Independent Companies Vs. Chains: Where to Apply

Now that we’re officially over the hype of the New Year, it is time to think about spring. This usually means mowing over your resolutions, reflecting on your decisions and really taking that step in the right direction. If getting a new job was on your list, this is the perfect time to get out there and apply.

According to an article posted by the online job-searching site Monster, January and February are the peak hiring months all year around. If you are looking to work in the serving or bartending industry, now is the perfect time to be handing out those resumes. One thing every applicant must know before they apply is what they do and do not want in a workplace.

After working in many different restaurants and bars, I realized there is one clear factor that can differentiate work environments – whether a place is independently owned or is a chain. In that being said, I don’t mean all chains or privately owned restaurants will necessarily experience the same thing.

However, based on my experience, it seems this following guide is pretty accurate when deciding what kind of work environment you are looking for. The following is some food for thought when working for both types of ownerships, and hiring advice that will only make you thrive.

Private Restaurants Hiring Tips for Food Industry - Private Restaurants

What Are They?

A privately owned restaurant is a restaurant that is independently owned and does not already have a prior business model, name or chain of restaurants. Independently, or privately owned restaurants, are usually much more small scale than chain restaurants and have sole responsibility for everything in their business.

The Work Environment

These are the types of restaurants and bars you want to apply to if you are looking for a more family-oriented, risk-driven environment where things can easily boom in your favour, or just as easily go sour. By this, I mean chain restaurants offer a sense of more stability and security – since they are more widely known than the local town favourite. A place that already has a proven track record is a good indicator of a successful spot, but keep this in mind if you decide on a brand new restaurant. The one main advantage about privately owned businesses is the flexibility it provides.

For example, I may not have gotten a standard 15% off each meal, but most of the time the chef was feeding me for free. While we worked, he would put up small portions that we could eat between tables. This was my favourite as it gave me energy and made me feel appreciated. This was a generous benefit that I never expected before.  I made a consistent and reliable income, my boss showed he cared about me and as a result, I was a happy and successful employee.

Why Apply and Hiring Tips

I could grow as a confident server since I was able to challenge myself in ways not possible in the chain industry. Whether it was taking on more tables, proposing creative business solutions to the owner himself or being able to aid in the success of the company, all of these things created an opportunity that has brought me to where I am today. I utilized many serving tips that were able to make me stand-out and excel.

This is the environment to apply to if you are ambitious, creative and are always craving a new challenge. When applying to such restaurants, you must focus on presenting your confidence, skill, and creativity. As with any job interview, come prepared. Your mission is to convince the owner how you will help his business succeed – not how you well you will fit the job description. Usually hiring based on internal referrals, make a point to eat there and get to know the owner so you are already on their radar! Although you are still applying for a certain position, independent business owners will hire someone they see has more potential for the company as a whole, versus choosing the right candidate for the position alone.

Hiring Tips for Food Industry - Chain RestaurantsChain Restaurants

What Are They?

Chain restaurants can either be entirely corporate owned or sold as franchises. Either way, a chain is a group of one or more stores that follow the same name, universal policies, branding techniques and sell the same products. The corporate owner is responsible for everything, but if it is a franchise, the franchisee will have more responsibility than the corporate owner in terms of ensuring the business succeed.

The Work Environment

This is the type of place you apply to if you are looking for a more generic and modern approach to your work style. Chain restaurants usually experience a higher turnover rate for a few reasons.This is due to the nature of chain restaurants because the protocol is more governed than a private restaurant and not as lenient. Growth is done in a stable, systemic way, opposed to privately owned companies that usually have smaller teams, or family and friends of the owner that fill the companies’ higher positions.

Rules must be followed, and protocols carried out. You need to notify your employer two weeks prior to booking off work, the schedule is created every two weeks and you usually get a discount off the menu. You can leave for school, come back in the summer and not much has changed – unless there are company-wide changes. This can still be a fun environment as these types of places are accustomed to a plethora of applicants in which they must pick based on company-wide standards – not necessarily their own preferences.

Why Apply and Hiring Tips 

Working under such an organized hiring-firing process, creates long-term avenues if you Hiring Tips for Food Industry - Apply Nowdo work there awhile. Possessing mandatory raise periods, options between restaurant locations, and with manager and other higher roles always opening up, it’s no wonder this environment is promising. Aim for the name, work the time there and if you can prove yourself, you can be managing or making some good cash part-time just the way you wanted – without the pressure of a private company!

You want to apply here if you are organized, want a more structured environment, are looking to get experience and don’t mind working a few times a week. Since there is more staff there than in independently owned restaurants, they are more flexible with hours and can accommodate more than private restaurants can. Some focusing points when applying is to prove that your skill and personality fits the job. Concentrate on selling yourself to the job description itself, as that is what they need and aren’t necessarily looking for leaders yet. After selling yourself as much as you can, leave a few minutes at the end of your interview to add in your ambition for the company just as a side note! They will soak in why you’re good for the position and see it as a bonus that you want to go above and beyond!

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