Bridgette Trock was miserable at her restaurant job working as a bar manager for a local chain of bar and grills, where as an hourly employee she busted her hump for tips. When she wasn’t working hard, she was working even harder to find a new career path.
“It was exhausting,” she says. “I had been looking for a salaried position for a very long time but it was just hard.”
She pursued the conventional job-search path of signing up for every jobs website out there, from Indeed.com to Glassdoor, all with the same results.
“All they do is send out 120 emails a day and none of them are relevant to me,” she says.
She even tried employing the services of a recruiter, but left the experience with the same feelings of frustration because the headhunter had no intimate knowledge of the restaurant business, let alone the local dining scene. And then she met Jason Beudert, who had recently found her friend a great new job.
“I got in touch with Jason and after talking to him I thought, this is perfect, this guy knows what I’m talking about,” Trock says.
Throughout his last 20 years, Beudert has worked in restaurants as a dishwasher, server, bartender, host, cook and manager. But it was in his last position, as food writer for Scene magazine and regular food personality on Q104, that he began to fully grasp the need for a dedicated restaurant recruiter.
“When they would realize my connection to the Cleveland food scene, restaurant managers and owners are always asking me, ‘Do you know of anyone looking for a job?’” Beudert explains.
Those persistent pleas led him to establish Restaurant Recruits, a firm dedicated to finding employment for both hourly and salaried employees, from hosts and servers to kitchen managers and chefs. Restaurant Recruits works closely with local colleges, community based organizations and award-winning restaurant groups to place qualified candidates.
“With all of these restaurants opening, it’s important that we can identify great talent, young talent, experienced talent and connect them with award winning restaurant groups,” Beudert explains.
Beudert says that he doesn’t simply move people from one job to another; he finds people a better job.
“Although we have a ton of restaurants around here, not everybody is in the right fit,” he says. “A lot of restaurant employees are ready for a change. Perhaps they work for a national chain but would like to find a job at a great independent restaurant group that will train them well, pay them well and create a career environment.”
All candidates undergo a rigid internal interview screening process, complete with a thorough reference check. They also are put through a "Guest Service Test" in which they are asked to answer a series of hypothetical questions that are designed to identify a "guest first" mentality.
“We only want to represent and place the most driven and hospitable candidates,” says Beudert. “We believe that if you lack the willingness to learn and lack a positive personality, you will not make it through our process.”
For Trock, who will begin the next chapter of her career as assistant manager at Winking Lizard in a few weeks, the future has never looked brighter.
“I’m moving from a good company to a great company where there is room to grow,” she says. “I feel I have growth potential and now is my time to shine.”