Lessons learned at the Chef’s elbow.

Be consistent with your food, with your management

Praise publically, correct confidentially. Never embarrass your staff.

This is business. Don’t be afraid to hire and fire.

Don’t be afraid to correct behavior on the spot, but discuss the correction with the individual later.

Most people want to impress you: let them.

Give your staff a little freedom, but always follow-up.

Keep those connections, and never ever burn a bridge. You may need to cross the bridge later.

This is industry is high risk and high reward. It is high stress, and the workload is heavy.

Old school management is to yell and scream, and women had to fight for their positions. They managed by intimidation. Don’t do this now.

You want your staff to respect you but they don’t have to like you all the time.

Be creative about rewarding your staff. Reward them when they work harder than they normally would need to, but don’t reward them too often. Don’t reward the staff for doing their jobs, but reward them for going above and beyond or by just meeting expectations.

Build trust among your team. You must know that they’ve got your back, and they must know you’ve got theirs.

Negative word of mouth travels faster than positive word of mouth among customers and employees.

One negative experience equals 100 lost customers.

There are lots of things that could go wrong, and they will.

Mistakes: remember what you did and know how to correct it. Think of what the process or the idea was and figure out what went wrong and why.

Look towards tomorrow.

Do damage control: fix the situation and move on.

It’s cheaper to do preventative maintenance than damage control. Make sure you’ve equipped and trained your staff adequately.

You will constantly be making adjustments to your method.

Do your paperwork. Keep notes on everything. Keep your papers organized. Document everything. It will bite you in the ass later. Keep a little pocket notebook with you. Make a small note and follow up later.

Be the first one in the kitchen and the last one out.

Set the example, and lead by example. If you want them to work hard, then you should work hard.

If others respect you, then they’ll do more for you.

Know the others’ jobs. If you can do it, then you can hold them to those standards. And others should see you doing it occasionally so they know you know.

Teamwork is number 1.

Everyone does the same job: everyone washes dishes, takes out the trash, cleans, and organizes.

Promote from within. This builds motivation.

Handling staff: if you constantly get flack or if someone doesn’t want to do a task, then find someone else who will do that job. Replace the weakest link. Don’t sacrifice the team for the individual.

Learn to be a good forecaster and budgeter.

Your budget will make or break you.

Keep tight control over your inventory. Do inventory yourself on occasion.

If you have a problem, eliminate it.

Skills you need to be successful:

Be willing to learn. Be motivated to better yourself. Don’t be set in your ways. Pursue a different way of doing something. Be a sponge. Start with a blank state.

You have got to have a short memory. You will have bad days.

Know what you want and where you want to go.

What motivates him? The instant gratification of putting a smile on a customer’s face when he or she eats Chef’s food. He loves it when his guests go gaga over his food, and it results in residual business.