had been missing. This had been going on for a few weeks now. The KM was driven absolutely insane from this. He watched every move that every cook made, and it was killing him because steaks were still missing despite his best efforts to keep an eye on his kitchen.

    The thief turned out to be a server. He would walk into the cooler and slide the steaks under his shirt (he was a pretty big guy, nobody noticed the extra baggage he was carrying). The way he got caught was just entertaining. After loading his shirt, he proceeded to leave the walk-in. As he opened the door, he literally ran face first into none other than the KM, the steaks dropping to the floor from the collision.

    The reaction on both their faces when this happened was simply priceless. The KM proceeded to yell just about every obscenity in existance before firing him.
     
  13. foodpump

    foodpump

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    Firstly, take your left hand and pat your right shoulder heartily, for if you had a Unionized workforce and you caught a theif, your life, (and most everyone eles's) would be misery.

    In many cases with "caught in the act" thefts here in Vancouver the crime goes un-punished and the employee still continues to work his/her job, albeit with greater animosity. And of course, a lawsuit or investigation by the Labour board in which the employer is always assumed guilty when any allegation is made on the employer, which translates into either illegal use of cameras, some form of human rights mis-doing, or something that the employer did wrongfully.


    Why do people steal?

    Opportunity firstly

    "They owe it to me" secondly. Percieved owed overtime, percieved favours gone un-rewarded.

    Drugs thirdly. No one can support a habit for years and years just by working, stealing and drug dealing usually are in the mix.

    And then you just have the hard-core thiefs who steal out of habit

    I never had to worry much about actual material theft, I run a fairly tight ship, but there's always theft in the form of showing up late, slacking off, and fraud--particularily with the various Gov't agencies--Labour baord, Worker's comp. and the the fraudulent claims.


    Still can't get over the use of "Chef". A cook's a cook, and when I hear that a "chef" stole I still think it's the head of the kitchen. Here in N.America everyone and his dog is a "chef" and I always ask the self-crowned "chef's":

    "What's the difference between a team captain, a player, and the head coach? They're all part of the same team, right?

    A chef is the head of the kitchen, or , if you like, the head coach. A Chef garde-manger is head of the garde-manger, not head of the kitchen. An "apprentice Chef" is an oxymoron, same as a salad chef, prep chef or "drop chef" (bloke who drops stuff down the deep fryer).
     
  14. rivver

    rivver

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    At my current location I have only had Walk-inn freezer theft. Three times since I been here the outside walk-inn freezer has been broken in. I suspect an inside job and that person only likes shrimp. I ordered a master case of U-10 Shrimp and put in teh freezer, next day all gone. Same thing happened again, not U-10, but still shrimp. Didn't touch the 60 pound box of snow crab, nor the master case of tenders lol
     
  15. just jim

    just jim

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    Oh, don't you just hate that?

    A thief with limited cooking ability.
     
  16. rivver

    rivver

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    Lol, yea 60 pounds of U-10's, that must of been a great BBQ. That put a dent in my food cost!
     
  17. billrchef

    billrchef

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    one place a friend operated, was closed on sundays. selected, alternateing staff would come in for weekly cleaning. the next morning the exec. chef came in and noticed the hinge pins to the liquor cooler were not in place correctly and some of the beverage bottles were missing. At the end of the monday shift the chef announced that everyone had done a great job and wanted to buy everyone an after shift drink, "what would you like?" The soux chef spoke up and asked for exactly the same stuff that was missing after he`d worked his "clean up sunday"......and was let go on the spot.
    I thought my friend (chef/owner) was very clever to find the theif this way.
     
  18. foodpump

    foodpump

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    One of my first jobs was washing dishes in a Greek place. Just before Christmas, the walk-in freezer broke down. The owner instructed me to put a few cases of fries in the stand-up freezer and all of the meats (prime rib, bacon, strip loins) in his car, then told me to get in. We went to his home, where I loaded the meat in cheap-o steel garden shed. Mind you, this was S'toon, Saskatchewan, and it has a habit of getting kind of chilly in the winter.

    Every day the owner would get out the following day's meat supply from his shed, toss it in his car and bring it to work. The system worked so well, he "postponed" fixing the freezer until spring.

    I remember one particular morning coming in to work, the owner furious and getting interrogated:

    YOU!!!, You-a know where I live, right?

    "Uhh.... not really, somewhere around Taylor?"

    "No, no, but you know the colour of my house, right?

    "Uhh, Yellow? Couldn't really tell, it was pretty dark"

    The owner stormed off, trying to find someone else to interrogate.

    He got the freezer fixed next day.......
     
  19. adaml

    adaml

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    I've never seen kitchen booze locked up. Everything but the cheap liquor gets locked up front of house, but there's always red and white wine on hand in the walk in, and bottles of brandy and port next to the sauce station.
     
  20. m.d.hughes

    m.d.hughes

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    To expand the conversation a little how does everybody feel about security cameras? I've worked with them for the last 4-5 years now and I hardly notice them anymore, though it is nice to call one of the restaurants and tell the cook that if he is going to lean on the counter could he at least rock back and forth to polish it a little...... the idiots still try to steal but it does make proving it a lot easier