Carrow’s Restaurant Horrible management, unsanitary practices, and labor violations. Consumers Beware… Campbell California!!
I recently terminated my employment with this company because they exploit their employees, are unclean, and participate in unfair labor practices. I am writing this as a warning to consumers because I wrote a long letter to the corporate office and received no response back. I wrote both my corporate office and my district manager to try to find some help with the frustrations I was experiencing, to no avail. I was very frustrated by our general manager (GM) Andy’s response when I tried telling him that we needed more help with the graveyard shift. I told him that with the two servers that we have on the weekend there is no way we can handle seating and taking cash when our stations are overflowing (10 plus tables each). We need a cashier or manager watching the register on the busy late night weekends. This is the only way to control the floor when servers have multiple orders to take, multiple deserts to prepare, a window full of hot food that needs to quickly be ran, and tables waving us over for assistance all at the same time. Andy responded by stating “Its not the managers job to seat and take cash” when I told him about the problem. While I am perfectly aware of that, it is the managers job to “manage” the restaurant. And the only way that can be properly done with one or two very busy servers is to have help seating or taking cash (or cooking, or doing dishes, or whatever is needed if the hourly staff cannot cover it). I understand that CRG (Catalina Restaurant Group- Carrow’s parent company) had a lawsuit concerning managers doing hourly employees jobs, which may have been the reason Andy responded to me the way he did. If that is the case, then CRG must allow the stores to be more flexible with their labor. It comes down to this: either spend more on labor to provide a host, have the manager do the job, or have the guest leave with a bad first and last impression of the restaurant. We have not had a host on the (busy) Saturday or Sunday dinner shifts or the (busy) Friday and Saturday graveyard shifts that I have been back working for over two months now. We sometimes have a hostess for a few hours on Friday evening, however that has been inconsistent. We were still spread too thinly to be able to provide optimal service levels. People wait and wait while I am frantically telling them “be right with you,” and then they walk out with out ever getting service sometimes. With all due respect, memos on things like “loss prevention” and “suggestive selling” are a waste of time when the most basic mechanics of the serving industry such as staffing and supplies are not provided. On the supplies note, we are consistently running out of wine glasses, silverware, glasses, desert and salad bowls, etc. My self and my co-workers waste a huge amount of time and productivity by running back to the dish area repeatedly looking for supplies. When these supplies are no where to be found, or are all dirty and the dishwasher is behind, (or not there at all) people start getting upset when they are thirsty and cannot even be served drinks. We do not have enough supplies. ALL glasses are dirty when we are slammed, no shake glasses or mocha glasses are even left to substitute. I have witnessed dishwashers and servers rinse off silverware and drinking glasses in hand washing sinks with NO SOAP because we were so busy and management would not schedual a dishwasher or help out. We have literaly had to resort to stacking dirty half eaten dishes on the pass out line where fresh food comes out from the kitchen. Every late night shift I’ve worked I have had to resort to serving dine in customers with to-go supplies such as plastic silverware and Styrofoam cups. Quite frankly, it is embarrassing to have to use to go supplies in a full service restaurant. Not only that, I and many of my fellow servers have been forced out of necessity to go into the dish area and wash silverware and wine glasses to be able to serve our customers. We get our FOH uniforms all wet by doing this and it is a huge waste of time when there is no hostess and the front is filling up with people. Our store leaves people with a terrible first and last impression by consistently having no one on staff to watch the front. This Sunday night when I worked, we were busy with no bus person. I had a full station, had to consistently neglect the people in my station so I could seat and take cash and bus tables. The GM was there earlier in the evening. He was not focused on guest service. My self and the other servers received the impression that we were not doing our job properly because we could not take cash while we’re stuck taking an order at an 8 top. We honestly get the impression that we have to take cash regardless of how many tables we have, or we are not doing our job well. Its a full position watching and controlling the customer flow in the front. Morale dropped when the GM stayed into the evening these past few weekends. The GM of this restaurant is incompetent. His hourly employees are the ones running the store while he is receiving a managers wage from the company that he is causing to lose money. The associate managers and PICs seem to have more understanding of why the servers cannot be in 3 places at once when they’re so busy. It is dangerous to have over a hundred late night customers with one or two female servers. If the management would just schedual a host they would prevent many people from walking out on their bills, and the nice customers that pay would get the service they deserve. It also creates a situation for harrasment late at night. We were robbed last year and a gun went off in the dining room, but management will still not provide a safe work environment. The last shift I worked there were no clean tables so I had to run around with a bus tub before I could seat the multiple parties filling up in the front and I had a station full of customers that needed my attention. This is a consistent picture of how the evening and graveyard shifts are staffed and supplied. The positions we are put into combined with the lack of resources has resulted in my putting in my two week notice. After the dire situations I was forced to work through this weekend, I felt compelled to contact the district manager and corporate office for assistance. After waiting 5 days I received no response back from either, therefore I called the store I worked at and told them I would not be returning to finish my two week notice. The company should have taken the information I gave them seriously. I am not looking for any compensation or anything like that. I am writing this because I feel terrible for the customers spending their money in this place and for the employees who are working so hard with no assistance from management. I have been working in the restaurant industry for over ten years, and Carrow’s for seven years. I was managing part time for the last restaurant I worked for. I can tell you for a fact that this is not a case of one server complaining, this is a case of a restaurant going under by not knowing what it takes to properly work on the front lines. I have had customers watch me do three jobs at once, (seat, take tables, take cash, and bus) and tell me that it is “abusive” the way I am made to work so incredibly hard. Other severs have been told the exact same thing by customers. It is unfair to the customers and the employees to be put in this position. I would and could do an excellent job for this company but we can’t have the entire restaurant on the shoulders of a few strong employees, it is unfair and unproductive. Andy is a bad manager and he truly does not understand what it takes to properly run the store at all hours, especially during the busy weekend graveyard shifts. I suggested to corporate that those who have decision making power in this company may want to consider requiring GMs to work one 5 hour server training shift per year in their restaurant. They have lost touch with what it truly takes to provide optimal customer service by focusing too much on keeping labor low. GMs need to work a full station and see what it actually takes to efficiently take orders, ring those orders in properly, make desserts, take to go orders, and sometimes bus tables, all while trying to control the entire flow of the restaurant by seating and taking cash on a busy Saturday night. I believe if GMs did server training even once a year they would have a better feel for what it takes to control the floor at all hours, and understand that even the best servers cannot do everything. There would also be a better communication and understanding between GMs and trainers regarding training practices. I believe then they would not be so quick to say “seating and taking cash is not a managers job” when a server tries to explain what is causing the unproductivity and customer service problems in their restaurants. However the corporate office has been non-responsive to me in every way. As a consumer I would not want to spend my money at a buissness like this. When an employee of seven years, who is working on the front lines, tries to make a suggestion to those sitting in an office they will not even listen. Carrow’s restaurant (Catalina Restaurant Group) does not care about their employees or customers. Sunny123 san jose, CaliforniaU.S.A.