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Cooking & Restaurant Management/What to do with 2 bosses that don't cooperate with each other


QUESTION: Hi Mr Summers,

My husband is working at a chain restaurant as a cook, he has 2 sous chef that control the whole BOH operations. One is acting as the head chef temporarily and 1 is supposed to control all the kitchen.

However for the past few months there's been some conflict in the scheduling, while the kitchen sous chef wants my husband to start working at 7 but the acting head chef always scheduled him start at 8. There are some occasions that even my husband comes at 7, but the acting head chef just cut his hours and ignore the extra hours he put in working.

My husband tried to talk to the kitchen sous chef so he can talk to the acting head chef about his schedules, but nothing has change. I am worried that it will impact my husband's relationship with both bosses and jeopardizing his career.

Another facts is that we know that both sous chef are planned to move eventually to other locations, but we never be sure. What should my husband do in this situation?

Thank you,

ANSWER: First of all, depending on where you are located, the employee schedule is a legal document and he cannot have his pay cut if he worked his schedule. If he shows up at 7am to work his scheduled shift, he must be paid for it. There are no exceptions to this.

Secondly, you need to talk to the owner/Area Manager/GM and let him know what's going on. He has liability for their actions and needs to know so he can take action.

Third, if one is the "acting chef" then your husband should attempt to explain his situation and ask that the chef clarify with the sous, exactly what the level of expectation is and how critical it is for them to be on the same page. It would help if he went with other BOH employees for the simple fact that they all are surely involved to some degree or another.

Lastly, do nothing. I'm not one to sit back and let things devolve into chaos but this is an option. You know they're leaving and most likely the owner/GM knows the conflicts exist but has simply decided to ignore them. But only you know.

Stay focused and positive.

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QUESTION: Hi Mr Summers,

We live in Vancouver, Canada

Thank you for your response, but about the pay cut it is because the acting head chef schedule my husband at 8am, but most of the time the kitchen sous chef ask my husband to come earlier at 7am, there are no changes in the employee schedule, expect for the receipt he got when he clock in and out but the next day, even the data on the computer will change and cut the hour that he was not in schedule. My husband already talk to the kitchen sous chef so he can work it out with the acting head chef, but the situation is not changing.

Both sous chef will move to other locations with promotions. But it could take another 6 months, we are worried that if my husband keep coming earlier by request, he will be considered not following the rules, but if his not following the request, he will be considered as not cooperative. And we certainly do not want to burn the bridges by something like this. What should my husband do?

Thank you,

If a manager or supervisor asked you to come in early, you have two choices: do so and get paid for it or decline the request and don't go in. You're not required to honor requests to come in earlier than your posted schedule says so. I did notice that you did not mention whether or not you spoke with the GM/Area Manager/Owner? If you can't get a satisfactory answer from either sous, you should go up the ladder until you do.

As for not following the rules, he was asked by a supervisor to come in early, doing so or not is not a violation of any rules.

I won't tell you what to do. That has to be your decision. All I can do is lay out your options. There is no magic answer here - you have to decide what's best for you and do it or just accept the situation and wait 6 months and hope the situation improves - although there's no guarantee it won't be even worse.

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Jeffrey Summers


I am the Founder & Owner of Summers Hospitality Group. We have over 300 years of successful experience in operating and consulting with chain, franchise and independent restaurant & hotel operators around the world. Check us out on the web for more information at http://SummersHospitality.Group or call us toll free at 888-998-8744.


We have experience on any topic related to the restaurant & hospitality industry - from Menu R&D, Menu Engineering, Marketing Strategies, New Store Openings, P&L Analysis, Lease Negotiations, Staffing, Policies & Procedures, Building & Design, Site Location, Branding, PR & Promotions, Multi-Unit Development, and any other area effecting the operation of your business.

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I hold degrees in Economics, English, Culinary Arts and industry certifications in Hospitality Management and Restaurant & Catering Management.

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