So finally. The place I currently work at I have been there nearly a year now. I find you should be careful about what you say online about one's establishment, but I am pretty sure there is going to be some talk about it locally if we continue the way we are. The food that was at this place for over 10 years I am told by many was just horrendous. Other things lacked too, but I digress from that and stick to the subject of the food as anyone who has passion for food and ate the old food, or even looked at it would agree with me. I didn't realize just how depressed and unhappy I was with the food and culinary going ons until we rolled out the new dinner menu last night. I have never in my 15 or so years of cooking been embarrassed to serve food before I came here. We did what we could to doctor the old menu, but finally after all the "old" timers at this place told us change was impossible, the owners wouldn't let us make the changes, it was too difficult, too many things to fix, etc ... We rolled out the new dinner menu last night and once again I can take pride in what we serve.
This place as I mentioned in another post is open Lunch AND Dinner... Open EVERYDAY of the year, EVERYDAY. We also cater on premise in banquet rooms WHILE serving diners. Not including our private dining area for parties, inside and out we can seat over 500 people. The line, which was not giving much thought, is built for around 200 covers max, so anything over that in a seating and we are pushing limits. Another reasons this menu was so needed. Those not in this business don't realize a menu has many components to it that must be thought out. Things need to be streamlined for production, ordering, inventory. You have to know your staff and what they can handle and be pushed to handle mentally, physically, and from a culinary knowledge standpoint. And on top of all that the food has to be GREAT!
I've opened 3 or 4 places, helped create 2 menus, teach, train, write recipies, etc. Great.
Try doing a menu for a place like above, no down time, lunch, dinner, bar, and banquet menu that would make any seasoned chef slam his head against the wall (even the things that are the same as regular menu are different) with very low set of standards in place. We have been rebuilding standards. We have launched a new, simple bar menu and last night the dinner menu. We have lunch up nexted and then to the horrendous banquet menu!
The volume we are doing is rediculous. And if I told you our sales and labor last week some of you guys might not believe me. Sales are up and labor is down from last year and the "old" timers are saying this is the busiest they have seen it in a long time. And I honestly don't think its going to slow down near as much as everyone says it has in past summers. Specially if we continue to progress with the menu and raising or standards!
Anyways wanted to share with those who can comprehend this. A resturaunt and even the cooks in them are like children. While raising your own from birth is challenging, it's still a HELL of a lot easier than taking someone's 16 year olds and raising them like your own!
More to come
Thanks for sharing your excitement Bryan. Change is a scary prospect for just about everyone because it involves taking a risk. Change something and it might pay out or it might be a failure, regardless change is necessary for a successful business. I may not work in the F&B industry but I can relate to the need for change and the amount of push back one can receive when trying new ideas. I always tell my employees who are resistant to change that doing something the same way and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity. That usually gets the point across, thanks again for sharing.
Sounds like an exciting and trying time, best of luck Bryan.
Congratulations! It's hard to overcome inertia. Keep doing good work.
Yea Pete unfortunately not everyone wants to change and you have to part ways. The people who are left and the new faces are excited ... Some of them front and back of house have been there a long time and seen handfulls of Chefs come and go and yet nothing changes for the better. I'm convinced if your average person was taught to run backwards they would want to do it their whole life even if you beat them everytime by running forward.
I didn't even mention the brunch we do ... It was the first thing I began working on when I got there back in May. It was so horrendous the only thing I was actually able to eat of the 30 or so things offered was the ready to bake crossants they used. Made big strides and in October when our current Executive chef joined me, we've completely turned it around. Every Sunday we have people telling us they can't believe it's the same place. It's a testimate to the time and mindset of our Executive Chef ... he's put the mental effort in to dealing with people I would not have the patience to deal with. Lucky to work with him.
At the same time as you raise your standards you raise people's standards and you have less room for error. This is where you see what you're made of ... Or NOT.
"It's a testimate to the time and mindset of our Executive Chef ... he's put the mental effort in to dealing with people I would not have the patience to deal with."
This is really the key-if you can get people to buy in you can do anything, if not, well........................................