Frustrating medium between line cooking and fast food.
Line Cook (Former Employee), Calgary – October 1, 2013
Pros: independent work with little management supervision. good food.
Cons: working long hours to complete meal rushes. management had no idea what happens in the kitchen.
I worked at a newly opening franchise of Smashburger over the summer. The restaurant offers gourmet burgers in a setting that is halfway between fast food and a sit-down restaurant. Customers order and pay at a till, but are served their food with a goal ticket time of under six minutes.
A typical day include food prep for several hours before the restaurant opened as well as cooking duties when necessary.
Some of my co-workers were fantastic while others were terrible. The main problem was that some treated the job as low effort fast food work. Yes the food is served quickly, but most everything is cooked and prepped fresh, so shoddy/slow prep and cooking slows the whole kitchen down.
Dealing with management was extremely frustrating because they put more emphasis on the speed of cooking than the quality of food. Because of the type of meat used, it was okay for the burgers cooked to have some pink in the middle, and the temperature we were originally supposed to cook burgers to reflected that. However, the franchise was in Canada and customers weren't used to pink, so we increased our recommended internal temperature because burgers were often sent back. Even though our cooking times were now longer, our goal ticket time was not altered to reflect that.
Because of the time pressure, cooks would sometimes take shortcuts to get food out faster---especially during dinner/lunch rushes. Management didn't approve, but in circumstances when an employee no-showed and management helped with cooking duties, they would use the exact same shortcuts when cooking. In one instance, an – more... employee was working the grill and a manager asked him about two burgers that were approaching the time goal. The employee said that he taken their internal temperatures and that they needed more time, but the manager replied, 'they're done, I can see it, just take them off'. The burgers were served and then both returned for being under-cooked. The manager then told the employee to get off the grill and replaced him because of the under-cooked burgers.
As a whole, the management had little idea about what went on in the kitchen or which of their workers were more effective. They were reasonably pleasant people but made poor decisions because of their lack of knowledge. – less