I often look through Craigslist food/beverage/hospitality job listings as a way of keeping up with the local restaurant scene, discover who’s opening, who’s hiring due to increased business, what venues have changed hands, etc.
The wording of the various job requirements listed in these ads underscores an astonishing variation of what constitutes “great service” as defined by different employers. Most high-end, chef driven venues stress the importance of experience. Diner and pub style houses tend to focus on smiling, personality, and great attitude. Sometimes the nuts and bolts of delivering service are considered completely irrelevant.
This ad is looking for a cocktail server in Old Town Scottsdale:
No cocktailing experience needed but you will need a fun personality, high energy and beautiful apperance. Please reply to this email with any experience, a recent photo…
It’s not very different from this ad which doesn’t even say what the job is but can safely be assumed to require familiarity with a pole:
Sexy, Petite ladies with an outgoing- adventurous attitude are what we are looking for. If you enjoy making people happy, making tons of money and having fun while doing it… this is the job for you. Please submit recent photos (face and body please) for consideration.
The Tilted Kilt, Twin Peaks and Hooters which market themselves as legitimate restaurants make every attempt to define their service employees as engaged in some form of show business:
Tilted Kilt is looking for new cast members. Do you like getting attention and turning heads while making great money? Are you extremely fun, active, charming, have a great personality and feel comfortable in your own skin? If so, you could be a perfect fit for the role of the Tilted Kilt Girl.Because it is critical to the success of the Tilted Kilt, the image of the Tilted Kilt Girl must always be maintained. TK Girls must provide friendly, service to create an exceptional experience for all of our guests. Each entertainer’s primary objective is to make a connection with the guest so they will want to return again and again. The Twin Peaks Girls are the stars of the show. They enjoy flexible scheduling, great tips, and second-to-none support. If you think you can work it, stop by you nearest location to audition! Dress to impress, and style that hair and make up; Twin Peaks Girls are always ready to entertain, and you’ll want to look the part! Do you have what it takes? Whoever said you can’t get paid for something you love, never worked for Hooters! We are now accepting applications for our World Famous Hooters Girls! Increasingly in large cities where trends are born, restaurants and bars of all stripes are asking potential service employees to submit photos along with their resumes. Obviously Hospitality, Entertainment and Show Business overlap and the borders are often blurred as can be seen by the examples above. Still, is it fair to complain on Yelp or Opentable that your water glass was never filled or your order came out wrong when your server was hired for her measurements, her smile and her willingness to make a connection? Sadly, many employers don’t know there are actual skills beyond those criteria necessary to deliver even adequate service. Business owners have the right to create any ambiance they choose and employees are undeniably a part of that equation. My question is: When does hiring a candidate based on appearance become discrimination? Are blondes more appealing than redheads, almond shaped eyes more sympathetic than a wall-eyed gaze? Do huge pecs and biceps serve a waiter better than a swimmer’s build? Are “good looks” as important as poise and good grooming? Furthermore, what constitutes a “charming personality”? It all makes for an interesting debate when it comes to satisfying the public. Employers will continue to operate as they please because frankly there is no way to prove discrimination or control subjective opinions other than voting for their choices with your dollars and business. Whether what they do is right or wrong is an entirely different question. Finally, you may want to consider the context of your complaint the next time you have a terrible experience with restaurant service. This is lifted from the text of a Yelp review submitted by a patron of Hooters: “…Oh, also when we left, the rude waitress that thought she was too cute to see how are food was and to refill our drink made a statement like, “Now that you all are gone I can go home!” What kind of comment was that? we can care less what, who, when and where you go home to. I felt that was very disrespectful. We did not make you choose this job. You could have left anytime. Go to another hooters because this one don’t deserve your business!” If your flirtatious, pretty waitress doesn’t know Coors from Courvoisier or brings your next course when you don’t have silverware to eat it with, you might ask yourself what motivated your restaurant choice. She may be doing exactly what she was hired for. I’m dying to get your feedback and reviews here at ASR. If the comment box doesn’t show up directly below here, then please click on the tiny grayed-out link just below the title of the post on the right side of the page next to the chat bubbles (# Responses) to leave your message. Also, please Subscribe by clicking on the button in the sidebar to the right. It’s free and also the easiest way to keep up with the latest conversations here.