June 21, 2022

Mentorship, Growing Your Employees, and Letting Them Leave

Mentorship, Growing Your Employees, and Letting Them Leave

This week is a solo episode. The topic was prompted by Ray Delucci of Line Cook Thoughts who posed the question "How do you motivate your staff in the food industry?" My reply was "Find out what their goals are, and where they see their path going. Then, try to help them get to that place, even if it means that they’ll leave you and go elsewhere eventually. Too many bosses try to hold their employees back."

But I wanted to dig deeper, so here's a little more. I talk about mentorship, knowing what your employees are looking for, and where the responsibility lies. I would love for you to weigh in. DM me on Instagram or drop a comment when I post the episode there.

Sponsor- The United States Personal Chef Association
While the pandemic certainly upended the restaurant experience, it provided an avenue for personal chefs to close that dining gap.  Central to all of that is the United States Personal Chef Association. Representing nearly 1,000 chefs around the US and Canada, USPCA provides a strategic backbone for those chefs that includes liability insurance, training, communications, certification, and more. 

One of the upcoming events for USPCA is their annual conference scheduled for July 7-10 at the Hyatt Regency in Sarasota, FL. Featuring speakers and classes, the conference allows chefs to hone their skills and network with like-minded business people, and is open to all chefs in the industry.

For those who supply the industry, it’s a chance to reach decision-makers and the buyers of products. Chefs Without Restaurants listeners can use promo code CWR50 to save $50 on registration. Please contact Angela at aprather@uspca.com for information on becoming a member, attending the conferences, or exhibiting. 

Sponsor- Vosteed Knives

Are you looking for top quality kitchen knives for dad this Father’s Day? Well, look no further than Vosteed. With over two decades of experience, Vosteed knives are durable, well-balanced and comfortable to use. You’ll find that these knives have a razor sharp edge, robust and strong full-tang construction, and perfectly engineered ergonomics. These high carbon steel blades will definitely get the job done in the kitchen.  

Right now, you can use discount code VOSTEED15 to get 15% off your order. Go to the Vosteed store on Amazon to order yours now. Check out the Vosteed website, Instagram page and Facebook group.

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Founder Chris Spear’s personal chef business Perfect Little Bite 

Transcript
Chris Spear:

Welcome to Chefs Without Restaurants. I'm your host Chris. And this is the show where I usually speak to culinary entrepreneurs and people in the food and beverage industry who've taken a different route. Today I want to expand a little on something I posted on Instagram a week or so ago. Ray Delucci from Line Cook Thoughts had posed the question, "how do you motivate your staff in the food industry?" My response was to "find out what their goals are, where they see their path going, and then help them get there even if it means letting them move on." I know this is the Chefs Without Restaurants podcast, so many of you are solopreneurs and don't need a big kitchen team. But you could also be a chef working in corporate food service like I was, or for a company that's not a restaurant, so I thought this was still applicable. The show will be coming right up after a word from this week's sponsors. COVID has redefined the world of dining. While the pandemic certainly upended the restaurant experience, the personal chef industry experienced record growth. The United States personal chef Association represents nearly 1000 chefs around the US and Canada and even Italy. USPCA provides a strategic backbone that includes liability insurance, training, communications, certification, and more. It's a reassurance to consumers that the chef coming into their home is prepared to offer them and experience along with their meal. USPCA annual conference is scheduled for July 7 to 10th at the Hyatt Regency in Sarasota, Florida. For those who supply the industry it's a chance to reach decision makers and the actual buyers of products. USPCA is currently seeking exhibitors. If you're interested in reaching the decision makers and consumer culinary influencers, this is your show. Please get in touch with Angela at 1-800-955-2138 extension 705 for your custom exhibitor package today. This will be the first time back following the COVID lockdowns and chefs are anxious to connect with industry suppliers. Are you looking for top quality kitchen knives? Well look no further than Vosteed. With over two decades of experience. Vosteed knives are durable, well balanced and comfortable to use. You'll find that these knives have a razor sharp edge, robust and strong full tang construction, and perfectly engineered ergonomics, these high carbon steel blades will definitely get the job done in the kitchen. And right now you can use discount code vo steed 15 to get 15% off your order. And as always, the links are in the show notes. And now on with the show. Too many times as leaders, we assume that everyone wants what we want, that the dishwasher wants to start doing prep, the sous chef wants to move up to Chef de Cuisine or executive chef. But that's not always the case. If you actually speak to these people and find out what they want, you might find out that they're perfectly happy what they're doing. I've known plenty of people who are happy being aligned Cook, and not ever wanting to take on the extra responsibility of running a kitchen. And that's okay. But if you have someone who's working a position and they want to move up, what are you doing to help them get there? Are you having regular performance evaluations with your staff? Have you communicated with them what it'll take to get to the next level, I spent a lot of time working in corporate food service. So at most of those jobs, everyone had an eval at 90 days, and then every six months going forward. So I'm really happy that that was something that I got to do with my staff, because I know a lot of people work in restaurants or other operations and don't necessarily have that many sit down meetings with their superior to kind of touch base and see how things are going. I will admit that in my younger days, as a manager, I didn't always do the best job with this, I'd have a sous chef leave and a line cook would come in my office expressing interest in the position. Sometimes it would seemingly come from nowhere, the person didn't have the skills they needed from the position and had never shown any interest in it before. Obviously, there needs to be some ownership on the employee. If they're interested in moving up, they should make it known. But as a chef and leader, it's also your responsibility to find out where your staff sees himself going to have a one year, five year even 10 year plan. But also, if you don't have a position for that person to grow into, it really sucks. But sometimes you have to let a good person grow up and out of your establishment. I know staffing has been really tough, especially these days, it's all we're talking about. And if you've got an awesome employee, I know how hard it is to let them go. But if they're ready for that next step, being a leader and mentor means not only letting them go, but even maybe helping them get a job somewhere else. I had a boss who used to joke with me that I wasn't allowed to quit until after they retired. She said it jokingly but I think she really felt that way. Over the years I applied for a number of different positions within my company and for whatever reason I would never even get a call back for an interview. Part of me feels like my boss was squashing those opportunities internally because she knew how tough would be to fill my shoes. Maybe I sound like I have a big ego but I really do find it hard to believe I never got called for any of those interviews. But again, I haven't ownership on myself I'd become An executive chef and after being stagnant in a position for a while, I didn't see a future with my company. And I expressed this to the people above me. And they didn't really have any advice for me and didn't help me transition to a new position elsewhere. So I decided it was time to move on. So I just want to leave you with a couple of questions today. You can either use them for self reflection, or you can answer them in the comments wherever you see this post. Or, as always DM me at Chefs Without Restaurants on Instagram, or send me an email to chefs without restaurants@gmail.com. But going back to the original question, how do you motivate your staff in the food industry? What are you doing to help your staff grow professionally? And a much bigger question is What does mentorship look like these days? Did you have mentors? Do you think you're a good mentor? And where does the responsibility lie on the employee on the boss? A little both probably. I'll leave it there. I really do want to have this as a bigger conversation. And if someone wants to come on the show and talk about this at length, we can definitely do that. As always, thanks so much for listening, and have a great week. Go to chefs without restaurants.org To find our Facebook group, mailing list and check database. The community's free to join. You'll get gig opportunities, advice on building and growing your business and you'll never miss an episode of our podcast. Have a great week.