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Being the Chef » Chef Life

How Social Media Is Fueling the Food Truck Phenomenon

    The guys over at have posted an interesting article on the power of using social media to help build business for food truck start ups.  As I talk with owners and operators in this emerging market of the food industry, the power of social media is quickly becoming a strong tool for building a brand and developing a loyal following.   How Social Media Is Fueling the Food Truck Phenomenon. … Read entire article »

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Sous Chefs: The First Follower

In this TED video, Derek Sivers shows just how important the first follower (AKA: Sous Chefs) are to leadership effectiveness.  One of my mentors used to say that a leader without a follower is just out for a walk by himself.  Come on chefs….start a movement! … Read entire article »

Filed under: Chef Life, Featured, HR, Kitchen Staff

Tips for Restaurant Theft Prevention

Eric Valasek posted a great article on his blog at RstaurantSchedular about preventing theft in your restaurant.  His article goes hand in hand with a conversation I had just yesterday discussing how chefs can use inventory manipulation to “steal” from the restaurant.  There are thousands of ways that theft occurs in food service operations and as a manager it is vital to do everything possible to prevent it.  Read the full article here: Methods to Curb Restaurant Theft | Improving Restaurant Management. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Chef Life, HR

Your Restaurant on Facebook

Did you know that if Facebook were a country it would be the fourth largest in the world?  Facebook is the undisputed king of social media with over half a billion users estimated by December 2010.  Have you opened your restaurant location there yet?  The website Nation’s Restaurant News offers an excellent article on Facebook Tips for Restaurants. For those of you wondering what the hell social media is and what it’s good for, check out this video: … Read entire article »

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Butcher's Yield Worksheet

Great worksheet for calculating a Butcher’s Yield: Google Docs Link: Click Here For Excel Download: Butcher’s Yield Report … Read entire article »

Filed under: Chef Life, Free Templates & Downloads

The Right Way To Increase Motivation

Here is a superb video on the science behind motivation, and trust me when I tell you that you may be quite surprised by the results. This is an animated video of a talk given by Dan Pink at the TED Conference. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Chef Life, Kitchen Staff

How To Pick A Sales Rep

Do you pick your sales rep? If you’re like most people, you just take whichever salesman walks through the door when your looking for a vendor. Seems OK, right? Well, let me ask you this, would you place a help wanted ad in the paper and then just hire who ever walked in your door from the ad? Of course you wouldn’t! Your sales rep makes his living off commissions from your purchases, so in essence, he works for you and you should pick a rep just as you would an employee. If you are new or relatively inexperienced, you are going to want a very knowledgeable and experienced sales rep. However, just as an experienced employee demands a higher wage, a top salesman is going to cost you. My personal choice? … Read entire article »

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Crossing The "Fault" Line

Two Hundred guests had come to dinner that night for a prime rib dinner that was now way over cooked.  I was a sous chef at this time in my life and still had quite a bit to learn about management. Being young, arrogant and driven, I “knew” I was ready to be the chef of my own property, so this was a pretty big blow to my esteem.  The previous week, our dishwasher had been cleaning the alto-sham and must of turned the temperature dial up when he was wiping the front of the equipment. Then on the night we needed to cook the prime ribs, my cook seasoned the beef, through it into the alto-sham, set the timer and walked away never checking the temp. As dinner time approached  … Read entire article »

Filed under: Chef Life, Featured, Kitchen Staff

How to Kill the Motivation of your most Productive employee

Sometimes you just know that you blew it.  It’s funny that even if you know the right answers, you can still take the wrong actions.  By reacting to poor advice from a manager, I almost killed the motivation of one of my strongest employees. Here is how the scenario unfolded: In an impromptu meeting with one of our fellow managers, I was told how a particular employee seemed to have too much down time when I was off property and was playing around too much.  Most chefs have had to deal with this from time to time and many chefs deal with this weekly, and as a result get very little time off.  But this was especially troubling for me, as I pride myself on building teams and systems that enable … Read entire article »

Filed under: Chef Life, Kitchen Staff

The P.I.A Equation: 3 Ways To Lower Vendor Pricing

Do you know what determines the pricing you receive from your primary food vendors? Surely it’s some complicated algorithm that takes purchasing volume, average delivery size and location and then performs some mathematical magic and determines exactly what your pricing is….right?  Right? Well yes and no.  All of these factors play a part in your pricing, but the most important aspect of your pricing structure is your sales representative.  Most sales reps won’t admit to having anything to do with your pricing, much less admitting to being a major influencing factor in determining your price margins.  After all, it is far easier to act like there is nothing they can do and it’s big brother’s fault your prices are what they are. The truth is that the sales rep is the single … Read entire article »

Filed under: Chef Life, Chef's Office, Purchasing