If you’ve built up a good rapport with your staff, then you’d hope that they would give notice when they’re ready to move on to another job, but unfortunately, that’s not always the case.

For whatever reason, your chef may decide to leave without warning, perhaps because they have been offered something better, or have had enough of their working conditions. As the owner of a hotel or restaurant, a blow like that can be damaging to your business, but if you are prepared and follow these steps, you’ll be back on your feet as soon as possible…

Advertise for a new chef

Before you do anything else, you should advertise your vacancy as soon as you can to find the best possible replacement. As well as putting your job on all of the generic job sites, we recommend working with a chef recruitment agency who can provide you with experienced and time-served candidates who will slot into your existing operation without challenges. By outsourcing your recruitment, you won’t have to waste time – you’ll simply be presented with a handful of suitable applicants who you can meet and interview before picking a favorite.

Speak with your other staff

Now that you’ve got the hard part out of the way, you should arrange an emergency meeting with your staff to work out what happened and make sure they’re satisfied in their roles. If a key member of staff leaves your company, then it’s your responsibility to check that everyone else is happy – the last thing you want to happen is for your entire kitchen brigade to walk out on you, especially before an event where you cannot afford to be short-staffed.

Reach out to the chef who quit

No matter how frustrated you are with their decision to quit your kitchen, you should make the effort to reach out to the chef who quit and ask them why. Even if they’re not comfortable meeting up, it’s good to collect feedback and get to the bottom of their decision. If they quit because of their working conditions or relationships with upper management, then you need to know, or the chances are that your next head chef will follow in a similar pattern.

Consider changing it up in the kitchen

Rather than trying to replace your head chef in the kitchen, consider the benefits of giving an existing member of the team pay rise and promotion. Showing your time that you promote inwardly rather than replacing staff will be motivational and encourage the whole team to work harder, and the chances are that your second-in-command will be good enough to run the kitchen on their own. Be sensible, though: don’t promote staff for the sake of promoting.

Review your processes and benefits

Finally, take a long hard look at your current recruitment and staff processes and your pay and benefits scheme. If your head chef quit because of low pay, then it might be time to give your team pay rise and look for ways to cut or recoup costs elsewhere. The hospitality industry is becoming increasingly competitive, and you cannot afford to hemorrhage staff.

Whatever you decide to do next, we wish you the next best of luck. With some hard work and honest, brutal conversations, you can get to the bottom of the problems within your establishment and create a more positive working environment for everyone involved.