i have only ever worked in the food service and hospitality industry. it’s not for everyone but i love it.
my first job was at a sandwich shop in my hometown during my senior year of high school.
from then on, i had my fare share of restaurant jobs waiting tables (who hasn’t).
after 8 odd years, i got tired of waiting tables. school wasn’t an option for me so restaurant management it is!
found an amazing assistant manager posting on craigslist.
- didn’t get the job. (i cried)
- got a call back a month later asking if I was still interested.
- interviewed again.
- got the job.
- worked my way up
- loved what I did and was great at it
- they moved me accounts. i was pretty much set up for failure.
- got laid off by an evil witch
found an awesome opportunity immediately (woo hoo!)
- offered job
- didn’t end up taking the job bc it didn’t feel right. i just knew something else was out there.
was on unemployment and working at my on-call job a few days a week.
mom was pissed.
applied for an awesome sounding, yet very vaguely descriptive gig on craigslist.
- got a call back from chipotle. wait, I didn’t apply at chipotle. who cares, this is awesome, bc i eat at chipotle at least 3 times a week.
- met with chipotle peeps for a “new concept”. not the asian one. but they were impressed i knew of it. one day shophouse, one day…
- next day, met with the big boss.
- a few days later, offered the job. accepted! still no clue for what.
the bomb was dropped.
i just accepted a job for the assistant manager position for the la location of the winning concept from nbc’s tv show americas next great restaurant.
see mom, i knew something bigger was out there.
the whole experience was a whirlwind.
i spent 5 weeks in denver for training. we came back and watched our store being built from the ground up. we held job fairs and hired our staff. we were ready. the finale of the show aired on the same night the death of osama bin laden was announced. the finale never aired on the west coast. the winner was soul daddy, a healthy take on soul food. there was no fried chicken. the people were pissed.
opening day was great but not fantastic. business declined from that day on. the la and ny locations were very tourist driven. tourist season was not in affect. the minnesota location was the only one out of the three that was chugging along. phone calls and emails were non stop. meetings were being held. a decision was made. the restaurants had to close.
ny closed first and then our great leader hopped on a plane to close out la that same night. talk about emotional. over a year of planning and months and months of hush-hush, non-stop, preparation for the opening, this new concept was over.
the deal from day one for me, was that if this concept does not work i would go work for chipotle. perfect. or so i thought.
i didn’t have the best in-store experience with chipotle. i would have done many a things differently but it wasn’t my say so. “come to new york”, i was told. i wasn’t ready for nyc. but i was ready to leave the burrito. so i did. just a few days before my kitchen manager validation.
i started work immediately with one of my all time favorite eateries. the pay was great. it was an immediate manager title. i loved their food, and ate there at least once a week. i got to work closer to home. or so i thought.
much was changing quickly in the company and i was moved from my closer-to-home location to a place i loathed, dtla. it had its perks. a cush m/f schedule and only open for lunch and early dinner. sweet! or so i thought.
the drive sucked. i started at the butt crack of dawn. i left work at prime traffic time. my scheduled shifts were 11hr minimum. i have no problem putting in the hours but when it is not needed, you are burning yourself out for nothing. i started to hate a place i loved so much.
it was time for “leadership camp”. who would in their right mind, schedule a meeting during your prime lunch time? they did. needless to say, i was late to camp. they caught me up, we did our stuff, and i left feeling uninspired and completely turned off to the company as a whole. not the way you should feel after a “leadership” camp. riiiiight (nodding head). i knew right then, i needed to get out of there and quick.
i was sought out by a recruiter for starbucks. had a few phone interviews then i did the “personality” test. i decided it was way to corporate for me. i received a phone call from a former boss letting me know that he was finally opening his own cafe. awesome! wanna work for me, i know i can’t afford you. sure! perfect timimg on his part as i hated my job. mf, out.
i left the cult company and started to work at this cafe that was in an industrial, artsy area in culver city. there i had the pleasure to serve the most awesome people every day. friendships were formed and i easily fell in love with my new job. i felt a little piece of me was at every office that was around. i was like everyones co-worker. i was there for the people i saw everyday not for the actual job itself. it was nowhere near where i wanted to be or should be in my career. it was a huge step back. not to mention the pay was painful. something had to change.
i have always kept in contact with my soul daddy/chipotle connections. working at the burrito again was always on the back of my mind. i believe in who they are as a company (hello didn’t you see the “back to the start” commercial during the grammys?) and they offer everything i am looking for from a company. i paid nyc a visit a few times. after seeing mynor in action at his store, meeting his staff, spending a whole day with his area manager, and brunch chats with e-dub, i was ready. the decision was made.
nyc it is.
i gave my boss at the cafe a million month notice. finally the last days at my most favorite job ever were coming to an end. i was sad.
one last “no, you get to the point” phone call with eric in the morning. one last drawing on wes’s breakfast container. one last time robert would come in at 4:06pm (6 minutes after we were closed) to get his afternoon coffee. one last texting gerry “last call for mountain dew”. there was to be no more high fives to all the cute boys. no more “deli case confessions”. no more calling to the kitchen, “one chris please”. no more lunches with the girls at sonic magic. hell i cried like a baby when i thought i had one more morning with tony and it turned out that was our last interaction at the good ol cafe. but it was time to go. i was bigger than that place. they all knew it and so did i.
to all of you, in the words of evan, my first customer i took a fondness to, that left bc the project he was working on had wrapped up, “we will always have the point”.
so here i am, wrapping up my 30 years in la. having garage sales, selling all my furniture, giving my whole kitchen to corey, turning in my prius that i love so much, leaving my cat with my ex boyfriend for a few months, and having “last meals” at all my favorite spots.
i leave la friday june 1st on a one-way ticket to nyc. i start my career rolling with chipotle on tuesday june 5th with mynor at his store in paramus new jersey.
i couldn’t be more excited.