Oct. 11, 2022

212: Chef Jeremy Leinen: Overcoming Business Challenges in the Hospitality Industry

212: Chef Jeremy Leinen: Overcoming Business Challenges in the Hospitality Industry

As the Executive Chef at Park Ridge Country Club in Chicago, Jeremy Leinin must grapple with the squandered human capital of the industry and a lack of skilled workers amid a pandemic crisis. In this episode, you will learn 1. How the food service industry reacted to the challenges of the COVID pandemic 2. The potential consequences of the labor shortage in the food service industry 3. The importance of quality of life for employees in the food service industry

"My gut reaction at the time was that we were going to have to gut our staffs and still find a way to do everything that we always had to do anyway."

This is Chef Jeremy Leinin's story...


Chef Jeremy Leinin is the head chef aPark Ridge Country Club in Chicago. He discusses how the pandemic has affected his business. He talks about how the industry is facing a crisis with a lack of skilled workers. He also talks about how the industry has squandered human capital for a long time.


In this episode, you will learn the following:

1. How the food service industry is expected to react to the challenges of the COVID pandemic

2. The potential consequences of the labor shortage in the food service industry

3. The importance of quality of life for employees in the food service industry


Resources:

Chef Jeremy on Linkedin


Chapter Summaries:

[00:00:00] - Business is picking up in the industry lately. However, it's not quite back to normal yet because people are still recovering from the flu pandemic that has affected the industry recently “everybody thinks the pandemic is over, but obviously, it is not. “


[00:00:30] - COVID closed for a month around St. Patrick's Day last year. It was supposed to be two weeks, but it turned out to be a lot longer. The club was closed for about a month, and then it slowly came back with golf, a limited-to-go program, and a limited card offering.


[00:01:50] - There's a six-week period between late April, May, and early June when everybody wants to do everything all at once. The weather is nice, so the weather is good, and golf is busy. People are having weddings and graduation parties. The pool opens, and it's pretty much all systems go all at the same time. The COVID and the staffing challenges we had hit a fever pitch for us at the club for a minute.


[00:05:11] - Kobe didn't lose too many staff members during the shutdown. He was proud of how the club stepped up and cared for the staff. Over time, he lost a couple of people due to the lack of banquets. He will read some of your articles in Club and Resort Chef magazine.


[00:07:30] - There are some positive trends in the food service industry that give him more optimism about the future of the industry. He has worked under four different GMs in the 17 years he's been in the industry, and he's seen different mentalities. The way he's reacted to the short staffing that he's had has changed his tune about things. Being a cook is hard work and doesn't pay very well. Many skilled professionals have to work two jobs just to not live in poverty. The industry has to figure out the crisis it's up against right now because it's not glamorous and hard work.


[00:13:17] - There is a labor shortage in the food industry. The industry has squandered human capital for a long time. It's going to take a lot more than pay increases to solve the problem. Some people in the industry always want to be detached from their families. They want to put food on the table and take care of their families. Paul Sorgel talked about the fact that the industry doesn't invest in its people like it used to. Most operations can't afford to do that. In his current operation, only sous chefs were allowed to cut meat, and nobody else knew how to do it.


[00:20:47] - In the future, the industry is going to change dramatically, especially with the shift towards casual dining and quick-service restaurant concepts. The industry is hyper-competitive, and it devalues its own product and its own skill set. It's also trying to undercut each other and be more efficient.


[00:24:43] - In the article ”take charge of your career,”. There are six lessons for people who want to have a more fulfilling career. One of them is the idea of servant leadership. In the culinary world, it's a little different than what most people are used to. In a leadership position, your success is defined by the success of your subordinates.


[00:28:11] - Chef explains to staff how to be patient and not get too worked up over one day without going according to plan. He reminds staff that tomorrow is a new day, and they can start over.


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Other episodes you'll enjoy:

Kriss Hall of The Burnt Chef Project

The Great Reset


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