Sunday, May 30, 2010

In the Trenches

I don't watch much TV and am unfamiliar with what's on these days so I'm surfing through the channels and come upon a show called, "Boss Undercover". It's a show where the CEO or President of the company is hired as an entry level employee and discovers what it's like to work in the trenches.

This episode followed the CEO of White Castle as he was hired and trained in the company bakery and pulling shifts in a unit. Bob, (I think) the CEO seemed like a nice guy. White Castle is a family company and Bob is the current family member to run the company. Probably had a privileged upbringing, good college, middle management job upon graduation and then be groomed to lead the company. (For anyone in Racine this story may sound familiar) It literally appeared as though Dave never stepped foot in a unit. He was completely inept at all the tasks he was supposed to perform. In the bakery he was tasked to package the buns. They had to toss 22,000 buns because he couldn't do it properly. I understand a CEO's job isn't packaging buns or working the drive through but you'd think anyone with any smarts could grasp the concepts.

The most interesting part of the show was what Bob discovered while working in a White Castle. He discovered that the people that work there are dedicated, proficient, smart, hard working people. Generally speaking I'd say that covers most restaurant employees. A segment of society that many people look down upon. A close knit group that's foreign to people in the real world. Most restaurant workers are goal oriented who find real life frustrating or unattainable. You sink or swim on your merritts, the purest form of work. There are two kinds of people in this world, restaurant workers and the rest. If I were to build an army I'd recruit restaurant workers. We would crush the rest of the world while they were deciding when to have the meeting. Real life people just seem lazy to me. I also find it very difficult to socialize with anyone who isn't in the business. Not only do they seem lazy to me they seem to think they're owed something, or are above doing what we do. I guess sitting on your ass in an office or cubicle makes people think they're special. Well, I guess they are.............if they tip.


Anonymous said...

i agree being a chef for 28 years i can say most people in the restaurant business are hard working driven from the ground up to learn new things every day a passion for there craft and respect for other chef's .
but i like hanging around people who have a passion for what they do in any field .
Chef Lance

RAHiggins1 said...

My wife calls us "Carnies".

Foodprotege said...

You forget "loyal" as well. If the kitchen has a strong leader the rest will follow suite. I have worked with guys who generally disliked each other on a personal level, but when it came down to the Chef asking them to get something done for the good of the kitchen, they worked together like brothers. Seen people completely disagree with the Chef (myself included) yet carry out his commands to a T. Carnies is a good analogy too. I agree people tend to look down own kitchen folk. That's why I ALWAYS treat everyone who works for me or with me in the kitchen as family. Seems many "new age" chefs I work with treat dishwashers and lower level cooks like sh.... I am only 30 but I never came up in kitchens like that as a teen.
And more so most people have absolutely NO clue what goes on or what kind of work it takes to produce some of the food they bitch about being over priced, etc. Indicative of the show you mentioned.

Scott Sebastian said...

Good point about the young turks.
I doubt they started at the bottom.

I talk about "foundation" constantly. If you want to build a foundation for a kitchen staff it starts at the bottom. The dishwasher. I have a soft spot for those guys. After all, it's where I started.

Doesn't mean the chef has to have been a dishwasher. I means he has to treat them like he started as a dishwasher. The rest will follow suit and so and so on.

Also when I see the guys not getting along I find a common enemy for them to bitch about. Me.

Scott Sebastian said...

P.S. Start posting on that blog of yours dude!