Insider Q & A: Beatrice Stein on Hiring for the Busiest Restaurant in Manhattan
When you dine out, you don’t always see the companies that are behind your restaurant experience. Often, these companies hire in large numbers. Today, we’re putting a spotlight on the Alicart Restaurant Group, advisor to Carmine’s and Virgil’s Real BBQ. For over 20 years, the Alicart family of restaurants has offered an exciting and unique spectrum of dining concepts from Italian fare to American Cuisine.
From Manhattan, DC, and Atlantic City to the Atlantis resort in the Bahamas, the goal of Carmine’s is the same: To serve every meal in the style of an Italian American wedding feast. It appears to be working: The Carmine’s located near Times Square in the Big Apple is the highest volume restaurant in New York.
We sat down with Beatrice Stein, Director of Training and Development at Alicart. Beatrice began her career in the restaurant business at the age of three when her parents bought a hot dog stand in Chicago and named it Little Bea’s. She has been with Alicart since 2007. Over the course of her career, Beatrice has hired thousands. In 2010, Beatrice’s main focus was the hiring and training for the new Carmine’s restaurant in Washington, DC.
Tell me about how you hire. Who do you look for and when?
We hire for two different types of positions, hourly and management. Hourly positions are full-time as well as seasonal. In Atlantic City, they hire in the spring. In New York for Times Square, the high season is between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Days. The hourly positions open when we anticipate need or when there is an opening.
When we look for front of the house – we look for personality and hospitality. For kitchen staff we look for people who have a passion and respect for food.
Carmine’s is all about a WOW factor – in our food, presentation service.
The other type of hiring is at the management level. We pride ourselves in organic growth, however we also recruit from the outside.
How does a candidate get your attention?
For hourly jobs, when the person comes into apply it’s about how they present themselves. Are they neat in appearance and smiling? Do I see an outgoing personality?
On a management level, we look and see where candidates have worked before. Carmine’s on 44th Street in Times Square is the highest volume restaurant in New York City. That’s a huge amount of volume and a very different kind of management style than a restaurant that has 100 seats. For all management positions, we look for experience in fast-paced and high volume environments because they do not become intimidated by the sheer volume.
What makes a great candidate beyond the skills required for the job?
Personality makes a great candidate. You know when you meet someone; you either like them or you don’t like them. There’s something that attracts you or doesn’t. People who are very outgoing and have an enthusiasm for Carmine’s, that makes a good candidate.
Do you have any “never do” tips for individuals in working with recruiters?
Don’t send your resume to any job posting . Someone has to read your resume. If it’s not a job you want, don’t apply. Don’t waste anyone’s time.
Never come to an interview in a bad mood. Don’t be late. If you are an hourly candidate bring a pen and any other tools you might need.
Any bad assumptions that you’ve seen job seekers make in applying for jobs at Carmine’s?
A lot of people come in and don’t know anything about the company. Do your homework and find out about the job you’re applying for.
At a management level, you should be interviewing us as much as we are interviewing you.
As an interviewee you should come in looking at us and, “Is this some place I could be successful?”
In DC, we’ve hired quite a few summer hires – maybe 20. Our Times Square restaurant has a lot of longevity, so we may hire 10 for that location, 20 at any other location.
Are there any questions I haven’t asked that I should be asking? What’s the question, and what’s your answer?
When you come to an interview, watch your body language, listen and if you don’t understand something don’t be afraid to ask. You want to show yourself in a good light.
When I call someone and tell them where to come, I don’t like it when you ask me to text you or e-mail me the interview time and logistics. The correct response is to say I will contact you to follow up. It’s possible I will flag that application before the interview.
Use it now—actionable—advice for job seekers:
Come prepared, do your research, know what you are looking for, and be truthful. Take a job because you want to be there. There are lots of jobs and lots of options.
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