To approach a lazy coworker?

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by e360, Sep 8, 2017.

  1. e360

    e360

    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    11
    Exp:
    Line Cook
    I understand not everyone has the same passion/interest in the kitchen as I do. For most it's just a job for now. But I have a lazy coworker who is driving me nuts. We're both lead line cooks, but he considers himself kitchen manager when our boss isn't there. I don't understand where this entitlement came from. But it's really starting to really frustrate me because I (and our prep cooks honestly) do more than him at work. I'm pretty easy going and soft spoken which is why i'm afraid i'm going to explode soon. I don't know if I should confront him or say something to our supervisor. Because I dont wanna be a snitch but I don't think the way he's being is fair to everyone.

    He doesn't prep, he doesn't stock his station, he doesn't do dishes, he doesn't think he needs to anything except cook. He tells me all the time that we shouldn't have to prep anything at night, day crew should do it. I think that's ridiculous and we should help each other. Obviously there's some items that need to be prepped in the morning, but not all. Like i'll come in and there's a ton of stuff needing to portioned that day crew made. He will leave it for them, where as I will ask our prep person to do it instead of just sittin around. Either way even if day crew did't get it done, I would just do it.

    If we run out of something at night he will 86 it instead of having someone prep more.

    He had the balls to leave at 630 on a Friday :S because he felt we staffed enough.

    He cuts corners and changes the menu to what he feels like. For example it says our burgers come with a slice of cheese per patty, he thinks that much cheese is unnecessary so he does 1 slice. We have fried brussel sprouts in bacon, one day he forgot the bacon in an order. so the rest of the day he said he was going to leave bacon out because the customer just expect it to come that way etc. :S

    Last night, i closed dishpit for our dishwasher. I notice his line close is completely sloppy. Unwrapped bread, crumbs everywhere, nothing really wiped down. Some things forgotten wrapped. Nothing terrible just detail work.

    Yesterday I came in 2 hours after him. The line needs to be stocked so I ask if it's been busy. He say no, he's had 3 tix since he got there. So i start restocking. While i'm restocking to get ready for dinner rush he starts telling me other crap that needs to be done. Im like why the heck didn't you do any of this while we were dead!

    He has no idea what it means to run a kitchen!! But he's young and thinks he knows it all because he's had 1 other cooking job. Granted we're the same age (24-25) but in kitchen years more i'm a bit wiser. I have worked at a few restaurant and am about to finish culinary school. I don't have an ego or think i know everything. I just wanna learn and move up.

    I want to say something to him but I don't know that I have the place to. I don't think he realizes people are actually starting to get annoyed with him because he's been doing it so long. The restaurant we work at opened a couple months ago and we were the initial hire cooks.
    What would you do?
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2017
  2. brianshaw

    brianshaw

    Messages:
    2,990
    Likes Received:
    291
    Exp:
    Former Chef
    Why don't you ask your boss for clarification... of both authority in his/her absence and the expected standards.
     
  3. Cdp

    Cdp

    Messages:
    68
    Likes Received:
    11
    Exp:
    18 years Chef recent promo to Sous
    I was in this situation nearly word for word,

    your best play is to do your thing and do it well
    this clown will play all is best movies infront of the boss and fail behind closed doors.
    at the end of the day play the long game do your bit and do it 110% he gets upset as your doing things right.
    lastly..

    but what you need to remember is something that an old chef told me...

    young warrior old warrior...

    beware of the old man in a profession where men usually die young
     
  4. someday

    someday

    Messages:
    1,484
    Likes Received:
    287
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    I say let him be in charge of the kitchen...if he is in charge then he gets the blame when stuff isn't done. I'm not saying purposefully sabotage him, but if stuff isn't getting done he'll be the one getting the blame. He'll either step it up (unlikely) or be replaced...and who will be there to replace him?

    Also, focus on what you do, and don't be concerned with what others do. Make sure your station is tight. Make sure you are prepped up. Always be busy. His station is a reflection on him, so let your station be a reflection on you. In any decent kitchen this kind of stuff will get noticed, and over time it will get rewarded.
     
  5. chefbillyb

    chefbillyb

    Messages:
    2,076
    Likes Received:
    417
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    If someone isn't doing their job it pulls down the whole crew. This isn't going to get better because this person doesn't see anything wrong with what they're doing. Talk with the people in charge, let them figure it our. You need to also realize if everyone picks up his prep then upper management wouldn't know anything was wrong. This job has to much bulls-it involved on a daily bases. You don't need your fellow working making it worse.....It isn't up to you to control him.....Good Luck........ChefBillyB
     
  6. chefwriter

    chefwriter

    Messages:
    1,795
    Likes Received:
    366
    Exp:
    Professional Cook
    Being a snitch does not apply here. We aren't on the street. This is a job. By all means, speak to management. Get the chain of command figured out. He needs to straighten up or go.
     
  7. Cdp

    Cdp

    Messages:
    68
    Likes Received:
    11
    Exp:
    18 years Chef recent promo to Sous
    F*** it...old school hot tong therapy and those who did time In the 90s know what I am talking about
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 10, 2017
  8. chefross

    chefross

    Messages:
    2,695
    Likes Received:
    363
    Exp:
    Former Chef
    Oh yeah the old days.......
    I used to go into the walk-in, grab the kid by the collar and threaten his life, then walk out and deny everything.
     
  9. brianshaw

    brianshaw

    Messages:
    2,990
    Likes Received:
    291
    Exp:
    Former Chef
    There's only one thing more pathetic than a lazy coworker...
     
  10. lagom

    lagom

    Messages:
    1,073
    Likes Received:
    108
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    Well there are many options to complete that thought but what were you thinking?
     
  11. turtile

    turtile

    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Line Cook
    Do you ever have any supervision in the kitchen? To me, this sounds like a poorly run business. You've allowed him to take control so there's really nothing you can do to stop the issues on your own. He is going to be lazy regardless of what anyone does over time. If the other members of the kitchen are also angry, see if you can talk to management as a group so whoever is in charge knows that it's a serious problem and the issue isn't between the two of you.
     
  12. Shirlie Lynn

    Shirlie Lynn

    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    4
    Exp:
    Owner of Catering Business
    I have my own catering business and my husband is a Food and Nutrition Director for a large hospital. He has 80+ employees and we talk about what goes on all the time. He runs a smooth operation with a kitchen that is amazingly clean! Every single job has a complete detailed description of what they are to do, what is expected during their shift, and they know not to leave for the day until it is done. They work together as a TEAM. It is obvious this is not happening at your place of employment. Let me preface what I have to say with, I have a 22, 26 and 28 year old. I understand where you are coming from as I have had to help them with these issues as well. They didn't like me telling them some of these things, would tell me I don't understand, etc. etc. but I do. They have learned. When you know what is right, you do what is right. It's hard when you are dealing with someone your own age and it is just as difficult when you have to reprimand someone that is much older than you. It's all in the approach. but you need to do it if you want to grow and move up in your profession.

    You said (He doesn't prep, he doesn't stock his station, he doesn't do dishes, he doesn't think he needs to anything except cook.) If he doesn't do this then WHO is doing it? If anyone else then that is their fault!

    You said that he said (we shouldn't have to prep anything at night, day crew should do it) this should already be on the job description for each shift and each position. If this system is not in place then management is doing a poor job!

    If your "day crew" has things to be done and they are not getting it done you need to find out "why" they are not getting it done. Do they need more help? Are they being lazy and expecting the next shift to do? Where is the breakdown in communication! Again, where are the job descriptions for each shift.

    You said (If we run out of something at night he will 86 it instead of having someone prep more) If you are on the same level, and while he should not 86 it, why are you allowing him to 86 it?! If you think this is wrong then obviously you need to say something to him but then why aren't YOU asking someone to prep more? Why does HE have to if you are on the same level. Letting him 86 it makes you just as guilty.

    He had the balls to leave at 630 on a Friday :S because he felt we staffed enough - Again, if you're on the same level why are you not saying "yo dude what are you doing"? Did management allow this?

    He cuts corners and changes the menu to what he feels like. For example it says our burgers come with a slice of cheese per patty, he thinks that much cheese is unnecessary so he does 1 slice. We have fried brussel sprouts in bacon, one day he forgot the bacon in an order. so the rest of the day he said he was going to leave bacon out because the customer just expect it to come that way etc. :S Again if you are on the same level why are you allowing this? If the owners created this menu and that is what the customer is paying for, you are robbing the customer and hurting your employer. Allowing it to go out, you are just as guilty.

    Last night, i closed dishpit for our dishwasher. I notice his line close is completely sloppy. Unwrapped bread, crumbs everywhere, nothing really wiped down. Some things forgotten wrapped. Nothing terrible just detail work. Write a list. Share with him what you saw, explain to him the "clean as you go" and why it is important to always have a clean work station. Sanitary and also, what if the Board of Health walks in. It is a reflection on them. If he gives you a hard time tell him you will not close his station again if it is left like this. You said you are more quiet. Quiet can be very deadly :) Since you are usually so quiet I think you will be respected now that you say something!

    Yesterday I came in 2 hours after him. The line needs to be stocked so I ask if it's been busy. He say no, he's had 3 tix since he got there. So i start restocking. While i'm restocking to get ready for dinner rush he starts telling me other crap that needs to be done. Im like why the heck didn't you do any of this while we were dead! So what happened when you said "yo dude are you serious?? So, with your saying this, you obviously did not say anything. You started restocking?!?!? You are doing his job and you are showing you are willing to be WALKED ON!! Of course he thinks he is the boss and can tell you what to do because you always do it! Do you want to grow in your career and be a manager or do you want to constantly be his little doormat! Job descriptions and shift descriptions will resolve all these problems.

    He has no idea what it means to run a kitchen!! But he's young and thinks he knows it all because he's had 1 other cooking job. Granted we're the same age (24-25) but in kitchen years more i'm a bit wiser. I have worked at a few restaurant and am about to finish culinary school. I don't have an ego or think i know everything. I just wanna learn and move up. You seem like you are a very hard worker, know a lot about the kitchen and want to be a TEAM player, however, to know what it means to "run a kitchen" you also need to know how to communicate with other workers and in this you are lacking. I get it. It's not the easiest when you are more advanced than your peers and just as difficult when you have to tell others much older than you what to do. My 22 year old is a buyer and manager of a store. She has workers her age and twice her age and she has to tell them what to do and what not to do. My 26 year old has women twice her age she has to reprimand. It is very difficult because she was taught to respect her elders. It's all in the delivery.

    If you are in culinary school who better to ask first on how you should handle this. If for some reason they are not helping you then go to the boss, talk with him about what is going on, tell him YOU would like advice on how to handle this yourself first and then go from there. Maybe you can suggest to him having job descriptions for everyone and a worksheet on what is expected before anyone leaves their station for the day.

    You said that this place has only been open a few months. The owner should be more "hands on" not sure what is going on. Maybe they are just so overwhelmed and in this case they will WELCOME your input and it will show you are not only a team player but management material. Happy employees make for a great work environment and therefore a much better operation all around!

    Sorry for this being so long :) Hope it helps and hope to see you at the top!
     
    chefwriter likes this.
  13. Tulsa299

    Tulsa299

    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    2
    Exp:
    Six years
    Dude... Thank you... That stopped me from making a very silly decision
     
  14. e360

    e360

    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    11
    Exp:
    Line Cook
    I appreciate the long response. When he tries to 86 things and I am on the shift, I do take the initiative to not allow it to happen. I will definitely bring up the idea of set job descriptions. I've tried bringing it up with the boss what exactly everyones duties are, and it's super unclear.

    I can agree it is a poorly set up business- at least kitchen wise. The kitchen manager they initially hired didn't work out with the owners. So they let him go and the FOH manager has been doing both.

    I did finally tell him straight up that I need things stocked. And while he gave me a dozen lame excuses on why he hasn't (I don't like clutter etc.) he has on my shifts at least been leaving me stocked up. I have realized the worst thing that can happen is he gets grumbly, what's he going to tell the boss. that i called him out on being lazy?

    Thanks again