In most businesses, the value of an employee isn’t realized until they are gone. However, in the culinary world the realization that an employee’s exit has affected the business, the staff’s morale, and the appearance of a place often is realized by the customer before the owner or new management feels or acknowledges the loss.
I have never been one to mourn over the loss of an employee. In my decade of culinary dependency I only realized two losses that were in my mind, horrendous. I dealt with both differently. The first was when the first real chef I ever hired, David Wetzel came to me to tell me he was leaving. His idea of a greener pasture at the time was the kitchen at
The exit killed me inside as I saw great thing for this kid. I wanted to ruin his life by possibly selling him a restaurant, one day.
The second crushing blow came almost eight years later when my long time manager, Brad Colvin decided to throw his last towel into the last dirty linen bag and go to grad school.
A fool, I thought. Grad school? When he had it all at my fast food barbecue beef brisket joint on
Both of the establishments they left suffered from the loss for a short period of time. And, I eventually became a better operator because of the responsibilities I had to relearn upon their leaving.
Everyone isn’t as fortune as I was. It was just about a year ago, that Rob Goldberg left the Plump Jack group to seek those greener pastures. And his leaving that group was immediately felt. The staff of all of the Plump Jack properties respected and enjoyed his leadership capabilities and his attention to details was obvious. Yet, of late, his absence is even more prevalent.
On a recent visit to the Balboa Caf?, an institution on
Looking back, I realize how important Wetzel and Colvin were to me. Yesterday, I also realized Goldberg’s ability to keep a staff focused on what a successful restaurant needs to do to stay at the top of its game.