WWE Cake

WWE Cake
Cake I made for my girlfriend's son

Show piece I made in culinary school

Show piece I made in culinary school

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Happy Holidays

Its the holiday season and the shopping rush is on. Whats this mean for the restaurant industry? It means most every restaurant is getting hit with holiday partys and loads of customers coming in from long days of shopping. A money making season.
It means employee call offs so they can attend holiday partys. It means gift card sales and pie sales. It means working on xmas eve when most people have off. So if you go out to eat this holiday season just remember were getting the rush just like the retail stores.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Customers (food stupid) no offense

The hidden secrets of most chain restaurants is pre made food. Why you may ask? Its easy, uniform and quicker to prepare. Its the belief that most employees don't have enough experience to make the product in house and it would take to much training to teach them. It is also the belief that the customer can't tell the difference and its true. Most people wouldn't know the difference between products made in house and pre fabricated unless your a foodservice professional.
Take for instance simple fried food items like poppers, mozzerella sticks, mac and cheese balls. These items have been served in tons of restaurants but could you tell the difference if they told you it was homemade?
An even bigger question is does it matter? Well it does to me because if your going to serve me pre fabricated food I should just stay home take it out of the box and make it myself. To most people it probably dosn't because they can't tell the difference anyway or they don't have the time to cook for themselves so they don't care.
I'll leave you with this thought. If your going to pay the prices in a high end restaurant to have a nice meal shouldn't it be homemade?

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Management and staff turnover

If your a regular customer of a particular restaurant then you've probably seen a lot of new faces on a regular basis because the staff changes all the time. You may ask why does this happen? The only answer I have is that restaurant work his hard. This is probably the main reason most people encounter bad dining experiences. People simply don't want to work these days.
Most restaurants are always hiring because people quit just as fast as they are hired. This creates a constant on going training of employees. Employees are rushed through training when restaurants are short staffed and this causes a negative effect on the customers. Then when you finally get them trained they quit and the whole process starts all over agian. In my experiences you have to go through ten or so new hires to get one that will work hard and stay for at least a year or more.
Another issue is management turnover. There is always another restaurant out there looking to hire managers and make them a better offer. This causes management teams to constantly change in restaurants. This creates a negative/positive effect on the staff and customers because with new management comes change which can be good or bad. The problem with this is that management teams can change as fast as the rest of the staff.
In my own experience the company I work for I have been with a little over a year and I have worked in four different locations because of turnover. The restaurant industry has the highest turnover rate out of all other industrys. This is just anothe reason why a resturant that gives great service one week may give really bad service the next.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Long wait to be seated and Long wait for food

Have you ever been to a restaurant and waited thirty minutes or more to be seated and then once you were seated it took another thirty minutes to get your food? Of course you have almost everyone who has ever dined out has. As a restaurant manager you always hear "We only ordered ............ how long dose it take to make" or "We ordered ...... it doesn't take that long to make it." What most people fail to realize when a restaurant is packed is that their order isn't the only order being made in the kitchen. It also depends on what is ordered to determine how fast it comes out. If you order a steak well done that is 1.5 inches thick your looking at a minimum of 15 to 18 minutes before it is done cooking then by the time the server delivers it your total wait time could be 20 minutes. It also depends on how many orders are in front of your order. For instance if there are 10 orders in front of your order it depends how efficient the cooks are on starting the checks as they come in. If they get behind on starting checks or have to run to get to much product this slows the whole process down. A good cook will start all the items on checks that take the longest to cook then the cook will focus on the first few checks to sell them in a timely fashion. Then once the check is sold it is up to the server to deliver the food as fast as possible. The biggest problem arises when you are short kitchen staff and the orders are coming in faster than you can start them and sell them. This is what causes the 30 to 45 minute wait for food in most instances. Another cause which is a big one is incompetent kitchen staff. One more cause of this which happens alot is running out of cooking space which is when your fryers are full, the grills are full, and you have no more cooking area to start incoming orders. So you can see there are alot more factors involved as to why your order is taking so long. This is probably why most people who work in the restaurant industry are more understanding when they go out to eat and their order is taking a long time.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Labor Day Weekend

Labor day the weekend almost everybody has off. Four days off the last vacation everybody takes at the end of the summer. One of the biggest money making weekends of the year for the restaurant industry. A weekend thats hard to get off on if you work in the restaurant industry. Of course most holidays are hard to get off on unless it is Christmas or Thanksgiving . Although depending on the restaurant you might be working. After a while this is pretty easy to get use to because most of the time you get the days after off when everybody is going back to work or school.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Crazy Restaurant Industry Hours

Its like 3:50 am and I'm getting ready for work. Way to early but when you work for a restaurant that serves breakfast at 6:00 am its not. The restaurant use to open at 7:00 am which makes more sense since most of the time we don't even get our first customer until 7 or 8. Even still I have to be at the retaurant an hour before we open to let the staff in and get set up. Although when I was a pastry chef for a small time restaurant called Zest I use to get to work at like 4:00 am just so I would have plenty of time to get bread making done and work in the kitchen without being in the chefs way because it was a small kitchen. The good thing about geting to work at 5:00 am is that I get off around 3:00 in the afternoon. The Bad part is that by the time you get home eat dinner and watch a hour or two of T.V. its time to go to bed. Of course there is another side to the crazy hours in the restaurant industry world. The closing hours. I've worked in restaurants that by the time you close the doors at mid night and get cleaned up you don't get home until 2 or 3 am then you sleep all day and you don't have to be back to work untill like 4 or 5 pm the next day. Then there are not just the opening and closing hours there is the mid shift when you work in between the day and night shift. Kind of like a 9 am to 7 pm shift where your whole day is tied up because you can't do anything before work or after work. So as you can see in the restaurant industry the hours are different than most other industries. If you wan't to work a simple 9 to 5 job the restaurant industry is not it. You have to be able to work long weird hours that constantly change according to the needs of the restaurant.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Days Off

My days off are Wednesday and Thursday not to bad. Its two days that most people don't have off during the week. Restaurant and Food service works are almost on an entirely different schedule from the rest of the world. Most people have Saturday and Sunday off which most of us in the food business can only dream of having those days off. Friday through Sunday is the money making days of the week. It is the busiest and craziest time of the week for most food establishments there for we never get those days off. Unless the boss is feeling nice or you happen to request those days off in advance. Most food service professionals like myself come to the realization that we'll never get weekends off and we don't really mind either. For most of us our Friday is Sunday or in my case at the moment my Friday is Tuesday. Along with the crazy days of the week we get off comes the fact that it almost never stays the same. Our schedules and days off can change daily, weekly, monthly or what ever the business trends call for. So as you can see if your entering the restaurant business and your not flexible with your schedule or you want the weekends off you might want to try something else. My experience as a restaurant manager with hiring if you can't work weekends we most likely won't even interview you. Some times we can work around the non flexible availability of people but the ideal hire would be someone who can work anything they are scheduled to work.

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Real Deal

As you can see from my pictures I'm the real deal. But you can have all the skill in the world and if you can't land a position where you can realy show your stuff what good is it? Well you can wow your relatives at family functions. If you want to make it in this industry you have to work hard if you really want to make a living working with food. Although I'm a bit discouraged with the speed in which my career is progressing I love this business and I don't want to do anything else. Right now I'm busting my but for Bob Evans restaurants gaining management experience and then I'll shoot for those kitchen management/ sous chef positions. If you can't truly say you love the restaurant business and you don't like to work hard you won't make it in the restaurant business.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Just Another Day at The Restaurant

Another Day of work we are short staffed. Whats new the same thing happens at almost every restaurant at this time of year. Every one goes back to school and you end up short staffed. How dose this keep happening year after year. It dosn't change!!!!! I am working on my second year of management and I already know how to fix the problem but it is the bosses above me. We're fine we don't need to hire we'll slow down when school starts but we can't even run a simple monday or tuesday shift because the retaurant is short staffed. It takes the area director to come in to make the GM realize we need more staff. Although it dosn't take a big brain to figure out when you only have one cook on saturaday and sunday mornings at a restaurant that is famous for breakfast that we need to hire more staff. How hard is it to continuously hire towards the end of summer to ensure you are fully staffed when school starts back up? Aparently pretty hard since it seems to me no matter what restaurant I've been in it is always done at the last minute after customer complaints rise and every shift is rocky. Although after numerous shift covers and people are where they need to be the shift will sort of run ok but how can we stop the cycle?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Restaurant Manager

I'm a restaurant manager for Bob Evans. I started out as dish washer in the restaurant industry at the age of 15 and I have worked in the food business ever since. I love to cook I want to become a chef. Thats a achievable goal but a tough one because our industry is flooded with people of all walks of life going after the same goal. I went from washing dishes to cooking in no time, I loved it. The fast pace, the insanity and the never ending stream of orders flowing in with questions, how long on this , where is that, fix this , I said no cheese and we keep coming back for more. Everyday is a new experience in the reataurant industry loaded with a whole new aray of problems to be solved. As I but in the long hours and cook for different restaurants I decided I need to go to culinary school. I spent four years learning all the basics of cooking and baking as well as management. Yet with the degree behind me and some experience I find it very hard to get the positions I want. So here I am working for Bob Evans as a restaurant manager. I took the position only to gain management experience and I still find it difficult to land a sous chef position or even get so much as an interview. So to those of you expecting to go to culinary school and get a degree then walk in to that fifty thousand a year job or more it probably won't happen unless your lucky. You need the degree pluse a few years of experience to get your restuarant career going if you can handle the abuse we love to continue to endure.