Real-life advice from a real-life recruiter

Archive for August, 2012

Today’s Robin

While attending school Robin was hired as a greeter and server at our restaurant in Penn Hills. She was such as talented team member she was soon asked to become a Server Trainer. She continued to work for Eat’n Park while pursuing her Family Study degree.  Robin also completed a summer internship at Eat’n Park Corporate Support Center. Because she was training in family studies she oversaw the company’s United Way Campaign. The internship was a great learning experience. It not only enhanced her knowledge of non-profit organizations, but it also increased her ability to network. After she graduated from college she left Eat’n Park to pursue a career in family studies. But, after 13 years of a successful family studies career she decided it wasn’t for her. She decided to switch careers and go back to the place that originally had helped her develop in to the person she is today. She decided to go into Eat’n Park management and has since never looked back.

Robin’s favorite memory of Eat’n Park, hands down, is meeting her husband there. They met in 1996 and the rest is history. Eat’n Park was her first job and it got her through college. She has met not only her husband, but also a lot of other great people. In a way Eat’n Park has modeled her personality. She was so young when she started, being a server and a greeter helped develop her social skills. Today she knows a lot of great people and has a beautiful family.

People are down to earth at Eat’n Park. Other companies are apt to embrace business first, not people. It’s a different company.

Robin says “to learn one more new thing everyday and expect the unexpected. Learning can be slow at first, but never give up. Things are going to happen that you are not prepared for. But just weigh the situation, follow your values and you will make the right decision.”

Thank You, Robin!

Gina’s Story…

Gina started working for the Park Classic Diner in Boardman, Ohio when she was 16 years old. She has never looked back! She was driving past the Diner, thought it was cute, so she just pulled in and asked for an application. She just had to work there. The Diner was crazy busy when it opened. At closing time they had an hour wait at the door. Those are some of her fondest memories. Gina said the Diner had the best atmosphere. They had hula-hoops, games for kids, and everyone would dance and sing to the YMCA song. They were all about people. Gina soon moved from the server area to the kitchen. She learned how to hand flip omelets. Soon after learning how to cook Gina was trained on how to manage shifts.  She liked that you could talk to the guests while you made their food.

Culinary school took Gina from Ohio to Pittsburgh so she transferred to work as a server in an Eat’n Park Restaurant. After working on McKnight Road, she worked at the Chippewa Eat’n Park for one day before she was asked to return to the Diner to help close the brand. After the closing of the Diner, Gina worked as a Shift Supervisor at Boardman Eat’n Park for 2 years before she was accepted into the Management Training Program. After her training at Austintown Eat’n Park concluded she was assigned to the Eat’ n Park in Warren.

She loves Eat’ n Park because they put people first. She loves Kennywood and Cedar Point days. The District Manager’s all know your name and your family’s names.

Gina’s words of wisdom are to accept change. It’s going to happen so relax and enjoy it. There is so much to learn that you are going to make mistakes. You only need to learn from them. You never stop learning.

Thank You Gina!

Business is Business

Chris was working at the Norwin Diner when a friend of his told him about the Park Classic Diner which was opening in Jeannette, Pennsylvania. At the time, he was a culinary student looking for a food service career. Chris was hired as a cook at the Park Diner. He quickly was promoted in to Assistant Manager. Given that Chris spent 9 years in the Army Guard leadership was nothing new to him. After 2 years of being an Assistant Manager, he was promoted to a Manager and after 6 months he was promoted to General Manager.

His favorite memory was assisting the District Manager with the operations of the diners. His learning accelerated during that time. It honed his time management skills. It showed him the importance of details and “fresh eyes.” He was with the Park Classic Diners for 10 years before Eat’n Park closed the brand. Chris said it was a sad day when the diners closed. But, it was also a happy day because none of the team members had to lose their jobs. They were all given the opportunity to work at the Eat’n Park’s closest to them. He still stays in contact with some of the diner folks and enjoys the time they spend together. They are still as funny now as they were then.

Chris said the way Eat’n Park closed the diner is proof that they value people. They walk their talk. He loves the fact that you work hard, but you also play hard. He loves “Night at the Races” which is an event to collect money for the local Children’s Hospital.

Chris’ advice to new folks starting out is that business is business. At times, management can struggle with their relationships with hourly team members. You need to hold everyone accountable for their actions no matter who they are. Everyone needs to uphold standards. You can be friendly, but you need to realize that business decisions must be made.

Thank you Chris!

Stan From There to Here

Stan started in the restaurant business in 1985 as a dishwasher at the Old York Steak House chain. Management of the Old York Steak House quickly realized that they hired a talented team member.  Stan was soon cross trained in the kitchen and shortly after became the cook trainer. Unfortunately, Old York Steak House’s closed their restaurants in the Youngstown’s area. But, fortunately, for Stan he was an awesome team member and was given the opportunity to move to Reading, Pennsylvania to continue working with the chain as an Assistant Manager. He worked in Reading for 2 years before he moved back to the Youngstown area where he then worked at Kenny Rogers and Ponderosa as an Assistant Manager. Wanting to round out his restaurant experience he took a job at Dad’s Sweet Tooth. Stan learned to decorate wedding cakes, cater, run a gift shop, everything there is to learn about ice-cream, and how to expertly gift wrap anything.

As Stan was learning about ice-cream, his sister was learning what a great place Eat’n Park Restaurants was to work. Being an awesome sister, she told Stan he just had to work for Eat’n Park, too, and the rest is history.

Stan has worked at many different Eat’n Parks and has loved every one of them. He has even opened a new Eat’n Park Restaurant! Stan was also very proud to tell me two other managers from his management orientation group are still with Eat’n Park.  Hi Donna and Betty!

Stan loves the family atmosphere at Eat’n Park. You get the personal touch at every level. He knows upper management supports his personal needs as well as his career aspirations. In addition, he likes the fact that the Corporate Support Center is local. Not some far off place one can never go to and all you do is to wait for answers that never come. Finally, Stan loves the company’s structure and the awesome classes offered by the Training Department.

Stan says to be patient with your career. Sometimes you think you are ready for something, but you are really not. Listen to the feedback people are giving you. When the student is ready the teacher is sure to appear! Voice your opinion properly. That means plan what you want to say, speak the other person’s language, and convey your thoughts at the right time at the right place.

Thank you, Stan!