This happened to anyone? I find it a bit unfair

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by minichefzim, Feb 24, 2013.

  1. Yes

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  2. No

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  3. Leave the menu, take the chefs

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  4. Leave the chefs, remove the menu

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  5. You're a grown man, sort you're own stuff out

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. minichefzim

    minichefzim

    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    Was just wondering if this has happened to any Exec or Head Chefs?

    Ever fixed up a restaurant, got the ratings down to number two in the whole city, sorted out the stock and theft problems, brought in loads of new clients (Fixed Group Bookings), Created an amazing menu, Trained the chefs to brilliance, found great suppliers, then go on holiday and get back to, "we don't need you anymore" ? i put it down to resigning (which was what they asked) and we parted on kind of a good note.

    Bit of a rant, i know, but what gets me is there was no sign of any appreciation.

    Not worried job wise, i was snatched up in a day by another restaurant.

    My worry is, what happens to my menu, my signature dishes? Can i take them to the new restaurant, which competes with the old one? When i told my chefs i was leaving, they all wanted to follow me to the new restaurant, including the wait staff and restaurant manager. I know it would be highly unethical to do that, but should I?

    I doubt this may have happened to anyone, but anything close, what would you do? what did you do? any advise would be great.
     
  2. chefwriter

    chefwriter

    Messages:
    1,838
    Likes Received:
    393
    Exp:
    Professional Cook
    I wouldn't worry about the signature dishes or the menu. You are creative. You will create more at the new place. Better even.

    If people want to follow you to the new place, it is not your responsibility to stop them. You are not forcing any one to do anything. 

    If they all get jobs at the same place you go to, that says more about the old place than it does about you. Karma, you know.

    And FWiW, Sorry you got shafted. That sucks. But your reputation preceded you so it worked out. Good luck in the new endeavor. 
     
  3. petemccracken

    petemccracken

    Messages:
    3,401
    Likes Received:
    159
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    "Life is not fair, live with it!"

    I second the view on signature dishes.

    With regards to the rest of the employees, they have the right to stay or go elsewhere, IMHO.

    Good luck in your future endeavors.
     
     
  4. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,354
    Likes Received:
    914
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    Unfortunately, this is not that uncommon.  The business is full of stories just like yours, or they opened up a place, got all procedures in place, developed the menu, trained the cooks and waitstaff, and suddenly weren't "needed" anymore.  It may not be fair, but oftentimes it is reality.  As to the menu situation, there isn't a thing you can do. You developed that menu while in the employ of that restaurant so technically it belongs to that restaurant.  On top of that, even trying to get them to remove the menu will end up making you look bad.  Stay above it.  Don't get dragged down to their level.  As to staff wanting to follow you, hey it's not your fault that you developed a loyalty among the staff, and they can do what they want.  My advise though, don't gut the place.  Use this as an opportunity to hand pick some of the best from there and bring them along with you.  After that, well, if the others want to abandon ship then that is up to them. 
     
  5. foodpump

    foodpump

    Messages:
    4,982
    Likes Received:
    535
    Exp:
    Professional Pastry Chef
    Normally, I assume that if I am hired to "clean up" I will get turfed once my job is done.  With this in mind, I usually negotiate a 3 mth term.
     
  6. vic cardenas

    vic cardenas

    Messages:
    453
    Likes Received:
    57
    Exp:
    Owner/Operator
    I voted "Leave the Menu, Take the Chefs". 

    I disagree with Pete. You should gut the place. Leave your old menu in the hands of all new cooks. Then the owners will realize their mistake. 
     
  7. arugula

    arugula

    Messages:
    108
    Likes Received:
    12
    Exp:
    Owner/Operator
    Just leave your menu. You will be coming up with new ideas tomorrow. And as for your loyaly conrads. If they choose to leave they leave. End of story.
     
  8. michaelga

    michaelga

    Messages:
    1,237
    Likes Received:
    64
    Exp:
    Retired Chef
    A few things that you haven't really told us... not that they really matter in the end.

    Did you get hired to fix the place? or Did you just inherit a mess?

    No owner gets stuck in giving thanks / gratitude / appreciation - to them it just means they will need to give you a 'raise' and more perks.

    My worry is, what happens to my menu, my signature dishes?  

     - lol - you mean your former restaurants menu and dishes?

    If people want to follow you then you need to decide if you want to help that person (individually) or not - don't try to take a 'group' or team... honestly do you really want them all.?      Oh... and they aren't chefs they are cooks...there is only one Chef, unless you work at a place with multiple kitchens.

    You seem naive ~ this kind of thing happens all the time.

    Negotiate a fixed time deal or just bear with the lumps.

    I've done this 'clean-up' several times... first time I got dumped after 2 months of good service (5 months employment) but it was still a shock!

    Ever since then I negotiate a contract that they (owners) can manage.  However if they don't want to sign... no harm in window shopping - sometimes the price tag is too much.

    I also work this into my CV heavily, "after only 5 months at xxxx I accomplished the following Y, X, Z, etc. (keep a few ledgers and newspaper clippings handy to back it up)

    I've actually taken a 'leave' of absence from my place of work (not current) just to go and 'open' or 'clean-up' a place - usually short term 4-6 weeks etc.

    It's kind of odd working for such a short time for an employer but it does tend to focus things very tightly.  High pressure for sure but also fast and furious.

    Oh ... congrats on the new position - the best way to make the old places' owners pay is by making the new place a much better place!  (that really sticks it to them)

    (inside voice got outside time.... sorry)
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2013
  9. chefross

    chefross

    Messages:
    2,751
    Likes Received:
    398
    Exp:
    Former Chef
    You must be new to our industry as this happens more times than one would think.

    It's all about business and money.

    If an owner (either corporation or private) hires a person for their wealth of knowledge, and pays them a fair compensation, gets all they need from that person, then let them go and use their knowledge to continue on...It's called "business."

    To say that the menu creations are "Yours" is not true since you created them for this place they are their property. If you take them with you to the next place the onus is on you to present them in such a manner so that it can not be charged that you stole them from another place. And as what was already mentioned, you are creative enough to make new signature dishes at the next place.

    We all need and want recognition for our efforts that goes beyond the paycheck. For some people, their passion for the work exceeds the money issue but it is always nice to be recognized for what we do. Some boss' just don't understand this and will focus on the bad rather than praising the good.
     
  10. ed buchanan

    ed buchanan

    Messages:
    3,355
    Likes Received:
    44
    Exp:
    Culinary Instructor
    Always try and leave on good terms. You never know when you will need a reference of any kind.
     
  11. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    6,781
    Likes Received:
    373
    Exp:
    Retired Chef
    Now you have a chance to do something even better.
     
  12. djoko verona

    djoko verona

    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    Welcome to the real bissines world ..
    If they don't wont you any more you can't take the menu with you,is created for that restaurant ..
    Same situation is gong on in the resort where I a work now .. Management keep trying to replace me ... Because I start asking for my rights.. So what I did
    I ask the management for 3 days off. To see how my kitchen will operate without a chef .. Only with station cooks and a "pastry chef " who don't know what is tempering chocolate LOL..
    After 3days I am coming back ,,,
    Kitchen in a big mess
    Many complains regarding food
    Food not cooked properly and how the customers wants
    Etc etc etc

    After that I type my resignation letter and give it to the owner ... Guess what happen

    Management realize that no matter how much the cooks are trained they still need a Chef to give them a direction and instruction.. They didn't accept my resignation and give me what. I want and need to make that kitchen productive ...
    P.S my passion did not come with that restaurant .. I am born with passion for food.. So no matter what and where I still going to create unique and good dishes

    Chef Gjorgi
     
  13. just jim

    just jim

    Messages:
    1,317
    Likes Received:
    57
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    All recipes, menus, etc. belong to the company.

    I wouldn't "take" the kitchen staff, I wouldn't even actively encourage them to apply.

    Too much like poaching, which I am against.

    Also, it might give them the impression that they somehow are special, possibly undermining your authority over them.

    I would however interview those that took the initiative themselves to apply if I was impressed with their work.
     
  14. foodnfoto

    foodnfoto

    Messages:
    1,403
    Likes Received:
    37
    Exp:
    Owner/Operator
    Wait just ONE darn minute, Chef Zim.

    Were you hired as a contract chef to complete specific "improvements"?

    Or were you just doing a successful job as the manager they hired, and then asked to resign or face termination? Was this in the US?

    If you were hired in the US to do the customary job of an executive chef, and you had no documented write ups, warnings of termination or any other reason for them to let you go, you should at least be given a significant severance package. Hope you got one.

    Otherwise, you can and should sue for wrongful termination.

    I can't imagine, as a business owner, why you would want to terminate a successful manager with a good track record unless there was some underlying personnel problem. 
     
  15. just jim

    just jim

    Messages:
    1,317
    Likes Received:
    57
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    If the OP works in California, an At Will state, then no reason for termination need be given.

    Unless they state a reason that is cause for wrongful termination, which would be kind of stupid on their part, the OP has no case.

    One reason an owner would choose this route is if they think things are running smoothly, and that they can get some younger (though probably less knowledgable) person to do the same job for less money.

    Seen it happen a lot.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2013
  16. petemccracken

    petemccracken

    Messages:
    3,401
    Likes Received:
    159
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    Um, FoodnFoto,

    Most, if not all, of the states are at will employment states, as I understand it, and unless you are terminated based on race, national origin, gender, age, religion, or a few other protected classes, an employer may terminate any employee for any or no reason without recourse. It may not be smart business but it can be done.

     Now, if one has a contract or is a member of a union with a contract, the situation may be entirely different.

    TTBOMK, unless an employer has a stated disciplinary policy or a contract with an employee or union, there is no requirement for write-ups, disciplinary notices, or any other pre-termination steps.

    Certainly, a terminated employee may sue for wrongful termination, whether they will prevail is another matter entirely.

    You might want to peruse: http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/employment-at-will-definition-30022.html
     
     
  17. foodpump

    foodpump

    Messages:
    4,982
    Likes Received:
    535
    Exp:
    Professional Pastry Chef
    Oh dear...

    Look, all "kitchen people" are eejits, O.K.?  They don't make money, they spend money.  Give me a good server who can upsell $200 worth of booze for a two-top and I'll keep them forever.  So you hire a Chef to clean up the mess, then, after things run smoothly, you turf the dude.  Don't understand? You drive a car uphill, it's hard work, when you get to the top, you can coast downhill.  After the Chef leaves you can keep the kitchen running for a a good 4-5 months without a Chef.  Get the Sous, give him a $5.00 raise and some business cards with "Executive Chef" on them and make the (deleted) work 90-120 hrs per week.  Heck, give him the code for the alarm system so every time a Harley or a semi drives by at 2:53 am and sets off the alarm, the alarm co. can roust the (deleted) out of bed and go investigate.  You know, give him some responsibility. "

    Now the above is purely fictional, but it is based on my 30 odd years in the business, working for and with owners and thier partners.

    As a Chef employed by others it is second nature to second guess: 

    Will the d/w show up on time?  Plan "A" if s/he shows up 15 mins late, Plan "B" if if he doesn't show up at all, what consequences for other employees?  This takes about 1/250 of a second in my mind. 

    Supplier shows up at the door:  If they don't have "X" on the truck, what will plan "A" be? "B"? If they screw up my order again how much (deleted) will I endure from the owners when I try to convince them that the Supplier is crap and is costing them money. Are they just too lazy to cut 4 or 5 cheques for different suppliers? Suckered in with a contract? Kick backs that the main partner doesn't know about? 1/500 of a second. 

    I sit down with a potential employer having seen a war zone in the kitchen, my immediate thought is, "how long should I stay here?' and "Will I get out with all salary as promised, and my sanity?  1/1000 of a second.

    They say to two most cynical (deleted) in the world are old priests and old cops, Chef's (that is, the people who manage a kitchen) rank up there too..............
     
  18. brandon odell

    brandon odell

    Messages:
    359
    Likes Received:
    39
    Exp:
    Owner/Operator
    Love all the replies.

    Legally speaking, you can take recipes that aren't copyrighted and use them to your hearts content. Proving ownership of a recipe that isn't copyrighted is near impossible unless there is an employment agreement stating that the restaurant owns all recipes created while you are in their employment. If you decided to take the recipes with you, as long as you bought the paper/computer disk they are on with your own money, and the restaurant doesn't have an employment agreement, there isn't much they can do about it. You have no grounds at all to ask them not to use those same recipes though, or to take those items off the menu. You created them while they paid you, they have no cause to stop using them.

    Ethically speaking, the restaurant owns the recipes, not you. They paid you to create the recipes, fix the kitchen, etc, etc. If they make the mistake of terminating a successful chef, that is on them, but they still reap the rewards of your hard work because they paid you a wage for that work that you agreed on. As for the employees, I think it's bad karma to gut them of their staff. I wouldn't encourage anyone to leave. However, if they came knocking on my door looking for a job and I knew they were good, I wouldn't hesitate to hire them.

    Professionally speaking, don't use signature dishes you created for another restaurant at your new one. You will position your new restaurant as a "follower". The patrons at large have no clue it was you who created those dishes originally. All they see is a restaurant trying to copy another restaurant. From that viewpoint, you would always be an imitator. That's not the position you want the new restaurant to be in, and that's not how you want to be seen as a chef. Create some new dishes and move on.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2013