the only way this could be successful is if it were a reality show.

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I really wish I'd started a blog at the beginning. I retired from crazy restaurant life a few years ago, managed a private school cafeteria, was like a little personal cafe, and my customers were under the age of 12. Loved it. Our accountant, and eventually friend at the school told me her husband was opening a local brewery with a couple other guys. He owns a construction company, the other a sucessful supply company (you see where I'm going with this). I'd listen to her stories and offer any advice I had. Long story short, our school closed, I tried another cafeteria but it was govt run so..no. - so she offered me some hours at brewery, cleaning and prep and spying, in order to see why they're losing $$ . I saw many factors. Owners Not having any knowledge of restaurant operations left them vulnerable to posers and glib talkers. Flash forward, I'm now "km" of the place which is a loose inaccurate term. I'm actually expected to be everything BOH and then some. I only agreed because I didn't want to see them waste more money on yet another windbag and the staff supported my stepping up .One month later, it's become obvious what the issue is . I am #5 km in little over 2 years. Not a single cook remains since day one .I started the betting pool for my own longevity .I'm shooting for June. I'm sad for my friend. Hate to tell her it's her husband and the other rich frat boy owner who stand at the bar and drink beer while the kitchen falls apart (huge menu, understaffed, no training, small inefficient kitchen, huge dining room) is the reason for it's failure?
 
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A-yup. The only perk you have now is finding the "parachute out " figure, the dollar amount in accumulated loss that triggers the shutdown and general downfall of the business.

On the other hand, both the landlord and the used food equipment boys are unaware of the drool running down their chins, their deep, ragged breathing, and their twitching fingers; they just LOVE! new restauranteurs...
 
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So you should just get out and find somewhere else to work.
On the other hand...
"Hate to tell her it's her husband and the other rich frat boy owner who stand at the bar and drink beer while the kitchen falls apart (huge menu, understaffed, no training, small inefficient kitchen, huge dining room) is the reason for it's failure?"
I would tell her. In a blunt, honest conversation, preferably with both partners present. I would write down some notes, make it as clinical as possible, no derogatory name calling, nothing emotional. And with some solutions. Don't forget to point them in the right direction.
I am aware this is perhaps a personality quirk of mine but my friends know you don't ask my opinion if you don't actually want to hear it. In your situation, it's strictly business, nothing personal. They are running a business and need to know the facts. If they disregard what you tell them, so be it. You went from spy to KM so the partners aren't unaware of how you got involved.
You say they both run successful companies. They didn't get those from being timid and afraid or living in fantasy land. They just don't understand the business they are currently in. So you should be able to explain the facts of restaurant life and expect them to take it well. I'd be surprised if they don't but you're on your way out anyway.
 
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So you were hired to be the "KM" of this place but not expected to give them the information on why their business is failing? Why not just be honest with them and try to turn it around? Tell them what you need, how the operation could be (possibly) salvaged, etc.

What makes you different than any of the other KM's before you if you aren't willing to be the change the place needs?
 
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So you were hired to be the "KM" of this place but not expected to give them the information on why their business is failing? Why not just be honest with them and try to turn it around? Tell them what you need, how the operation could be (possibly) salvaged, etc.

What makes you different than any of the other KM's before you if you aren't willing to be the change the place needs?
They've heard it from every single one (it's a pattern I was made aware of early on) and though they basically let go of anyone who disagrees, the only advantage I have is I have experience in corporate openings as a trainer, and I'm treating this as such. I know how to set up stations efficiently and have cut ticket times tremendously, (they were comping whole tables, but barely at all now) eliminated a lot of waste. But I can do all that yet an owner will disgustedly point out that I forgot to unlock patio door or turn open sign on. I'm making progress but Its rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic I fear. I really just needed to vent. Also not one cook knew how to clean a fryer. I'm training them when learning, it's the wierdest thing ever.
 
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Just a thought, but, maybe they (the owners) don't want the business to work. Its a crappy thing, but, sometimes the terminally wealthy will start a business and keep it just barely alive for a number of reasons, tax advantages being one of them and cleaning money being another. Either way, you lose.

Here's a piece of friendly advice from someone you've never met......practice the fine art of detachment and detach yourself from this ticking time bomb. Ask yourself if your relationship with your friend is more important than trying to make this restaurant work. I'm sure it is. If that is the case, just hand in your notice and put your talent to work elsewhere. You owe nothing to the drunk fratboys. This is one of those odd situations that never ends well and ruins friendships.

Not to change the subject, but, I am drinking the most gorgeous 2015 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir right now! Dayum! Have I mentioned that I am loving my retirement? :)
 
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She's already told me she'd understand if I bailed, and apologized just the other day. Said if she'd realized what a lousy show it had become she'd never have gotten me involved. I wondered too as they seem to care less about the success of the place than we do, yet have unrealistic expectations and blame everyone else for it's failure.
 
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I think this depends on not just their commitment. I’m pretty much summarizing what’s been said already. Cudos to the other chefs. Tell them what you are willing to put into it and ask them what their willing to put into it. Bring your A game and and if both are willing and able ( competent)to listen, they will either dump it in your hands, hire someone to handle it cheap (tank)or tank. If they want to put it in your hands exact a price it will cost them. Look at your p/l to see what’s realistic. Don’t forget how much they are making from FOH. If the wife is the accountant, pound numbers with her before you get her to come to the table with the other three. How bad do you want it? What is #5 km? There are four other km’s? Sounds like they can make money if they put effort into it. You can build relationships or treat it as a job, your choice.
 
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I think this depends on not just their commitment. I’m pretty much summarizing what’s been said already. Cudos to the other chefs. Tell them what you are willing to put into it and ask them what their willing to put into it. Bring your A game and and if both are willing and able ( competent)to listen, they will either dump it in your hands, hire someone to handle it cheap (tank)or tank. Oh probably a good idea to tell them that.If they want to put it in your hands exact a price it will cost them. Look at your p/l to see what’s realistic. Don’t forget how much they are making from FOH. If the wife is the accountant, pound numbers with her before you get her to come to the table with the other three. How bad do you want it? What is #5 km? There are four other km’s? Sounds like they can make money if they put effort into it. You can “build relationships “or treat it as a job, your choice.
 
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I'm am the 5th in two years! As in they've fired/quit. They fired last one right as new menu was put out- so I'm also expected to create recipies for existing menu items as they are not written, and enter into pos system I had no training for. They hire, expect too much, then fire. I knew it was unlikely that all of these people were not qualified. But now I see it as a crazy challenge .I really don't mind if I stay or go but do intend on having them hire my replacement so I can help them out instead of blindsiding them.
 
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I agree with the posts above for the most part. I would put in a memo what changes need to be made to make you happy and make them money. Be blunt and honest. If they don't agree and make the changes give them two weeks.
 
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Uh.. Don Rich? It depends entirely on the owner's commitment. Employees are just that, they have no vested interest in the business--no skin in the game.

It is clear from Gone A s posts that the owners want to shove off the whole mess one one person, will not lift a finger to make changes, do not anticipate changes, and keep on looking for " that right person" to magically turn the business profitable. Which is why there have been 6 km s in two years, roughly one every 4 mths.

From Gone A s posts we see that there was very little input from experienced Chefs in the design of the place, and almost none in the training of staff. These two mistakes are typical of owners who have no experience in the industry.

The only real change will come when the owners realize they have to bail out, i.e. Parachute from a burning plane, but by then it's too late.
 
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Uh.. Don Rich? It depends entirely on the owner's commitment. Employees are just that, they have no vested interest in the business--no skin in the game.

It is clear from Gone A s posts that the owners want to shove off the whole mess one one person, will not lift a finger to make changes, do not anticipate changes, and keep on looking for " that right person" to magically turn the business profitable. Which is why there have been 6 km s in two years, roughly one every 4 mths.

From Gone A s posts we see that there was very little input from experienced Chefs in the design of the place, and almost none in the training of staff. These two mistakes are typical of owners who have no experience in the industry.

The only real change will come when the owners realize they have to bail out, i.e. Parachute from a burning plane, but by then it's too late.
This sums it up in one post!! !Thank you!!. Truly. I've been losing confidence and questioning my sanity. You all have helped me so much!!
 
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I'd get something else in the works and then have a sit down with all involved, not just the wife. Put it on them. Tell them, their actions/performance as owners has left you no choice but to bail. Make it perfectly clear it's their fault. Don't let them think " ah, he just couldn't hack it", etc. It easy for people to describe actions as not having anything to do with they themselves are doing.
The normal business person does not make this type of investment/open a man cave for themselves, for tax purposes. Those days are long gone. After the 2008+ financial debacle, this type of activity no longer exists in small business. Pre-2008, business value took gross sales into account. Post 2008, the only factor for consideration is profitability. Writing off a loss at the brewery against another business (if they are a corp) is one thing, but a business with no profitability is a worthless investment and not sale-able. Investment/no return vs write off, just doesn't make business sense. The only people practicing those ways in this country are the few very rich.
If you still have a half way decent relationship with the boys, one night, just change into nice street clothes and take a seat at the bar next to them. Explain that, based on the reality of what is happening, you think it's best to just become a customer.
Most business relationships are like a tennis match. Take all concerns you've been served, and serve them right back to them. Let them have the concerns for a while.
 
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Good advice. I'll delete thread after I screenshot responses. What I say will likely not matter though. Everyone who has told them these very things are who they get rid of because they "don't respect them". Um k..lol I'll probably just tell them I got an amazing offer I can't turn down . (I won't tell them it's watching Netflix all day with my daughter, haha)
 
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I would simply give my notice w/o any explanation. Explanations before being asked for them, are only to justify things in the mind of the giver. I wouldn't need any justifications.

If they are smart owners, who truly want to succeed, they will ask why. If that occurs, then I would be happy to have a sit down.

I worked as sous chef at one place that had a lot of similarities w/ the operation you are currently involved in. After I gave my notice, the owners and I had a sit down at their request. The result of that was that I was offered the chef position (their son was the current chef). If I stayed, I would be chef and he would become the sous. I declined the offer.
 
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See, it’s kind of puzzling that the wife/your friend is savvy enough to see what’s going wrong, but hasn’t been able to get it across to the frat boys. She has turned to you to do that.
I only had to read the first couple of lines in your OP to know exactly where this was going. I’ve dealt with far too many pipe dream owners. Whenever I am discussing a new open with an owner, I ask “what made you decide to open a restaurant?”
If the answer even comes close to “it’s always been a dream of mine”, I’m running away as fast as possible.
Margins in this industry are already paper thin, so any failure at absolute watertight operations will expose you quick smart.

Oh, and how much do you think they’ll want $$ for the combi? I’m interested...
 
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