Hiring the Best Chef for Your Restaurant (According to Tenured Chefs)

       As a former recruiter of a high-volume restaurant group, I can tell you first hand that hiring great management is a serious challenge, not to mention chefs.  Of course, experience managing a kitchen, efficient in execution, budget consciousness, and training staff are all no brainers in hiring a top notch BOH talent, but once someone takes the reins in your kitchen things can change- fast!  A green chef can sometimes switch it up for better, but more often than not for the worst.  Since it’s too damn hot in the kitchen to just let anyone manage your BOH Team, Harri turned to our vibrant hospitality network to see what some hiring managers / owners might miss in their chef search.

1)   Transparency & Trust

    Like prep before every service, lay out your mise en place …or in this case your honest expectations of the job at hand.  Have a written description ready and make sure that duties of the position actually fit the title.  A “full disclosure of expectations, [and] making sure you are advertising for the right title”, will prevent any confusion during an interview and post hire.  You should not expect an Executive Chef to run food or Kitchen Managers to interact with guests.  This also keeps your interests at heart, as anyone can say a duty is not his/hers but if there is a paper trail, then no one can deny it.

     According to Chef Cash you should also be as upfront as possible with any obstacles your restaurant has faced in its past – high food costs, line-level staffing, inconsistent plates, varied ticket times, paying invoices on time, etc.  Having “transparency in the challenges the restaurant is facing "could be a deal breaker for some, but if a candidate has come across these problems before and solved them, it could [be] true game changer for your overall business.  Since hiring is a two-way street, “be prepared to trust who you hire”. Try your best to throw in questions about integrity (ie. Tell me about a time when your morale was compromised, what did you do? etc).  If this person is taking on a leadership role in your business, having faith in his/her abilities is crucial.  Be sure to not let prior issues cloud your judgment, and lead to micromanagement.  The last thing a great chef wants is someone breathing down his or her neck.    

2)   Belief in Concept

     The best chef in the world has absolutely no value to your restaurant if they have zero interest in the concept.  Chef Landas urges that viable candidates, “at the very least, [should have] a strong interest in the cuisine style of the restaurant”.  Hiring a chef with 5 years experience at a farm-to-table, Italian restaurant will most likely not benefit a Chinese restaurant specializing in Dim Sum.  If your concept’s brand relies heavily on a set menu, make that fact crystal clear to your prospective chef.  Otherwise you could end up with,“ managers and chefs who will try and make the place ‘their own’, deviating from your restaurant’s theme.  A nice way to approach this is keeping the set menu through a certain period of time (maybe a season or quarter) and allowing the new chef to explore creativity through specials. Seeing how well the specials sell can be a good indicator on whether or not to let him/her tweak the menu, before changing it all together.

3)   Ego

     This is a notoriously “touchy” subject, especially with chefs.  Always remember that no one is special enough to treat others with disrespect in your business, most importantly your BOH Team.  Leading a great team in any field requires a certain level of humility, great chefs “should be confident, but not cocky”, and still maintain a “willingness to learn” per Franklin Becker, even at a high level in their careers.  There’s nothing worse than a tenured chef, who comes into a kitchen with no room for compromise.  This attitude is counter-productive and drives kitchens into the ground.  Chef Landas recalls, “I’ve seen many instances where highly qualified chefs scare off good quality staff because they were a**holes”.  The my-way-or-the-highway days are over, even in the best restaurants, look at Noma and Alinea.  They dedicate nights when cooks of all levels can present different dishes to the team and brainstorm menu ideas.

Collaborative mindsets with staff make a huge difference in service, and gaining line-level staff trust is key.  According to Mike Landas, “It’s important to design your interview [process] to see if the candidates will have chemistry with the staff”.  This is where trailing is important, choose your busiest shift and throw them in the mix – brunch and Thurs – Sat @ 7-9 PM dinner service are highly recommended.  After he or she leaves, ask the line-level staff/ cooks, what they think and if they would listen to this person.  If this seems counterintuitive think of it this way: you want to put the best captain at the helm of your ship, it’s best that your kitchen does not become the Titanic, and that all the lifeboats are onboard.

 

 

LOOKING TO HIRE IN HOSPITALITY?

DISCOVER TOP TALENTS ON HARRI

Follow Harri on Facebook and Twitter

for real time job posts and industry news.

 

FIND US AT START UP ALLEY AT THE NRA SHOW 2016 BOOTH #8427G

Find out how the top brands like Tao Group, Eataly, sweetgreen, Nobu, Soho House, The Meatball Shop and more source, hire and manage talent with Harri's TOTAL TALENT SOLUTION, an all-in-one platform built specifically for the hospitality.

With Harri’s digital platform, employers can find and on-board top talent for their business while maximizing productivity, reducing costs and saving time. Harri clients save up to 68% in hiring time and save up to 48% in hiring costs.

Harri’s Total Talent Solution empowers employers to easily:

  • Post unlimited jobs to Harri's network plus post to multiple job boards and receive up to 37MM views with one click.
  • Manage applicants throughout the hiring process on one seamless platform designed for the hospitality industry.
  • Send offer letters and on boarding document digitally to new hires.
  • Create media rich, on-line profiles showcasing their company's culture and therefore, attracting the right type of talent. 

Harri has over 210,000 members and over 3,500 employers based in New York City, Los Angeles, London, Chicago, Las Vegas, and Washington DC. It is the number one marketplace for hospitality talent in NYC.

Harri will be showcasing our best-in-class Total Talent Solution at Start Up Alley at the NRA Show in Chicago May 21-24. If interested in learning more about how Harri can help you with your hiring needs, contact us to schedule a demo.

Name *
Name
Phone Number *
Phone Number

 

 

Harri Wins NYC Hospitality Alliance's Technology Award

It's hard to deny the fact that New York City is the hospitality capital of the world. With over 24,000+ restaurants, bars, nightclubs and such, the industry would be nothing without its passionate professionals, working tirelessly day in and day out. So to celebrate, the NYC Hospitality Alliance hosted an awards ceremony to recognize the industry's achievements. 

Andrew Rigie, the Executive Director of the New York City Hospitality Alliance, said, "It was an amazing night. We are a passionate industry and it’s important to recognize the hard work and dedication these individuals and businesses put into their craft. Hospitality is an art, and we are so proud to honor and celebrate their contributions.”

Team Harri was in attendance at the event, which was held at the iconic nightclub, Marquee New York. Awards that were presented included Big Apple Legacy Award, Four Stars Award, I ❤ Hospitality Award and others.

Harri was nominated for the Technology Award along with notable names, like ADP, delivery.com, Paycom and more. The award acknowledges the contributions of a technology platform and how it enhances the way the hospitality industry operates. (See here for the entire list of award winners and nominations.)

We were amongst other innovative platforms in our category, but we are proud to announce that Harri took home the Technology Award. The award is a reminder of how much work we have done so far. It also gives us motivation to develop even greater features and products to service the needs of the industry, both employers and employees. 

Big thanks again to the NYC Hospitality Alliance on the successful night and the award! 

Meet Mikel, Harri’s 200K Member

Late last year, we introduced to you Ronnie, Harri’s 150K member. That was an amazing milestone in itself, but as our platform has evolved, we have grown to a community of now over 200K+. So meet Mikel, our lucky 200K member.

Mikel, an executive chef with more than 20 years of experience, found Harri by chance. He had taken a short break from his career to travel, but he is now ready to get back to doing what he loves, and is looking for new opportunities.

HOW DID YOU GET INTO COOKING?

At first, I just went with it because Spain, where I come from, is famous and known for its Michelin-star restaurants. Besides that, I grew up in the countryside with my grandma, spending time there during the weekends and summers. I was basically living in the kitchen; it was the heart of the house. She had a traditional, wood-fired stove and it was my favorite part of the house. My mother learned from her as well.

HOW DID YOU GET YOUR START IN THE HOSPITALITY BUSINESS?

I started my career working front-of-the-house when I was 16, and I moved up until I was a GM by age 26. I went on to attend culinary school at Escuela de Hostelería de Barcelona, while working as GM. After completing my degree, I started working in the kitchen and never left.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT WORKING IN THE INDUSTRY?

Making people happy. From the way I cook and also not just cooking for myself, but for others. It is my main secret to being successful and loving what I do. The most important thing for me is to make people feel happy from what they eat.

HOW DID YOU FIND HARRI AND WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO JOIN? 

I found Harri randomly while looking online for work. I was directed to Harri. Harri offers executive and management positions from awesome restaurants, unlike Craigslist and LinkedIn. When you look for a job on Harri, you do not feel like you are thrown onto a rollercoaster, where you do not know where you are or where you will end up. Also, on Harri, employers are always quick to respond to job seekers.

HOW DID YOU FEEL ABOUT BEING OUR 200K MEMBER?

I could not even believe it at first, since I was in Barcelona when Team Harri reach out to me. I thought it was a joke, but then I realized it was really true. I was impressed and wanted to be a part of your feature.

HOW HAS HARRI BEEN USEFUL FOR YOU?

Since I am a new member and just started using Harri, I have found a few possible opportunities that are opening in the summer.

HOW HAVE EMPLOYERS REACTED TO YOUR HARRI PROFILE?

Employers have responded pretty quickly to my profile. It is very different from the way other job sites hire, which tend to be be pretty complicated, like Taleo, for example. When you apply for positions on Taleo, you probably will get a reply three or four weeks later. In contrast, Harri is able to match job seekers’ profiles to jobs that they qualify for and employers react quickly.

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF OTHER JOB SITES, COMPARED TO HARRI?

Basically, I only use LinkedIn and ZipRecruiter. I think ZipRecruiter is not as useful because I do not like the way they designed the website; it is a bit more complicated and super impersonal. As for LinkedIn, the basic, free account is not as helpful. I actually got a premium account for the purpose of finding a new job, so that I could access other features, like inMail. But with Harri, these features are free. Harri is also tailored for hospitality professions, where as LinkedIn is more general.

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE MOBILE APP?

Because I have been traveling so much, I prefer the mobile app more than the actual website. It is easier and it sends me updates pretty often. 

WHAT TYPE OF ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO ASPIRING HOSPITALITY PROFESSIONALS?

Work hard and be patient, and be honest! There are so many chefs that think that after they finish school in two years, they are a chef. It took me three years after culinary school, working in the kitchen with experienced chefs, to actually learn how to cook properly and respect food. You have a base that you learn from school, but the experience is totally different from a restaurant. They have to understand that they will not be chef right away, you have to work at your craft.


LOOKING TO WORK IN HOSPITALITY?

DISCOVER WHO'S HIRING ON HARRI

Follow Harri on Facebook and Twitter
for real time job posts and industry news.

Harri’s Hospitality Career Fair in LA Recap

Job-Fair-Banner.jpg

In the Fall of 2015, we held our first technology-focused hospitality career fair in NYC. It was a hit with both job seekers and employers alike. So much so that we decided to host one in Los Angeles at The Culver Hotel.

JobFair02-1.jpg

On Tuesday, January 26th, more than 20 of LA's top hospitality, restaurant and hotel groups were in attendance. Brands like, Chipotle, Le Pain Quotidien, IDG Restaurants, Shake Shack and more, networked and even hired some of our talented Harri members on the spot.

Participants.jpg

Job seekers were able to access and pre-apply to jobs that were being offered at the job fair with our Harri Mobile App. Employers could screen through the candidates, and learn a bit more about them in advance.

JobFair03.jpg

To see more, view our Photo Gallery.


LOOKING TO WORK IN HOSPITALITY?

DISCOVER WHO'S HIRING ON HARRI

Follow Harri on Facebook and Twitter
for real time job posts and industry news.