Not So Easy…

Recently, I got a call from a restaurant owner in need of someone to run his kitchen. He runs his restaurant and considers his staff as family. His chef, who had only been there for 9 months, was in the process of changing the menu to reflect the more economical desires of their customers. The owner didn’t like the look of a couple of the dishes and got in the kitchen to show the chef how he wanted the cabbage to be cut. RED FLAG on the play! You might consider the guy family, but you don’t go in to his domain and show him how to do it, especially if he’s the expert.

I guess that was the straw that broke the camel’s back; he couldn’t take the micro-managing anymore and gave his notice. If this owner goes into the kitchen to demonstrate how to cut cabbage, why does he need someone to run his kitchen? Not so easy… I see this often, management doesn’t educate their philosophy and then when the staff gets mixed messages, the system fails.

Roy’s Restaurants, headed by Chef Roy Yamaguchi, does this really well. His chefs are trained in his philosophy before they’re sent out to their restaurants. I believe there are only 5 signature dishes on every menu, the other selections are created by the location’s executive chef and kept regional. By knowing the philosophy, the food is an extension of Roy Yamaguchi vs just a copy.

Often the easy road is taken, “I don’t know what I want, but after I see it can tell you that’s not what I want.” What kind of leadership is that?

Be a leader or get out of the way.


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