“The craziest ad for a restaurant server I’ve ever seen”

“The craziest ad for a restaurant server I’ve ever seen”

  • Foods
  • March 16, 2023
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How do you currently compensate employees?
My servers start at $15.50 per hour [the minimum wage before tips in California] and they are good at tips; Most earn between $300 and $600 per shift. Servers that have been with me longer get a higher wage. And I pay my kitchen staff between $17 and $22 an hour. Our waiters also tip 20% to the bar and 10% to the kitchen.

Each payroll period, I also look at all of my staff and offer bonuses to at least two people who I believe have gone the extra mile. And if I notice that employees are overwhelmed or exhausted, I organize a replacement and give them two paid days off.

I also try to provide my team with an environment where they don’t feel like a normal employee, but rather feel valued. I talk to everyone about what a rock star they are to me and make sure people know that the dishwasher is just as important, if not more important, than the chef or cook. Everyone is also encouraged to get involved. One of our favorite desserts in the restaurant was created by our dishwasher.

Still, some critics have suggested that your expectations for an hourly worker seem too high. What would you tell them?
This was not a set of required qualifications; I just listed behavioral and work ethic things in a humorous way that I hoped would make applicants laugh. I mean I would have used some of those excuses growing up. I’m just trying to let someone know that this probably isn’t the best place for them to go to Coachella.

I’m actually quite generous in my absences with my co-workers. But with chronic staff shortages at so many restaurants, the person who calls often doesn’t realize the amount of pressure they’re putting on those who show up.

What were other reactions to the ad?
When I heard it went viral I was scared at first because the internet can be a cruel place. My intention was not to cause harm, just to ease employer and employee frustrations and look for the right person.

I usually have people contacting me like, ‘Oh, that was funny. I’m applying for the job.” Others reply to me on Craigslist and say, “I’m not applying, but I just wanted you to know that I saw that and I thought it was funny.” At times it’s negative. This morning I got a text saying “LOL your ad. you are a psycho I would fire you for running that ad.” And sometimes I get emails where people call me “mean” or “an idiot” or whatever. But people take things differently than you intend them to and I can’t control that.

Have you ever thought about deleting the entry?
I’m still thinking about it because I’m not sure if enough people are getting it. But some of my colleagues said, “No, no, don’t take it down. That’s what we like about this place and we want people like that to work here.” I could probably find workers without being sarcastic I think.

So, did the ad work? did you hire someone
I’m still going through applications for this one. I don’t seem to be getting as many replies to these humorous ones as I used to get to my regular ads. But that’s fine with me because so far they’ve been more geared toward what I’m looking for. The ones who get it are the ones I’d rather interview.

That being said, I had another ad for a bartender that was in the same style and I found someone who is really great. And then the other day I advertised a chef in a similar way. I feel that this employee is really strong. When they came in for the interview, they said the ad made them feel like they could fit in.

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