Real-life advice from a real-life recruiter

Archive for April, 2012

Eat’n Park’s the Place For…Scholarships???

Crystal here again… and I’m really happy to be writing this blog about scholarships.  Want to know why?  If it weren’t for an Eat’n Park Scholarship – I might not be where I am today.  My career may have turned out entirely different.   I received an Eat’n Park Hospitality Group Scholarship, 2 years in a row, while I was a Hospitality Management student at Robert Morris University.  The scholarship I received didn’t require me to be an Eat’n Park team member, but it made me want to be an Eat’n Park team member.  An organization was investing in me, my education and my future, and didn’t even expect anything from me in return.  With that small act of kindness – I knew Eat’n Park was the place for me after graduation.

One of the many things that I love about Eat’n Park is the organizations commitment to helping team members realize their personal goals.  The Scholarship Program is just one example of that commitment.  A good education is valuable and it is important to Eat’n Park to be able to provide educational opportunities to the dedicated team members who may not otherwise be able to further their education.

The Scholarship Program is open to any Eat’n Park Hospitality Group hourly team member who has worked for the organization for at least 6 months.  The team member also has to be enrolled or planning to enroll, full time or part time, in a course of study at an accredited two or four year college, university or technical school.  There are no requirements for course of study OR commitment to work for us after graduation – although we’d love it if they’d stay!

We also have a big celebration to honor our newest scholarship recipients and their accomplishments.  The hourly team members and their guests have a lot of fun mixing and mingling with the CEO, Senior VP of Operations, Senior VP of Human Resources and District Managers.

Even if you are working for another organization and are attending or planning to attend college – it’s great to have a conversation with your supervisor about your organization’s commitment to education.  Scholarship opportunities may just be available to you.  Take it from me – a scholarship may just help lead you to your future career.    

Until next time…

Tessa – An Assistant Manager’s Story

Tessa started with Eat’n Park as a loyal guest. We love loyal guests here at Eat’n Park !. Tessa graduated from the Pennsylvania Culinary Institute, and had a great relationship and great respect for food as well as the food business. After a while, she thought “If I’m going to spend all of my time at Eat’n Park, I may as well get paid for it.” So without further adieu she applied to become a greeter.

However, Tessa wanted to make more of a difference and spread recognition amongst the team. She thought she could do that best as a Shift Manager. She asked the Assistant Managers and Managers at her restaurant what she needed to do to reach her goal of becoming a shift manager. They discussed with her that she needed to talk to the General Manager. Tessa was hesitant to do so, but she really wanted to become a Shift Manager so she tracked him down to ask him. To her surprise it wasn’t scary at all. He was very supportive of her goal and clearly explained to her the steps that she needed to take to become a Shift Manager.

Since that time Tessa has successfully not only became a Certified Shift Manager, but she was promoted to an Assistant Manager in October 2011. She said she loves working for a local company which offers so many different opportunities. She has goals to become a General Manger as well as a District Manager. She stated that “You have to have goals so you can figure out how to get there. Learn as much as you can now so you can prepare for the future”.

I asked her some advice for all the new folks out there. She said to be diligent. “Don’t stop something because you don’t like it. To keep going, find something you like about it. Don’t stop working at it until you are really done.”

Team Member Appreciation from a District Manager’s Perspective

May is the month that Eat’n Park Hospitality Group (ENPHG) has designated as Team Member Appreciation month. (Not that we don’t celebrate our team members at any other time. We just have all our formal celebrations in May.) May is such a wonderful month any way – why not select it as the time to celebrate our wonderful team members?

Since May really is right around the corner, time sure is flying by in 2012, I started thinking about all of the different celebrations we will have. One of these special celebration days is known, formally, as Team Member Appreciation Day. In the past, we’ve closed our corporate office so that the Corporate Support Center (CSC) team can work in the restaurants for a day. Everyone was assigned to a different restaurant and they worked in various departments within the restaurant.  This year, we are doing MULTIPLE Team Member Appreciation Days so that more CSC team members can visit multiple restaurants.  The more appreciation the better, right!?  Nonetheless, Team Member Appreciation Day has been around for a while. I wondered just for how long so I reached out to one of Eat’n Park Restaurants District Managers to find out.

Keith Lester started with Eat’n Park, as a dishwasher in our Monongahela restaurant, in September 1975. He has over 36 years of history with Eat’n Park.  Keith’s Mom was an Eat’n Park Car Hop from 1958 -1962.  All of his siblings and his three children have worked at Eat’n Park at one time or another and his nephew currently works in Eat’n Park’s IT Department.  It’s not unusual for generations of families to work here.  We really are just one big family.

I thought he would be the right person to talk to about history and he was. We like to think of Keith as Eat’n Park’s walking history book.

He remembered the first ever Team Member Appreciation Day we celebrated. He happened to be a General Manger at our Uniontown Eat’n Park at the time. The corporate office staff member who was assigned to his restaurant was, none other than, CEO of Eat’n Park, Jim Broadhurst himself. Maybe that‘s why Keith remembers that day oh so clearly. We gave free strawberry pies to all of our team members that year and we hear that Jim helped to make a lot of strawberry pies that day. Keith commented that our guests were very excited about the day because they thought it was great that we were honoring our team members in such a unique way. This was back in 1990. We have had Team Member Appreciation Day every year, ever since. Team Member Appreciation Days have changed a bit over the years, but they just keep getting better and better.

We have other celebrations too. We celebrate all of our (years of) Service Awards, Scholarship Awards and have our Quarter Century Club (25 years of service recognition) dinner all during the month of May.

I asked Keith what he loved most about Eat’n Park. He quickly said the people and the culture. He told me he entered the management training program all those years ago to help build a better future for himself, as well as for our team members and our guests. He wanted to be able to influence positive changes.

Finally, another question I asked him was what advice do you have for a new person starting out? Keith’s words of wisdom were “Always be flexible. Be willing to adapt and change. Your efforts to resist change could be used towards much more important things.”

Development Goes to the Dogs

It has been said that the only constant in the universe is change. How does one keep up with all this change?  One strategy to keep up with the pace of change is to constantly focus on your own development. An individual should always look for avenues and opportunities to develop your skills. Some companies offer classes for development. Make sure you check what classes your company offers.

I recently was lucky enough to have lunch with the Director of Leadership for On-Site-Brands, Marti Wiseman. She has worked on leadership development in many different industries. She started in social work, moved on to banking, manufacturing, telecommunication and then of course the most fun, the hospitality industry. She said everyone needs to have a strong focus on continuous development. The world is constantly changing and folks need to adapt to keep up.

One of my favorite classes, and I’m sure many others here would agree, which Marti facilitates is Click It or Ticket: The Power of Positive Feedback. Her two favorite co-facilitators help Marti present this class and their names are Cali and Trina. They just happen to be two of her extremely talented collie dogs. Marti developed this class before she started working for Eat’n Park 8 years ago. However, Eat’n Park was the only company who would allow her to bring Trina and Cali in to co-facilitate the class. Marti’s philosophy is that people are better at remembering learning which is engaging. Fun is entertaining, but when you are engaged you learn. Trina and Cali are engaging and not easy to forget. Click or Ticket: The Power of Positive Feedback is one of the classes I have taken that I remember the most!

Since Marti is such the super developer; I asked her what advice she would give someone that is just starting their career. She said to continually look for opportunities to develop. Go out and volunteer. Marti was just 15 years old when, during a volunteer event, she had her first opportunity to facilitate. She just loved it! With practice and feedback she honed her skills. She met a lot of like minded people and built her network. She continually works to build and maintain her network. Marti’s last words of advice where “get out of your comfort zone and network, network, network!

Social Media Part Deux

Recently, we talked about the dangers of social media. This week we are going to talk about the benefits. I love talking about positive stuff. Now, I don’t want to lie to you. I’m not the best person to sing the praises of social media, but I do see the value of the positive impact social media can make.

  1. Social media is real time. With that being said,  individuals are able to receive information on job opportunities as soon as they become available. You are always in the loop and in the know.
  2. Social media can also be personal.  Looking for a job?  Inquire about the position or department that you are looking to become a part of through the organizations social media.  Post your inquiry on the company’s Facebook wall, for example, and the moderator will most likely steer you in the right direction. Here at Eat’n Park – Smiley’s always willing to help!
  3. You can research a company using social media. Your knowledge of the company will knock the socks off of any recruiter.
  4. You can market yourself. Pay attention to everything you post from pictures to events. By showing your BEST self – you can market yourself into your dream      job.
  5. Distance has no meeting. Start networking with folks from all over the world. Making new friends means creating opportunities.
  6. Joining social media groups is an easy way to keep on the cutting edge of your industry and/or profession.
  7. It can just be fun to do!

Social media is just like any other communication tool. It can be used for positive impacts or it can be used negatively – it all just depends on how you use it.