There was a very interesting article in The New Yorker last week that spoke very highly of a
Although he never set out to accomplish such heights, David Chang is preparing to open his third
Back then the noodle house, as we have come to know it today, was simply a Chinese or Japanese couple, frequently joined by a handful or less of siblings, preparing the foods of their homeland at the stove as counter dwellers waiting with high culinary anticipation discussed the $6.00 entrée price. There was always an illegal refrigerator- by New York City Health Department standards, behind a fabric curtain that crookedly hung on an expandable rod from Third Ave. Bazaar.
The chicken was always fresh, the vegetables were usually purchased at the corner, and the sauces were secretly passed on from generation to generation. The recipes were also passed down from the relatives in the country of origin.
Chang will be opening over the next few months, according to the article and has visions of authenticity for his counter spot.
One of the interesting points in the article refers to Chang’s front of the house manager, Cory Lane. Lane manages servers, setup, and beverages at all three restaurants. According to the article Lane went to cooking school, decided he wasn’t a good cook and became a wine expert. Which brings us to an important point about staffing and qualifications: don’t pigeon hole your staff if they have qualifications to fill other positions in your organization than they were originally hired.
Staff cross training and promoting from within your staff to fill vacant positions not only resolves staffing problems faster but also sets a professional example for those who work for your organization. Letting those who work for you know they have a possible future in management, and that they have the ability to move up your management’s ladder, makes people work harder and better. In turn, that makes your job easier and allows you the time and ability to build a better management structure and foundation.
The difficulties we all deal with in a world as creative and flexible as the restaurant biz is getting people to realize that there is a future in the business and that it isn’t just one big party.
Just yesterday I was speaking to a bright guy who had been a manager for 12 years before throwing in the towel and changing careers completely. He was managing a district of fast food restaurants and the "kids" as he called them, had little respect for their jobs, the management or their bosses. They were just passing through. I am sure nobody ever explained they would have a job with the organization after high school, could work summer during college, and possibly come back after graduation and begin a management training program.
If the company had addressed the youth that worked for them in that way, they probably wouldn’t have lost a manager they invested twelve years in.