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Talking To The Boss Of...A Pub/Restaurant

Where: The Waggon and Horses: Acton Square, Sudbury
Who: Licensee Nick Irwin

In trade for 25 years, (18 years at "The Waggon") Nick, a popular licensee and talented chef ,was also Mayor of Sudbury 1999 - 2000. Not only that he is a GNVQ assessor level 2 in catering and can open up many possibilities for training and careers development in the catering industry. Seating 36, "The Waggon" is a very busy and popular town centre pub and restaurant. Apart from the normal menus Nick also runs "special evenings" which usually are themed and regularly sell out. Nick employs young people on a part time basis from age 14 to 18.

So how many teens do you employ?

At the moment I employ 5 youngsters.

So what kind of work are they given?

One works for 3 hours on a Saturday morning, filling shelves, emptying bins, cleaning the yard and generally getting the place ready for the weekend. Two or three of them work in the restaurant, waiting on tables. Days vary to suit the trade, generally hours are from 7 -11pm in the evening. Half of them are employed in the kitchens, washing up and involved in general food preparation. I pay all of them at the same rate, 4.00 per hour and I expect equal amounts of work from all of them. I don't advertise job vacancies, I rely on personal recommendation, but I am always happy to talk to you if you wish to come to "The Waggon" in person. However, if you are going to come down in person, THINK, don't come at a time when I am going to be busy. The best thing to do is to phone in advance and come down to see me at my slack time, say between 09.00 and 10.00.

What do you think are the key points you look for when interviewing?

Well a number of things, a normal appearance, no face metal I don't have anything against it but it puts my customers off. Cleanliness is a definite, after all health and safety in the kitchen is of major importance. I also look at people's body language to see if they're positive, enthusiastic and confident. I also like it if people have thought about what the job will entail.

So what are the key areas you discuss at interviews?

Normally I will ask about previous experience, but don't worry if this is your first job. I might ask you about your experiences in restaurants, what you thought of the service and so on. I will also want to be clear with you, which days and times you are available, and I would expect you to have sorted that out before you come.

What key advice could you give to our readers on interview technique?

DO: Communicate, sell yourself and think about the interview before you come to it

DON'T: Be offhand, shrug, avoid eye contact, mumble or use slang words

How about in terms of the actual work, what are you looking for in general?

I look for enthusiasm, initiative and pro-activity because I don't expect to have to find work for you. Once you know the ropes then its down to you. Good teamwork is essential here, because when we are very busy, we have to rely on one another, so think ahead and for yourself. Politeness and concern for the customer are also essentials.

What particular actions by staff do you have a large dislike of?

Dishonesty, there is no excuse fo it and lying. If there is an issue, or problem tell me the truth and we will sort it out together.

What common problems do you often come up against?

Firstly, Health and Safety, kitchens in particular are dangerous places. I need my staff to listen, be aware and be in control at all times. I train all my staff in basic safety but I need them to be able to put that into practice. Secondly, Clock Watching, often people will come in late but will still expect to get away on time, we have to have some give and take here so some nights we may finish later. Lastly, helping yourself to stock, like drinks, it is simply a case of being reasonable. I turn a blind eye if you are sensible and don't abuse the system, if you overdo it then we'll discuss it.

- The Pupiline Team


©1999-2003 Pupiline Limited, 2003-2008 Creative Commons. For info email Oli Originally powered by KeConnect Internet, now powered by XCalibre and the Big Boost, recovered thanks to Warrick


©1999-2003 Pupiline Limited, 2003-2008 Creative Commons. For info email Oli Originally powered by KeConnect Internet, now powered by XCalibre and the Big Boost, recovered thanks to Warrick


©1999-2003 Pupiline Limited, 2003-2008 Creative Commons. For info email Oli Originally powered by KeConnect Internet, now powered by XCalibre and the Big Boost, recovered thanks to Warrick