===i love the culinary school grad listing. i was 40 when i went to culinary school and was 42 when i got out. i used the culinary school grad thing to hoist them by their own pithards (heck that crossbeam on big sailing ships) neat job too. was la-la land.====
I felt that I knew enough coupled with pride, and that kept me out. I was working in great, quality kitchens and felt that I was learning and working in a manner that was allowing me to grow and learn. I was working in kitchens and with chefs that were among the best in the Bay Area. Hey, that region is la-la land[;)]
Still, I knew that I needed to get a better understanding on food and cost control management and took night courses at CCI for that. I plan on taking another course on small business managementin the near future. But at 50, I do not have the desire to try to attain that level of culinary expertise.
====i wanted to grow so i gave myself a big challenge. start a bbq operation from scratch. game rules are no loans. no loans of any kind. a grant well hey that would be ok. the trip has been long,strange and difficult so far. but it darned sure has been fun!!!!!===
I have similar goals too. I know that you have stepped back in some ways and you are just cooking full time with the ability to leave when the shift is done. This is where I am at for the moment.
Getting the money is possible from different ways, but my brother has pointed out that there are some very attractive business loans available to veterans. But whether it is grants, loans or -inheritence, I want to make sure that I go into my future with knowledge that will help me from making mistakes. I have made enough in the past…
I have some ideas as to what I want to do, but I also have another ‘long strange trip’ ahead of me as I plan on leaving Connecticut within a year or two. New Mexico or California beckons…
But your comment saying that it has been fun holds true to me. I enjoy this business and as a possible owner, I would want to create a fun environment.
Hire who you want, fire them if incompetent, if you hire a servre who looks like Quasimodo, but gets the job done, treat them well.
i love the culinary school grad listing. i was 40 when i went to culinary school and was 42 when i got out. i used the culinary school grad thing to hoist them by their own pithards (heck that crossbeam on big sailing ships) neat job too. was la-la land. exec dining room for a major bank. foie gras no problem. bank pres wants truffles no problem. just fly the plane to france get the goods and back they came!!!!
i wanted to grow so i gave myself a big challenge. start a bbq operation from scratch. game rules are no loans. no loans of any kind. a grant well hey that would be ok. the trip has been long,strange and difficult so far. but it darned sure has been fun!!!!!
you are right. they are some jobs where a decision has to made on the suitablitity of the person. is it fair? not really. is it business??? darned sure is. and if the right business decision can be made then it stands to reason that the unsuitable person for one job just maybe the dream employee for a different job and since the facility is doing well that gives the freedom to slot this person in and keep her/him/it working and productive. by the way, keeping fat grumpy guys in the back is a good move but you left out keeping airheaded waitresses away from the grump at major lunch slams while grump is unloading a food shipment and turning out food faster than the airheads can deliver it. on second thought, what joyous day it was. little teeny boppers losing their little minds,finding out that their looks mean nothing when it comes to grumps, orders going to wrong tables, the Gen Manager laffing and going "go chef,go!!!" and the owner dealing with crying waitresses. i tell ya it was a grand day simply grand!!!! heck i may even break out my old chef’s whites tomorrow since i am working with the GM again!!!!!!!
===Don’t let age be a factor, as long as you’re healthy you can do whatever you want.====
I don’t think of myself as old. I try to convey a young attitude to both employers and employees. My resume says Culinary Chameleon, Adaptable to All Cuisines. This also means to all types of kitchens.
I think ageism in this business rears its head when you see a classified that says ‘Culinary School Graduates wanted’. I started cooking long before these schools reached the level that they do now.
As a sous chef in S.F., one of the best compliments was from an apprentice from CCI that said "I wish you were my teacher…"
Employers need to realize that I do have wisdom that I could give along with a willingness and ability to do it their way.
Appearances are another thing. Handicaps can be overcome. Just the last week or so I went to one diner where it wasn’t until I got the bill did I realize that the waitress was missing a hand. She was able to easily work the counter and the two top booths without having to handle the heavy trays.
On a lesser note, last Sunday I went to Sally’s Appiza and watched this lady who was pouring sodas and serving beers. My thought was that she was a waitress who was assigned the job for the day. No, as she walked away from the counter, she had a definite pronounced limp.
So sure handicaps can be overcome. It is the recent wave of piercings and tattoos that do bother me. I say this as someone who got tattooed in the Navy, but I wasn’t stupid enough to get one where it would be a problem in my later life. I could never marry a woman who has more tattoos than me…
As for piercings, it is the ones that go through the eyebrows that seem to bother me the most. I used to be cool, but when I see so many people who follow these trends, well it’s not cool anymore.
In an ideal world, appearance wouldn’t matter, but in fact it does, and I agree that there are some jobs certain folks are not suited for. The comments above highlight that fact and any business owner who wants to succeed will take that to heart. Forget the PC folks, making money is why we go into business and I would prefer to hire whom I want to achieve that goal. If it’s "Hooters Girls" or tattoo-less, pierce-less "normal" folks, then so be it.
I definately agree with you-some people are not suited for certain jobs.When serving food one must be presentable and able to take orders in a clear, quick concise manner.Unfortunately, in our society, people that have defects of the physical or mental nature tend to turn us off a bit, and that is normal.When I hired some challenged employees, i put them in positions that did not deal with the public alot.Prep work, dishwashing, etc.I wasnt hiding them, as these were incredibly important jobs in my operation.And by empowering these valued employees to be in charge of their"department", I had some of the most loyal hard working people ever.I now incorporate that practice with all my employees.
Porky Pine Kate
Hi, I have to get in on this!
I have owned several businesses and two happen to have been (one present) food service.
The best people that I have hired in the past were the result of long conversations with the prospective employee. When I took the time to get to know the person, I had a better feel for what I was dealing with. What they wanted and were willing to put forth and if they had the right stuff. I hired some lulu’s on the quick. Older women and men can be a good source, but in general, I’d have to say each case is different.
A word on looks and please don’t throw me out the door because of this story. It is an extreme case. I stopped to grab a sandwich at a FF place. The town I stopped in suffers from a severe lack of decent help, why I do not know. After standing at the counter waiting to be served at the golden arches for 15 minutes with their staff ignoring us and a line of people we left for another FF place. I have sympathy for less fortunate people as the next guy, but what I encountered was just strange, oddly disturbing and generally did nothing for my appitite. Everyone deserves work and a chance, but the counter woman here was a bad choice. The first thing I noticed was the woman had odd looking eye make up on. I tried not to look too hard but realized she had painted on eyelashes. Not subtle, very pronounced. Her very thick glasses only magnified the fact. When she spoke with a bit of a speech defect, I then caught sight of her dental situation. It wasn’t pretty. She had a lot of trouble taking the order and some of the other people in that line at Macs were behind me now. It was slow going but no backing out at this point. When she turned to get someone to help her figure out what to do I noticed a hump , not just a small one but a large hump on her back. This in itself was not a problem for me but coupled with all the rest I was feeling a bit uninspired about food. Yes, I did feel bad for her, in many ways, but I was more hit by the idea that sometimes a person just isn’t right for the job they are in. Please don’t judge me harshly for repeating this, I very well know that this woman may have been a wonderful person, but from a business stand point, she was in the wrong job. I don’t feel as though a beauty queen or hunk has to sever me, nor a genius, but a well suited person, with clean nails, a neat appearance, and at least a mundane appearance is important in the food business. If you are grumpy and work in the kitchen, no problem, but I want a nice happy person talking to the customers. If you are chubby, no problem, looks like my food is good. I know this sounds shallow on the woman with the less than pleasing appearance, but when it makes a dent in the bottom line, aren’t we supposed to be a bit more discerning about our help?
We all know that no one will work as hard for us as we will for ourselves, or it is a rare bird that will. As with PrisonChef, we intend to set up our stationary restaurant so that we can handle it as a two person operation, just as we do our mobile unit.
I do apologize if I have offened, but we are in a very tricky business, food service, there are many considerations to take into account when hiring. I have nothing against this woman, but like it or not I would not have hired her to serve food. I might hire her to keep books, sell merchandise, or some other job, but not serve food.
I have had good young workers, good older workers, but the end all is the one that wants the job and is suited to it.
Porky Pine Kate
"I like fieldthistle’s and prisonchef’s responses that touch on the older worker, I just turned 50 yet I feel that to a future employer, I appear as damaged goods."
Don’t let age be a factor, as long as you’re healthy you can do whatever you want.
Seventeen years ago, while still involved in aviation, I dedided to get a Florida Real Estate License. I’ve never used it but have met the continuing education requirement each two years and kept it valid. Yesterday I enrolled in a class to obtain my Florida Community Association Managers Certificate (CAM), it’s needed to manage large condos/condo hotels. There are a lot of each going up in Daytona Beach, I think these guys are going to be in demand shortly so I’m positioning myself to be available. With my Real Estate License (Needed to rent condos), my CAM Certificate, and current experience as the GM of a large hotel, I should be in the drivers seat. I’ll be 65 on my next birthday.
you hit the nail right on the head!!!!!!
all work is honorable!!!!!!!!!!
shame this basic tenant has been forgotten!!!!!!!!
a wonderful way to reinforce it though (in my experience) is a let a line cook get uppity with the dishwasher and send him to the pit and bring the "pearl diver" to the line. works everytime!!! and if the line cook threatens to walk escort him to the door with the advice that it takes the lowlyest to make a team whole.
your information idea has long been forgotten also and is in fact a great team builder (and also explains why i don’t watch hells kitchen on tv)
keep fighting the good fight. it is much better to be the only one who is right than to be part of the braying sheep even though, as we both know, the cost for doing this is high.
Wow, thanks everyone for jumping into this topic! Guess we can all relate to it. All I know is, you really can’t judge a book by its cover! Yes, employees represent YOU, as the owner of the establishment. I have nothing against ‘older’ workers (I’m 51). All I ask is that prospective employees know the basic skills of communication! Well, some people skills help too!
As far as workers coming in intoxicated–would they go to their ‘real job’ drunk or stoned? Some would, yes. But my point is, just because you are a bartender, does that mean you can consume my alcohol while on the job? We had one bartender come in blitzed on a Saturday night (we had a band scheduled). What a mess! Sent her home early, had a talk w/her, verbal warning. Well, we did let her go a month later, for ‘other things’) anyway, I like to give people the benefit of the doubt, and yes, praise them for the positive, instead of always focusing on the negative ones, like so many of my bosses did in my 30+ years in the industry. I just hope people don’t see me as a "soft touch" (because I am by nature) But my restaurant is finally coming together, and I really hope and pray that we can make it happen in the Dog-Eat-Dog world of this crazy business that I have a Love/Hate relationship with!
Fantastic responses from all!I am a middle aged woman who decided to redirect my work life and now am a manager at a local sub shop within walking distance of my home.This is not a career building job,quite the opposite.I have excellent work ethics, treat the business as if it were my own, and can multi task better than any of our younger staff.And the customers like to see me as the majority are my age or older.My point is not to assume the customer wants to see young pretty things-eye candy is just that.Dont discount the older worker with fantastic resumes-most of the time they left their high paying jobs simply to regroup,i.e.have a life, not just work.Thats what I did and I couldnt be happier.[:o)]
Stephen Rushmore Jr.
I am enjoying this topic and the responses to it. I agree with and cannot disagree with many things said.
If you drug tested the cooks in New Orleans, you would not have many employees[V] But yes, drugs and alcohol can ruin a kitchen and produce a true problem employee.
Still, one job that I applied for had me sign a waiver allowing drug testing and a criminal background test, but also a credit history. I just think that is too intrusive. What is the statute of limitations regarding a past history for employment? I truly believe that people can grow and not repeat their mistakes.
sinkiller(!!!) pointed out that that one place has many dependable employees who work there. If they are on probation, they are probably being tested by the probation officers.
I like fieldthistle’s and prisonchef’s responses that touch on the older worker, I just turned 50 yet I feel that to a future employer, I appear as damaged goods. If I was as good as my resume states, why am I looking for just a cooks job? Personally, I worked in kitchen management and it crapped out my marriage due to the long hours and lousy days off. I have worked hard enough that I do and want to enjoy time off.
prisonchef ===ps. when i turned 50 i gave myself the birthday present of never ever being an executive chef again. i love my part time job. i go in,i cook,i handle the lunch rush,get everything organized for the night guy and go home. no people problems. owners likes me because not once in 2 years have i ever been late or called in sick (well that and i have tripled his beef sales in a non-beef state might have something to do with it)===
This is exactly where I am at. When I leave the kitchen, there is never the question of "What did he do all day? There is nothing prepped." Everything is done.
Regarding his claims to tripling beef sales, at least it seems that he has some input that is appreciated. It’s nice when the owner allows you to suggest some specials that work. It validates your experience and knowledge.
I know enough not to be implacable in my attitudes and am adaptable to most situations, as I have seen and done it all. It is not that I am unwilling to do anything or tell them how to do it. I know better that that, yet I have found situations where the owner or chef are very insecure. I call it The Emperor’s New Clothes Syndrome, they are afraid that they will be found to be standing naked…
There is a big difference between suggestions and telling someone what to do. I am aware of that, still I find that is best to keep even my suggestions to a minimum.
But I consider Fieldthistle’s thoughts here,===There are many of us, in our 40’s, 50’s, and perhaps 60’s who would like to learn, grow, and promote the businesses we work for…to prosper as we help the business prosper.===
This is incredibly important to me. I remember reading that you should learn 50 new things every day. I still want to learn and do new things. A person my age has the ability do this. I like to be proud of where I work for and how I can make it profitable. I call myself the Dr. Frankenstein of the kitchen as I can resurrect food before it is dead.
====Perhaps this is the most important thing…keep all employees informed of what is going on, what new things are expected, of how they are doing… …a well-informed employee will work harder or leave if they have a grasp of the future. The "need to know" model just makes an employee feel alienated.===
Old saying I learned in the Navy, "I must be a mushroom. They keep me baffled and feed me B.S." I have worked in a kitchen, solo by myself only to learn that there was a party of 18 coming in at the middle of the dinner rush. This happened frequently. In fact, the owner got mad when I looked at the reservation book, he felt it wasn’t my business to know this information!!!
The most important thing to do, no matter how much you pay them and what their job is, the b,26,226746.021,1,36485,220.127.116.11
226766,226746,226746,2006-08-18 09:42:52,RE: Hiring phase 1–HELP!”
That’s great, but you still need to check. These guys also know if they lose their jobs, it’s back to the slammer.
You may think I’m joking, a friend who owns a restaurant swears his most dependable workers he gets thru "work release" they gotta show up and stay clean and sober.
Some of the comments above about drugs and alcohol in employees on the job are disheartening. If an owner or manager doesn’t recognize the signs of drunkenness or impairment, then he is not doing his job. There are no states which will permit these conditions on the job and if the managment allows or overlooks this, then shame on them. As far as I can tell, these people made a choice to get high and if they so choose to do this on the job, they should be fired – not counseled. If they cause an accident or illness while they are impaired, the whole establishment could be in for alot of trouble. I am compassionate as the next guy, but anyone who comes to work drunk or on drugs should be fired. Do what you want on your time, but not while I’m paying you.
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