Monday, 28 October 2013

Hiring a Chef for your Restaurant Business !!!

If you are investing in a restaurant business, hiring the right chef is critical for success. Contrary to popular perception, most restaurant business don't need a chef who is a great cook (unless your aim is to do a Michelin Star restaurant - most of these restaurants tend to be chef owned and operated businesses). The primary role of a chef in most restaurants is not to cook the food, but to creatively design a menu, use ingredients that are easily available or ones that can be stored easily, train enough staff to consistently prepare dishes of the same quality quickly and present the dishes in a manner that customers expect.

So what you really need is someone who has spent 5-10 years in a professional restauarant kitchen, is very good in people management and knows business basics (costing, process improvements, managing the kitchen during busy times, wastage reduction etc.). Other than this the attitude and alignment with your operating style are important.

The role of the chef and the kind of person you need will also depend on what you are trying to do. If you are setting a stand-alone single restaurant, then the chef you hire can be extensively involved in the cooking process on a daily basis. But if your aim is to build a scalable restaurant business, then you need to hire someone who can set things up in a manner that the restaurant is be able to function as always even if the chef goes on a month long vacation.

A lot of the chefs nowadays are quite active in Monster, Naukri etc. You should be able to find resumes there. Another way is to ask some chefs you know to refer someone suitable for your business/context. A great poaching ground for chefs is young staff at the 5 star hotel restaurants - especially the Taj, the Oberoi and the ITC hotels. If you search hard enough, you should be able to find some young enterprising folks out there. For a restaurant chef, you should look at candidates who are currently at a Sous Chef/Junior Sous Chef level at these hotel restaurants.

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