7 Tips for Hiring a Head Chef
September 20, 2017 2:00 AM
The head chef is the heart and soul of any restaurant so if you want your restaurant to be successful you need to find someone who is not only skilled, but someone who is as passionate as you are about providing your customers the perfect culinary experience.
Not only does the head chef oversee food production, he or she develops the menu and contributes to the overall image and brand of the restaurant. It is important for you to hire someone who can be a strong leader and role model for the rest of the staff.
Here are some tips for hiring your next head chef:
Be Clear on the Qualities You Want
The first thing you do is make sure you know exactly what qualities you are looking for in a head chef. It might seem like a no brainer, but you should target your search to chefs that are experienced in creating the specific cuisine that your restaurant offers. A chef used to making burgers and chicken wings will probably not be the best choice for your Korean Fusion restaurant. Create a detailed job description to help guide you as you start the interviewing process.
While chefs on television have made a name for themselves by yelling and being rude to their staff in the kitchen, that is not what you want to live through every day. Pick a chef that has an even temperament and will handle the expected daily stresses in the kitchen with aplomb. You will have less staff turnaround when you have a chef that can provide consistent leadership.
Teach Not Show
Besides being a skilled chef, a head chef should also be an educator at heart and passionate about helping the rest of the staff to do their jobs well. They should be able to train all the kitchen staff on all the equipment and how to create all the dishes on the menu with the highest quality of standards. If they don’t have the patience to train the staff properly, then the kitchen won’t run properly.
For best results, your chef should be the type of leader that is willing to roll up their sleeves and do whatever it takes to get the job done right. The fact that they are willing to work alongside their staff will inspire everyone else to work hard too.
Consistently High Quality Dishes
Stay away from chefs who have a spotty record for quality. You want to choose someone who pays attention to every little detail and will insist that every dish that leaves the kitchen of top notch quality. You expect nothing but the best from your chef so you need him to expect nothing but the best from the rest of the kitchen staff.
They should also be skilled in menu preparation. Have they had experiencing creating exciting and delicious menus that will keep hungry patrons coming through the door? If they have only cooked what they were told to cook, it might not be the best fit.
A Strong Social Media Presence
Social media has become such a big part of promoting a restaurant that it behooves you to hire a head chef that can come in with a strong social media presence. They can keep their followers up to date on their new projects which can potentially bring more attention to your restaurant and hopefully more butts in your seats.
Shared Values & Philosophy
Probably one of the most important qualities for your head chef is that they share the same values and overall philosophy for running a restaurant. Ask them about their approach to customer service and whether they agree with the image and brand you want your restaurant to project. If they are not as passionate about it as you are, they might not care if they are staying true to what you feel is most important.
For example, if you pride yourself on providing your customers with locally sourced, environmentally conscious dishes, you will want a chef who believes this is important too.
Good With a Budget
Of course it is exciting to land a popular, five star chef for your restaurant, but if they are used to big budgets and spending whatever they want to keep up their image, it could have a detrimental effect on the business. Don’t risk bankruptcy by hiring a chef who doesn’t know how to stay within a budget.
Besides identifying the qualities you want to look for in your head chef, you should carefully plan where you go to find potential applicants. If you are trying to replace your current chef who is not working out, but you don’t want them to know about it right away, then it is best to go through a recruiting agency.
If the position is already open and you are anxious about getting it filled as soon as possible, don’t discount the possibility of hiring internally. Pay attention to your sous chefs to see if they have the spark needed to become a leader. It will make the transition a whole lot easier for everybody and will boost morale. Employees appreciate a boss who recognizes their hard work and dedication with a chance to move up in the company.
Besides posting a want ad on online job sites, don’ discount the power of word of mouth and connections. Let people know in your business and personal circles that you are looking for a new head chef. You might be surprised about how many potential leads you can develop this way. And this way, you can feel more confident in the quality of candidate because they are recommended by someone you trust.
All of these tips can help you navigate the process of hiring your next head chef. This is a process that should not be rushed even if you are panicked because your chef has left. Take a deep breath and hire an interim chef from within the company to buy you the time you need to do this right.
Interested in learning more tips for your restaurant? Contact MBB Management today.