The New Bakers Dozen
The trouble with management:<

The The Bakers Dozen: The trouble with management:<
By mikebel on Wednesday, August 11, 1999 - 09:12 pm: Edit

Ok heres the problem we have a new "sales and marketing manager"e.g one of the directors sons who is making working in the kitchen a sort of living hell.We do a awesome cold set cheesecake which is leading the market at moment in terms of wholesale output the reason being is because we actually use cream cheese in our product along with anglaise and meringue unlike the competitors which use a disgusting pre-mix for theres it tastes like plastic and has the texture of furry yoghurt.Customers have changed to ours because they like it no surprise there but the sales guy wants to cut costs eg cutting quality and use a pre-mix.What is a pastry chef to do make •••• all day or move on find something else.

By mikebel on Wednesday, August 11, 1999 - 09:21 pm: Edit

O k the easy thing would be to move on right but heres the tricky part the other partner is a awesome chef who use to work as head chef for the roux brothers and his wealth of knowledge is amazing but he does not have enough clout to push the point on the cheesecakes he just gets told no i think he must not have the same financial investment as the others. The patisserie started off as one of the superior ones in the country but now with the cost cutting going on (only to make a greater profit margin ) any constructive comments would be appreciated. ~~~~~~mike~~~~~~

By jeee2 on Wednesday, August 11, 1999 - 11:08 pm: Edit

Look at it like this,cheesecake is garbage anyway.
You have to be astute about these issues or it'll crimp a career. When you own your own shop you can make the very best but by then you'll have learned to look at the food cost and what sort of margins you're working in.

The best possible product made from the absolute finest ingredients available can be a recipe for failure.

Making good products with ingredients that are adequate for the work at hand is what its all about, thats what I call skill.

Do what they want, see if sales are affected, make a mental note and fuhgedabowdit.

Cheers(yeah, I'm on vacation) Gerard.

By mikebel on Thursday, August 12, 1999 - 12:41 am: Edit

hmmmmmm point taken but when the tosser is fobbing it off for the same price as the real thing????

also i believe if you have already opened the market up with a superior product then downgrade that product your customers will not be looking at coming back again and as they say any idiot can sell something once,as for the costings believe me we were making a decent mark up on the product while taking over a market which existed made up of •••• product why go back to a market already catered for,make the best you can with what you can,and the skills you are equipped with you cant go wrong people are always prepared to pay a little extra for quality.

By jeee2 on Thursday, August 12, 1999 - 02:51 am: Edit

True, if you downgrade established products the customer will notice,but it can be done and I've done it successfully.

Maybe just for mental exercise you can crunch some numbers and see if you could do cheesecakes from home, se if theres enough profit to justify the way you'd like to bake them. We started our bakery from my partners apt (TINY APT) so it can be done if the product is right for the situation.
The sad thing ,and I've seen it often, is you can go to the same customers with a superior product and they don't care, they just want what works.
Most times you have to catch them mad at the current supplier.
Its a very tough game to win at, I agree with your concern but have seen it and done it so many times that its nothing you can't deal with, I wouldn't quit the job over it. Move on when its time to move on for better reasons.

Regards, Gerard

By W.DeBord on Thursday, August 12, 1999 - 08:25 am: Edit

Move on when its time to move on for better reasons! Your name isn't on the door, yet. Always learn everything you can.Your taking this personally, its business and business always wins.If you stay, you will get to see what happens from these "business men",you will learn from them as well as the master baker. Mistakes made, teach us the best lessons of all.If you have to be a perfectionist (as do I) look at your career, do it right.
P.S. Gerard are you getting a lovely tan from the light of your computor? No getting out of dodge?

By mikebel on Thursday, August 12, 1999 - 05:21 pm: Edit

Thanx i try not to take the job personally but most people in our job circles find this hard not to do,you plan something like a new range of desserts or a wedding cake you finish your shift, idont know about you guys but i go home and i sometimes cant get to sleep because i have new ideas and combinations running thru my mind, when i get into work i work with the other chefs and at the end of the day i like to look back on what ive done and think to myself that ive done a good job and have done the best of my current skillsand look to improve on what i have done.It just bugs me when little daddys boy comes in and doesnt even try to see it this way he couldnt care less if he had dum asses off the street making pre-mix. ps making the cheese cake at home could be tricky when you are 80 kilos of cream cheese a day eg 160 finished and glazed 9"rnd cheesecakes a day
:) methinks i might have to trade the bench mixer in :) ~~~~~mike~~~~~~

By jeee2 on Thursday, August 12, 1999 - 06:05 pm: Edit


The most we delivered was about 20-30 cakes, they sold for $20 ea, 3 deliveries a week, do the numbers.
Its more than you need to make a living, the bank was impressed when we applied for a loan.
Without commercial overhead you only need $80K a yr to do well. Its very do-able.

Regards, Gerard

By mikebel on Friday, August 13, 1999 - 12:10 am: Edit

i see where u are coming from gerard, one more question with suppling food from home to an establishment which charges for this food did you need a premises licence e.g food and safety/health inspection? ~~~~~~~~~mike~~~~~~~~~

By W.DeBord on Friday, August 13, 1999 - 08:44 am: Edit

Off the track:keep the bench mixer. We just got a new Hobart.What a pain in the rear this newer design is.It has a safety guard that must be in place or the thing won't turn on. The guard won't allow you to add ingred. while the machine is running.There is not even a shoot to use.Up lever takes it downward,and visa versa. Major pain to clean!!! Law suits have caused this our rep says.When we cut a whole in this crazy guard so we can use the machine while it's running (as you must), should we sue them if we cut our finger? The world has gone crazy.

By DEV on Friday, August 13, 1999 - 09:24 am: Edit

The world has gone crazy with liability law. I live in NC and I was recently able to buy three new 12qt hobarts without the safety shields. I don't know if they just had them in the warehouse or what but I was mighty pleased to get them.
Your maintenance guy should be able to take it off and disable the switch. this may void the warranty but you've already cut a hole in so the damage is done. Anyway hobarts last forever.

By jeee2 on Friday, August 13, 1999 - 10:09 am: Edit


Need a license yeh, don't mention it, don't talk about it and don't get publicity hungry and don't do something stupid like walk down the street with open trays of product.
My partner did that and was spotted by an inspector, she ignored him and drove off but it was a close call.
Geta copy of the health code from town hall and learn it. I never ask the health dept a question I don't already know the answer to, you'd be surprised how they'll try to pull one over on you.

REgards, Gerard

By Susan Duff (Suelee) on Saturday, August 14, 1999 - 08:04 am: Edit

Hey Gerard

The 20-30 cakes per week sounds like what I'm going to end up making ( & not in a springform thanks to you!!) for one restaurant ( two locations) and 2 other clients. Did you guys have an electric oven when you started in that tiny apartment? Do you use electric now? I prefer natural gas for cooking, but it isn't available on the street where I live. Thanks for any info

By mikebel on Sunday, August 15, 1999 - 06:54 pm: Edit

I know what you guys mean about the grill on the front of the hobarts we bought a new one last month 80 qt, and that grill is a pain in the butt, one of the guys said that there is a magnet in the back top of the grill which is what activates the mixer so if you were to attach that magnet there and get rid of the rest of the grill that might work(head chef wont let us play around with his new mixer e.g sawing and welding things on, i dont blame him either) ~~~~~~~~~mike~~~~~~~~~~~~

By jeee2 on Sunday, August 15, 1999 - 07:59 pm: Edit


We had a very small gas oven but elec will do the trick too. You should be able to handle 60 cakes a week with no big problems, you might need to locate a source for boxes and suppliers for eggs etc. We were on the 4th floor of an apt building with no elevator, a lot of schleppin.
Also we only had a tiny 5qt kitchenaid.

Regards, Gerard

By W.DeBord on Monday, August 16, 1999 - 07:13 am: Edit

Mikebel I'm still just dreaming of getting the guard cut. We don't have a maintenance department, just the bartender with his hammer. It won't be cut until the chef has had to make mashed potatos. Waiting for them to get frustrated also.
Has anyone found a successful way to pull that ---- off and out of there?

By George Cook (George) on Monday, August 16, 1999 - 08:53 am: Edit

A magnet is a magnet. I would think there is no need to cut off the original. Go to a hardware store and pick up a small strong magnet and use some glue or something to attach it. One caution would be to make sure it doesn't get into a batch of anything.

By W.DeBord on Monday, August 16, 1999 - 10:45 pm: Edit

Ha! Nice caution! Yeh, a magnet might be hard to explain to a customer. Back to the drawing board.I'd like to cut the solid metal shield off the back (it's sharp),the goofy cooling rack/shield off the front and all the little bumps and corners that snag me and become encrusted with food. I miss my old friend, it may have been smaller with a slight stutter but it never got in my way.

By Matt (Matt) on Tuesday, August 17, 1999 - 11:13 pm: Edit

We had to put the cage on our 60 qt Hobart. OSHA nailed us with a pre inspection and recommened to us to have one installed. Hate it.


By jeee2 on Tuesday, August 17, 1999 - 11:26 pm: Edit

OSHA are idiots, you probably have to comply due to the number of employees you have,.
Expect a lot of their bungling to go away if republicans get in the white house.
Whats next? fire fighter hats for oven guys.?

If they come here I'm calling my congressman.

Regards, Gerard

By W.DeBord on Wednesday, August 18, 1999 - 08:46 am: Edit

Gerard I can just picture us in fireman hats! HA!

By jeee2 on Wednesday, August 18, 1999 - 09:06 am: Edit


..and no more knives, they are too dangerous.
Surely you aren't planning on pulling that boiled sugar by HAND ?
I'm seriously considering suing myself, pulling sugar for years has made me panic when I see sugar packets. I'm disabled.!

Cheers, Gerard

By W.DeBord on Thursday, August 19, 1999 - 08:35 am: Edit

I'm seriously unhappy with this garbage!!! It was their problem getting sued by idiots looking for deep pockets. If they could have gotten good lawyers to show how insane those law suits were we would still be able to purchase a good product. So they put the problem on all of us by adding crazy safety features. Knowing everyone would make changes which would cancel their warente(sp?). Or Hobart found an engineer who didn't own a clue on what people used a mixer for.
Garbage cans have safety labeling on them, why couldn't they just add on the usual warnings?
Just wait all of you!!! One day your hobart will need to be replaced. You'll go as crazy as I have gone!

By mad baker on Thursday, August 19, 1999 - 04:28 pm: Edit

to hell with OSHA , a bunch of god damn nazi fascist liberals ........

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