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David Hensley

Is it wrong to expect more professionalism from restaurant owners?

9 posts in this topic

I recently quit a job at a local Country Club, for too many reasons to mention here. I took a bit of time off, just to spend with the girlfriend, and my kids, and after a couple of weeks, began the usual routine of both pounding the pavement with a fist full of resumes, and for the first time ever, seeking employment electronically. I sent my qualifications out to about 20 employers, received about zero responses, and managed to find a low-paying job at a local Italian cafe. 

 

A week into the new job, I get a call from a recruiter, for an Exec position that I sent in almost 2 months ago. I speak with the recruiter, and shortly after, the owner of said restaurant. I like what he has to say, but he wants me to drop everything, and come for a 3 day audition that very weekend, just 2 days away. I immediately go into scramble mode, and manage to arrange almost everything I need...except the free time from my current job. Due to schedule requests, and other variables, taking the weekend off isn't really feasible. This doesn't upset me at all. I call my prospective new employer early the next morning, on his personal cell, no less, and explain that I'll need to reschedule the interview, if at all possible. He says that its no problem, and that 3rd and 4th (this was on 06-18, mind you) would be fine for him. We agree on the dates, I thank him again, and he says "We'll see you on Tuesday and Wednesday...", and we part ways.

It occurs to me less than 18 hours afterward, that the 3rd and 4th are a Thursday and Friday, so I immediately try to contact this owner, and get no answer, so I leave a detailed voice mail. I repeat this call 4 more times in the following week-and-a-half, leaving identical, detailed messages each time.

 

Today, I call 3 more times, finally getting in touch with this owner as I'm getting ready to head to work. He informs me that he "finally" got my messages on this past Saturday morning, but "just hadn't gotten around to calling you back", and that if I was still interested, that I would need to be there at 10am tomorrow morning. I will not be there, I'm afraid.

 

My real question is this: Why did he give me his personal number, if he doesn't check his messages regularly? If I make a serious professional effort to contact him, to clarify his own mistake, why do I not receive any response until less than 24 full hours before I'm expected?

 

Maybe I'm wrong, but I sincerely feel this guy to be out of line, and completely UN-professional in his current manner of business dealings. I hate to miss out on an opportunity of this size, but realize that pattern of behavior, and lack of accountability to be just a few of the reasons that I left my last long-term job at the CC.

 

Am I wrong here? I'll gladly accept any feedback, either for, or against my stance...I'm just very curious as to how everyone else would react here...

 

 


I'm a lifelong professional chef. If that doesn't explain some of my mental and emotional quirks, maybe you should see a doctor, and have some of yours examined...

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I'd be frustrated too. Crazy situation to be in, but a revealing one just the same. The guy will disappoint you.  And now you know it going into the job, which is an advantage.

 

I've never had a boss who was perfect.  They're going to piss you off sometimes. But you gotta work somewhere.

 

Might as well have a boss at a good job who pisses you off.


Edited by gfweb (log)
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Sounds like a supply and demand thing. There are most likely many other applicants (Executive Chef? Good restaurant? Many, many other applicants), and the boss thinks he can do what he wants. Unfortunately, he probably can. Not saying he's right, but this is pretty much the way everything works.

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Like I said, I've decided to let this one pass by....

 

I just feel like I'd be better off not starting a job in a frustrated state of mind, and frustration only begins to describe it lol.

 

Other good jobs will come, and for now, I'm still gainfully employed, and have a great boss.


I'm a lifelong professional chef. If that doesn't explain some of my mental and emotional quirks, maybe you should see a doctor, and have some of yours examined...

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I've been in your situation a few times and feel for you, but what you have described is pretty typical.

 

First off, restaurant owners...

Q: What qualifications or standards does a restauranteur need?

A: None

Look, if the guy is short a Chef, you can pretty much guess that he's working 18 hrs straight to cover that position plus his own, and not in the best of moods to answer phone calls when he gets home when he thought you had agreed verbally to his request.  Yes, I know your side of the story, and I'm all for you. I'm not apologizing for the owner, it's just the way things are.

 

Resumes.  I'm with you on the no responses.  Sending off a resume via e-mail is like sending off a rocket ship into space: No guarantees that it will return or that you will even know what happened to it.  What I see with most employers when they recruit is the following caveat: "Only those who are short listed will be contacted.  We thank you for your interest with "X" "

 

Recruiters.  I call them head hunters, and not in a mean way.  What I describe below is typical of my experiences with head hunters in my 30 years in the biz:

Back in 2006 we sold our catering business, and after a well deserved vacation I started to look for a job.  I called up Headhunter "X" and asked if I could send them my resume.  They asked for everything, employer's testemonials, photos of work, menus, etc.  Send it off and hear nothing back.  Call up and ask to confirm if they have recieved it, they wouldn't give me a straight answer. Meh, whatever.  Five years later, that's five (5) years later I get a phone call from the headhunter asking me if I'm interested in relocating to another city for a choice Exec Chef job with a catering company.  First question I ask is if the guy know what kind of odds there are in calling me up at the same phone number and the same e-mail address after 5 years.  No answer.  Second question I ask is if the company confirmed receiving my resume, and if so, informing how long they keep resumes on file.  No answer.

 

Meh, whatever....

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Excuse me? You agreed to an interview--two days hence!--without first checking whether you could get the time off? Seriously? You then asked to r/s the interview, and the owner was nice enough to oblige. Then--despite the owner's mis-specifying the days of the week--you didn't check and look at a calendar first, as you most certainly should have, and then you asked to r/s again? Pretty cheeky, if you ask me (which you did), to complain about the owner's lack of professionalism (and calendar error--obviously he was looking at June instead of July) and take little, if any, responsibility for your own. And what makes you think he should have to adapt his schedule to yours--especially after his having rescheduled the interview once already?

 

That said, I see three possibilities here: 1) the owner did indeed act unprofessionally by not replying reasonably promptly (within a few days) to your last message, no matter what his response or your behavior, and/or; 2) given your behavior, the owner either wanted to test you or wasn't willing to bend any more, and/or; 3) something else happened to delay his reply (illness, restaurant crisis, family matters, etc.).

 

And that said, perhaps you're still sensitive from your experience at the country club, but I also think you might have overreacted by generalizing from one behavior--not a "pattern of behavior"--to his overall business "dealings."

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Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and their readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

 

The mosque is too far from home, so let's do this / Let's make a weeping child laugh. -Nida Fazli, poet (translated, from the Urdu, by Anu Garg, wordsmith.org)

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I recently quit a job at a local Country Club, for too many reasons to mention here. I took a bit of time off, just to spend with the girlfriend, and my kids, and after a couple of weeks, began the usual routine of both pounding the pavement with a fist full of resumes, and for the first time ever, seeking employment electronically. I sent my qualifications out to about 20 employers, received about zero responses, and managed to find a low-paying job at a local Italian cafe. 

 

A week into the new job, I get a call from a recruiter, for an Exec position that I sent in almost 2 months ago. I speak with the recruiter, and shortly after, the owner of said restaurant. I like what he has to say, but he wants me to drop everything, and come for a 3 day audition that very weekend, just 2 days away. I immediately go into scramble mode, and manage to arrange almost everything I need...except the free time from my current job. Due to schedule requests, and other variables, taking the weekend off isn't really feasible. This doesn't upset me at all. I call my prospective new employer early the next morning, on his personal cell, no less, and explain that I'll need to reschedule the interview, if at all possible. He says that its no problem, and that 3rd and 4th (this was on 06-18, mind you) would be fine for him. We agree on the dates, I thank him again, and he says "We'll see you on Tuesday and Wednesday...", and we part ways.

It occurs to me less than 18 hours afterward, that the 3rd and 4th are a Thursday and Friday, so I immediately try to contact this owner, and get no answer, so I leave a detailed voice mail. I repeat this call 4 more times in the following week-and-a-half, leaving identical, detailed messages each time.

 

Today, I call 3 more times, finally getting in touch with this owner as I'm getting ready to head to work. He informs me that he "finally" got my messages on this past Saturday morning, but "just hadn't gotten around to calling you back", and that if I was still interested, that I would need to be there at 10am tomorrow morning. I will not be there, I'm afraid.

 

My real question is this: Why did he give me his personal number, if he doesn't check his messages regularly? If I make a serious professional effort to contact him, to clarify his own mistake, why do I not receive any response until less than 24 full hours before I'm expected?

 

Maybe I'm wrong, but I sincerely feel this guy to be out of line, and completely UN-professional in his current manner of business dealings. I hate to miss out on an opportunity of this size, but realize that pattern of behavior, and lack of accountability to be just a few of the reasons that I left my last long-term job at the CC.

 

Am I wrong here? I'll gladly accept any feedback, either for, or against my stance...I'm just very curious as to how everyone else would react here...

 

I am working in a completely different industry but the hiring process is not very different and to be honest I don't see many errors this guy made. Most likely he will have a larger number of other candidates (otherwise he wouldn't use a recruiter) and so you can't really expect that he will follow up very fast when you contact him. In addition, it is never good to have to reschedule an onsite interview/audition because you can't find the time, it will always raise potental reliability issues (I have to admit I am a bit surprised that you didn't look as the very first step if you can take off from your current employer for the audition or don't agree on any date before you have everything aligned). Once you contacted him again to potential reschedule another date you will most likely drop from his top priority list but he doesn't want to completely cancel you (and contact you) before he is sure to have hired somebody else.

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I think the problem lies in the culture of the food-service industry.  There is a lot of informalities that exist.  I have looked for a long term marketing job since earning my MBA, and established firms take a lot of time vetting potential candidates.  In the F/S industry, if they like you on the spot, they hire you on the spot.  The lack of structure can be frustrating for people.  This also leads to bigger problems in a restaurant, too.  If there is not professionalism at the top, then how could you expect it from the hourly staff?

 

That being said, if the original poster scheduled an appointment with a manager, and then had to back out because he didn't know his schedule, is it reasonable to demand promptness from the manager he/she let down?  I think not.

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Just to clarify for some of you, I made it clear that I might NOT be able to clear my schedule at a moment's notice. When I spoke to the prospective employer the next day, he was fine with the re-scheduling. Afterwards, when I needed clarity on the dates, he failed to return any of my calls for almost 2 weeks, only answering his phone 24 hours before he wanted me to show up.

 

Either way, I'm no longer upset about it. I still have a steady job, and a great owner to work for.


I'm a lifelong professional chef. If that doesn't explain some of my mental and emotional quirks, maybe you should see a doctor, and have some of yours examined...

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