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Saturday, February 4, 2012

"Pancake Cafe" Seeks Adequately Functional Greeter w/out Temper Tantrums

"Mature Weekend Host (Pancake Cafe)

Date: 2012-02-02, 7:22PM CST
In search of a Mature Part-Time Host to greet our guests Saturdays and Sundays, 7am-3pm. Must have a great smile and a desire to make people happy. No restaurant experience necessary, just the ability to treat the business as if it was your own. Applications are currently being accepted and interviews are being done on the spot when available. Willing to pay well for the best fit. Compensation: $9-$13/hr"

“Mature part-time host?” I presume the poster means someone who is emotionally stable, irrespective of whether he/she is close to retirement. The job requirement “must have a great smile” sounds about as discriminatory as the Hooters girl job requirement “must be fit / in reasonable shape.” It’s awful to deny someone a job based on dental deformities, but on the same token, you want customers to maintain their appetite when the host shows his/her teeth.

The starting wage of $9 per hour is steep for a position which does not require prior restaurant experience. I remember how my prior experience working in UW-Milwaukee Restaurant Operations garnered me a waiter job at Pizza Hut which paid $2.33 per hour plus tips. Despite having never wanted to wait tables in all my prior years, I accepted the job to maintain an employability edge on those job applications which ask, “Are you currently employed?”

Although I was used to the fast-paced nature of food service and hence held my cool most of the time, Pizza Hut would become insanely busy and develop a backlog of customers wanting to carry out or eat inside, not to mention the bank of phones all in use with five more callers on hold. That is the typical environment of any Pizza Hut in a city with 20,000 or more residents.

By contrast, the Pancake House does not accept call-in orders because it does not offer delivery or carryout. This does not diminish the crowd control and communication flow with the servers that a host or hostess must perform because it is in Wisconsin Dells, which is insanely busy during tourist season, perhaps busier than Pizza Hut. Having a “great smile” does not prepare the applicant to explain there may be a wait of 15 minutes and then be told to get a manager.

Having “a desire to make people happy” is counterproductive to making wise decisions about flow control: Either a large-enough table has been bussed and sanitized, or it has not. Caving to pressure from waiting customers to seat them at a dirty table or to serve their food “right now or I’m leaving,” e.g. before it’s thoroughly cooked, is a bigger recipe for disaster than someone complaining at a consumer website. Whereas the former is just another complaint which is statistically probable to recur, the latter is a health department violation waiting to be documented. Putting a total newbie as host/ess for a Wisconsin Dells restaurant is not a mere gaffe but a huge mistake. Give the “less mature” host/ess who knows what he/she is doing any day.

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