Real-life advice from a real-life recruiter

Archive for May, 2012

One Training General Manager’s POV

One of my favorite things about my job is going out to the restaurants and talking with Management and Team Members. Recently, I got to chat with JoAnn Walk the General Manger, of one of, our McKnight Road restaurants.

JoAnn has been with Eat’n Park for 13 years. Being an awesome person, and manager, it only took her 3 years and 7 months to be promoted to the role of General Manager. She started with Eat’n Park directly after receiving her Hospitality degree from The Pennsylvania State University. JoAnn had 5 job offers upon her graduation. I had to ask her how Eat’n Park was lucky enough to snag her away from the competition. She responded by saying “It was all about the quality of life. Eat’n Park offers one weekend off a month and full benefits at day one.”  In addition she liked the idea that the company was small enough to let you reach out and speak directly to senior management while being big enough to offer opportunities.

Being a General Manager has been an eye opening experience for JoAnn. She strives to build on her leadership skills every day. Each day, she has impact on a tremendous amount of people which is a responsibility she takes seriously. JoAnn spoke of her first restaurant she had as General Manager. She had many challenging situations laid at her feet. But, of course, JoAnn rallied and met the challenges.  Her father saying all the while, “Yes, you can do this.” He was right.  She could do the job and do it so well that she was later promoted to a Training General Manager. JoAnn loves being a Training General Manager. She loves to mold people and watch them grow. Her management trainees stay in contact with her even after they have been promoted. They call her and text her with questions. She loves to be part of their continued growth.

What she likes best about Eat’n Park is the culture. It is family based and personal. You see Jeff, the CEO, out and about in the restaurants. He always stops to say hi.

Since JoAnn is a smashing success I asked her for advice to spread around. She said to work hard and always do the right thing. It is a toughie always trying to do the ethical thing but it is right decision in the long run. “Treat others like you like to be treated and you can’t go wrong.”

Thank you JoAnn!

What’s Next?

When you talk to Mike, the General Manager of The Porch, you think “Wow… What could possibly be next for Mike?” He started as a bus person at the Eat’n Park on Route 51. From there he tackled the management training program. Mike’s been all over Eat’n Park country. He has managed restaurants as north as Erie, to Uniontown, and ventured to Ohio. In total, Mike has managed 22 restaurants in the over the 20 years that he’s been with Eat’n Park. Two of those restaurants he has opened as a General Manager.

Now, Mike is the General Manager of one of Eat’n Park’s newest ventures, The Porch. Always wanting to learn and take on new things, Mike took the challenge of opening a new concept restaurant.  To check out more about The Porch go to

I asked Mike what has kept me at Eat’n Park so long. His quick reply was, “It’s the people. You know everybody on a personal basis. They value your opinion. You can talk to everyone and it’s not awkward.”

Since Mike is so successful, I also asked him for some advice for folks that are just starting their careers. He said, “You are going to have good days and bad days. Don’t focus on the bad days. You really don’t have a lot of bad days. But for some reason people like to get stuck in them. Train your mind to evaluate the bad days, see what went wrong and then just shake it off. Be dedicated and disciplined to achieve your goals everyday.”

I asked Mike what was next for him. He shared with me that he is always learning and growing so he’s ready for the next experience – whatever that may be.

Yes- Appearance Still Counts!

I saw something the other day that made me want to write about appearance. It was so scary. I just couldn’t believe it. I personally think it’s a tired old subject, but some folks out there really don’t understand how important appearance really is.

Some great guiding principles are:

  • Keep a Neat Appearance – You want to look clean, neat and crisp. Don’t look like you just rolled out of bed.
  • Overdress – It’s always better to overdress for an interview then to under dress. You can never go wrong with classic pieces such as button-down shirts. Purchasing wrinkle free material will also help make you look crisp.
  • Look at Your Feet – Nothing can ruin a look like a pair of dingy      shoes. Also, make sure your shoes are comfortable and clean.
  • Wear Clothes that Fit – Clothes that are too short,  too long, too baggy or too tight make you look less then professional.
  • Details, Details, Details – Scuffed shoes and chipped nails are a no-no. Jewelry can either add to your look or take away from it.

Whether you really want the job or not, you want to show up to the interview looking like you do. Remember the interviewer will believe that the way you look at the interview will be the best you will ever look on the job.

Got Community?

One of the best benefits of writing blogs for Eat’n Park Careers is meeting a lot of cool people. One of the coolest people that I’ve been given the chance to speak with was Trina DeMarco. Trina has worked for Eat’n Park Hospitality Group for 7 years. Compared to me, she’s a wee baby, but compared to others, she’s a tenured veteran.  In any case – Trina is the coolest!

After Trina’s year long stint driving the Oscar Mayer Wiener Mobile (which had to be awesome!), she applied to join the freelance Team Smiley. She worked on the team, on the weekends, while working another full time job. During her time on the Team Smiley a Marketing Coordinator opportunity became available. She applied, went through the interviewing process, and she got the job. She must have been an impressive part of Team Smiley! Trina’s freelance position is where she started her successful career with Eat’n Park.

Now, she is the Director of Corporate Giving and Community Partnership. According to Trina, her job in a nut shell is “To help Eat’n Park be a good neighbor and enable our team members to do that as well.”  She works to create and enhance relationships with local nonprofit organizations and ENPHG may support those organizations with cash, in-kind donations or volunteers.  Trina also gets to work with our amazing team members to help identify volunteer opportunities and raise money for children’s hospitals in their neighborhoods.  She really does have one cool job.

Trina got her start with community involvement when she was the Manager of Community Marketing. This is when she discovered that she was passionate about getting, and keeping, Eat’n Park Hospitality Group involved within the communities in which we do business.

I asked Trina what she loved the most about Eat’n Park. She replied with out hesitation “The people. Overall we have awesome people working here. Doesn’t matter if you are in the Corporate Support Center, the Restaurants or at a Cura or Parkhurst account, the team members here really care.”

Given that Trina is so successful I asked her for some career advice. She said to “Get out there and get as much experience as you can.” She started out with a degree and experience, but she knew she needed a little bit more. Even though she was already working full time she was proud to escort Smiley around town. Everything is a learning experience. It’s all about your attitude.

Trina, that is really great advice and I know that I can count on you to make sure that I’m a good neighbor!