Tuesday, May 23, 2006 by Ospite.

3pm marks our slow period between lunch and dinner... slow meaning few customers meander in, This is the hour that all our business issues get taken care of. The tech is in updating our computer system. The new cleaning crew is getting instructions from my boss on how to properly clean the sauté section of the kitchen. And applicants for summer jobs are coming in droves.

I've begun sorting the applicants into "yes" and "no" piles. Let's begin with some hints from the trattoria's first line of defense against the onslaught of eager wannabe restauranteurs:

1. Bring your own pen. When an applicant asks to borrow one from me, they'll get a cold look as well as a reluctant writing utensil. Nothing says that you're not ready for the job faster than not being prepared enough to fill out the application without assistance. And don't you dare "forget" to return my pen. Either offense will get a note written on the top of the app. that says "didn't bring pen" or "forgot pen and stole mine." A note like that will get you in the "No" pile with ease.

2. Dress appropriately. For a woman - Showing excessive cleavage and enough thigh that your buttocks almost emerges from the skirt no longer gets you the job. I don't want bimbos working the floor. Dressing sexy to entice me into an interview simply tells me that you've gotten where you are in life based on your good looks alone. It also tells me you'll try and cut corners because you're beautiful and think you can get away with it. Remember that you'll be wearing an apron, oxford shirt, and black pants along with a tie... The curves are barely noticeable. Respect, dignity, responsibility, intelligence, outgoing demeanor. Remember those words, for they will land you a second interview. For a man - No jeans please. You don't need a suit, but don't think that just because you wander in to fill out an app. doesn't mean you're being judged from the moment the door opens. Shirt and tie. Dress for the job. Unless you plan on being a dishwasher. In which case, be awake, alert, off drugs, make eye contact, and know at least 100 words in English.

3. Come during an appropriate time. Don't walk into the middle of the lunch rush expecting to receive an application, fill it out, and talk to the manager. In fact, don't come in at that time expecting anything other than a table and a good meal. Showing up during a rush tells us you have no restaurant experience. No amount of pináche will make up for that mistake. "No" pile. Monday through Thursday, 2pm to 4pm. If you're unsure, call ahead.

4. Ask the right questions. How many tables are there per section? When are your busiest times? How many waiters do you employ presently? What shifts are you looking to fill? Are you looking for anything particular from your waitstaff I should be aware of? etc. Meaningful questions that give us a glimpse at your work ethic and sincerity. Sell yourself, but subtly.

As a rule, my restaurant doesn't hire summer help. They look for qualified people to make some amount of commitment to the trattoria. Writing this only reminds me of the 5 people who stated they'd return tomorrow to speak with the Service Manager, even though I explained he wouldn't be available. It's going to be a long day tomorrow.


Blogger pherring said...

I am a dishwasher. I love my job. Do I still want to be washing dishes in 30 years... god no... I'll hopefully be in management by then.

10:18 PM  

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At your service, Ospite

I am not in the restaurant business, I am in the people business. I use every opportunity to people watch, because to me, even the most mundane is fascinating.

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