If you ever lose your head chef, don’t lose your head! Losing your chef is a big deal that could cost you hundreds to thousands if not addressed ASAP. Sometimes things don’t go according to plan, but that’s okay.
Failure has many faces. Sometimes it is necessary to fire someone. Other times, they quit for whatever reasons. Whatever it is, losing a key member of your team can be very stressful. It’s important to keep a clear mind and push on.
1. Practice Flexibility
With your head chef gone, you may start to worry about your business entirely. Will you have to go back to old ways? Will the quality of your food decline? Without a quick solution, the answer is most likely a yes.
It is daunting for any restaurant owner to deal with the loss of a key team-member. The impact is even worse for small businesses. If the termination is sudden, feelings of stress, depression and pressure may arise.
Don’t take this to heart though, every business, team and enterprise has off seasons. Make room for changes in routine and quality for a short awhile. This compromise is necessary until you can find a permanent fix. If you are handy in the kitchen, consider putting in work there yourself for a while. Once you find a new head chef, be around to coach them until your previous quality is met.
2. Organize Your Paperwork [restrict]
Good chefs know that they are only as good as they left their kitchen. Chefs generally want their kitchens to run smoothly and successfully, even after their departure. Stealing employees or hiding recipes generally isn’t ethical for them. However, we’re not always blessed with the best chefs.
One of the major drawbacks to losing your head chef are the kitchen recipes. Any dishes, styles and processes that were created by the chef are owned by them. Even if you are both on good terms, chefs are not always compelled to leave their recipes to you.
There is no other way around this. It is always best to create an employment contract that protects the consistency and quality of your food. This should be addressed before even hiring a chef. Some things you should include in your contract are:
• A statement of duties
• A strict job description
• A statement of intellectual properties
These few things will help protect your business, so it will not be a big loss should things not work out. Now would be a good time to review your documents and policies to ensure that this does not happen.
If these things were not worked out, you will be left without a chef and recipes. You will face a desperate time while negotiating employment with the next chef. If so, you should focus on being around for customers, to personally explain why certain items are unavailable.
3. Be Open and Honest With Your Team
Within that desperate time that we mentioned, your restaurant is going to need all that help it can get. Be upfront with your staff and members about what happened, how long you think it will take to resolve, and that you are going need their help.
Managers and business owners find it hard to communicate their weaknesses to employees. This is a common mistake. If anything, your employees will appreciate when you share what challenges your business is facing. This makes them feel as if they are a part of something larger than just their job, and they will be more convinced to help.
The worst thing you can do is try and solve everything on your own. Leaders tend to be self-reliant, but there are times when relying on others is a necessity. Don’t be afraid to take yourself down a notch for your restaurant’s sake. After all, it is a temporary setback.
It’s not productive to be hurt or offended when someone quits or leaves. Always try and maintain some professionalism when someone else leaves on their own terms. This will help you keep a clear mind when dealing with a crisis.