My First Pt Employee Starts Friday, Advice??

Business By CAKESHERWAY Updated 17 Jun 2009 , 11:56pm by CAKESHERWAY

CAKESHERWAY Posted 16 Jun 2009 , 2:47am
post #1 of 11

I finally broke down and hired a young girl who loves to bake and comes from a family of decorators. She has no real training and has only used the old wilton tubes for decorating (I use bags) and has never used fondant. She is 14 yrs old. I also have an older lady (she used to cater) who has agreed to start doing the cleaning and possibly some of the baking (should I be brave enough to hand that duty over to someone).

Now, my kitchen (fully licensed) is SMAAALLL! Very organized and I run it smoothly but I am a bit nervouse of having another person in there with me. She starts on Wednesday and will work for 5 hrs. I have two large wedding cakes (both five tiered and very involved), a 3D Grooms cake and many party cake orders to complete. This is probably nothing to most of you but for me by myself (raising three small kids) it's A LOT! So I really need this employee thing to not only work well, but work well FAST!

Anyway, do you all have any advice for me at all in any area of dealing with new employees?? I have obsessed about this for several days now, very nervous to hand over any aspect of this business since it's my name at stake. I always turn to all of you for the very best in wisdom and advice and this is a big one for me so if you have any advice at all, please feel free to give it! Thanks so much!

10 replies
indydebi Posted 16 Jun 2009 , 3:07am
post #2 of 11

Some of this may seem obvious and may sound silly, but honestly it comes from "been there done that" with good and bad experiences.

Even tho' it's a small space, give 'em a tour. You'd be AMAZED at how many times I have to tell my new folks "that's the freezer, not the refrigerator!"

Explain what things go in the 'frig and what goes in the freezer. No kidding. Do it.

(At one of my fraternity caterings, I ran out of sausages at breakfast and I couldn't figure out why .. it should have worked! Then when we were packing up to leave after the weekend was over, I found a box of sausages in the freezer! They were suppose to put them in the refrigerator. I had to do some P/R work with the client because some idiot employee put the supplies in the wrong cold-space!)

Hand washing sinks are for washing hands. Only.

Give 'em a mini-food safety course. When to wash hands, why you wash hands, where the cleaning supplies & food safe gloves are stored, why you take your apron off before entering the restroom, HOW to put things in the refrigerator (i.e. I have to explain that produce goes on the top shelves and chicken & eggs go on the bottom shelf).

Does the 14 year old have long hair? Tell her to make sure she brings something to pull it back in a ponytail or she's wearing a hairnet (that threat alone will help her remember to bring the ponytail holder! icon_lol.gif ) Again, you wouldn't THINK you'd have to explain this .....

Tell them to "clean as you go". Seems logical and it seems like something you shouldn't have to tell people, but you do. I had one person who thought a sink was to stack dirty dishes in. She had no idea what the faucet was for or why I had a big dishwasher. And she thought nothing of leaving at the end of the day with a sink full of dishes that needed washed. Oh well ... DEBI will do it! icon_mad.gif

On your part, you need to know and understand that even tho' you now have help, at first it's going to go a little slower for you because you'll have to stop and explain things, find things and show her how to do things. Keep in mind it's a short term thing, but you'll start to feel a little frustration and that's normal.

You may also feel frustrated at some of the things you have to explain ..... I had to stop and remind myself that yes, *I* knew how to do that because I've been doing it for years, but others needed to be told and shown some things. (things like how to wrap things in saran wrap, how to scoop cookie dough, how to line things up on the workspace for best efficiency, etc.)

Dont' assign too many things to her at once. Again, you've been doing this a long time, she hasn't. Assign a task and give her time to learn and master it, then add to it. For example, it's her job to grease/prep your cake pans, and then to wash them afterward. you don't do that at all .... let her do ALL of it. It becomes her job and she will master it. I know how silly that sounds because greasing and prepping cake pans isn't brain surgery ... to us.

Sorry this was so long, but hope it helps a bit.

CAKESHERWAY Posted 16 Jun 2009 , 3:16am
post #3 of 11

oh man! You are so right and so many things I hadn't even thought of NEEDING to go over but so true! i was thinking I could teach her to do some FBCT after the tour but now I am thinking maybe that may be too much! I am hoping that she has some kitchen sense but who knows. I am a freak about the hair thing and made that clear today on the phone. Wow, so now I am really nervous! Excited to have the help eventually but nervouse I won't get everything done this week. Thanks so much indydeb! You R the BEST!

CAKESHERWAY Posted 16 Jun 2009 , 3:16am
post #4 of 11

oh man! You are so right and so many things I hadn't even thought of NEEDING to go over but so true! i was thinking I could teach her to do some FBCT after the tour but now I am thinking maybe that may be too much! I am hoping that she has some kitchen sense but who knows. I am a freak about the hair thing and made that clear today on the phone. Wow, so now I am really nervous! Excited to have the help eventually but nervouse I won't get everything done this week. Thanks so much indydeb! You R the BEST!

CAKESHERWAY Posted 16 Jun 2009 , 3:19am
post #5 of 11

oh man! You are so right and so many things I hadn't even thought of NEEDING to go over but so true! i was thinking I could teach her to do some FBCT after the tour but now I am thinking maybe that may be too much! I am hoping that she has some kitchen sense but who knows. I am a freak about the hair thing and made that clear today on the phone. Wow, so now I am really nervous! Excited to have the help eventually but nervouse I won't get everything done this week. Thanks so much indydeb! You R the BEST!

umgrzfn Posted 16 Jun 2009 , 3:31am
post #6 of 11

This might be a silly question...but what state do you live in that you can hire someone under the age of 16? My 14 y/o helps me but I certainly don't pay her! icon_biggrin.gif Well, of course she is my kid! icon_biggrin.gif Just curious.

indydebi Posted 16 Jun 2009 , 3:52am
post #7 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by CAKESHERWAY

i was thinking I could teach her to do some FBCT after the tour but now I am thinking maybe that may be too much!


This gave me a chuckle!

If it was me ....... She'd be doing the little things that take lots of time: prepping and washing pans, covering cake boards, emptying trash, washing up the dishes, keep the general area clean, sifting dry ingredients (I'm a mix baker so sifting the mixes would be a big help to me!), separating eggs.

As I decided to add cake stuff, it would probably be letting her dam and fill the cakes, then maybe crumb coating them (I mean you can't really mess that up can you?)

Just those little things will be a BIG help to you! You'll be amazed, no kidding.

Quote:
Quote:

My 14 y/o helps me but I certainly don't pay her!


Did you know ......? (and I have no idea if this is federal or state law) but my daughter works for me and because she is the owner's child, she only has to pay Fed Tax out of her check. No state, no social security, just federal tax. She and another girl had a paycheck with 10 hours on it and my daughter has over $9 more in take home pay than the other girl for the same hours. So it translates into almost an extra $1/hour for her.

umgrzfn Posted 16 Jun 2009 , 3:55am
post #8 of 11

Hmmm, interesting. I actually didn't know that. Thank god my 14 y/o doesn't know that....jk! icon_biggrin.gif In all serious, that's kinda cool!

snarkybaker Posted 16 Jun 2009 , 10:02am
post #9 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by CAKESHERWAY

I finally broke down and hired a young girl who loves to bake and comes from a family of decorators. She has no real training and has only used the old wilton tubes for decorating (I use bags) and has never used fondant. She is 14 yrs old. I also have an older lady (she used to cater) who has agreed to start doing the cleaning and possibly some of the baking (should I be brave enough to hand that duty over to someone).

Now, my kitchen (fully licensed) is SMAAALLL! Very organized and I run it smoothly but I am a bit nervouse of having another person in there with me. She starts on Wednesday and will work for 5 hrs. I have two large wedding cakes (both five tiered and very involved), a 3D Grooms cake and many party cake orders to complete. This is probably nothing to most of you but for me by myself (raising three small kids) it's A LOT! So I really need this employee thing to not only work well, but work well FAST!

Anyway, do you all have any advice for me at all in any area of dealing with new employees?? I have obsessed about this for several days now, very nervous to hand over any aspect of this business since it's my name at stake. I always turn to all of you for the very best in wisdom and advice and this is a big one for me so if you have any advice at all, please feel free to give it! Thanks so much!




14 year olds cannot work in a kitchen. It is against federal law for them to be in a work environment with equipment that generates temperatures in excess of 140 degrees.

Texas_Rose Posted 16 Jun 2009 , 11:05am
post #10 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by snarkybaker


14 year olds cannot work in a kitchen. It is against federal law for them to be in a work environment with equipment that generates temperatures in excess of 140 degrees.




http://www.dol.gov/elaws/esa/flsa/docs/haznonag.asp

I used to work for my dad in the restaurants he managed when I was 14, but because of the laws, he didn't even let me walk through the kitchen...I just did front-of-the-house stuff.

CAKESHERWAY Posted 17 Jun 2009 , 11:56pm
post #11 of 11

Hmmm... didn't know or even think about the age/law/kitchen aspect. I will have to give her a call, and call me retired neighbor next door instead! She's got experience in the catering business so it will probably work out better anyway. Thanks again for all the great advice!!!!

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