Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

JAN 2014

Foodservice Equipment & Supplies magazines is an industry resource connecting foodservice operators, equipment and supplies manufacturers and dealers, and facility design consultants.

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JANUARY 2014 • FOODSERVICE EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES • 47 SECOND CAREERS The savvy foodservice professional will be able to parlay their various experiences into a challenging and rewarding second career that helps them achieve a quality of life they desire. For example, compared to restaurant profes- sionals, the benefts of working in non-com- mercial foodservice or as a dealer, consultant, or service agent begin with better scheduling and can expand to include paid time off, health insurance and, in some instances, tuition reim- bursement. "When I worked in restaurants, my family would have to have Christmas dinner there so they could see me on that holiday," Capannola says. "And this past Thanksgiving I had a four-day holiday. You get to pursue the passion and creativity that fueled your interest in the culinary arts and have a better quality of life." Of course, commercial restaurant profession- als looking to make a change should realize that other industry segments are not without their challenges. "Our business can be greasy. It can be hot. You might fnd yourself lying on a foor covered in water trying to fx a problem," Wueste says. "This is work. Real work. You can plan some family time, sure. But you have to be prepared to make that occasional delivery at 8 o'clock on a Friday night." In some cases having operator experience can be a real beneft in a second career. Take, for example, foodservice consultants. "Some- one with that experience understands foodser- vice operations and can be a good frst line of feedback when reviewing designs by offering comments based on their expe- rience," Carlson points out. "Plus, they are used to working with challenging people. We can teach them our business faster than we can teach them how to deal with people and foodservice operations." When it comes to the changing nature of healthcare foodservice, Eisenberg is even more direct. "The best candi- dates for our operation are people on their second careers," he says. "I really love the person who has been in the res- taurant business and burned out. They can still pursue their passion for the business and maintain their commitment to quality without the same pressures in the restaurant business because the pace and style of cooking is different." So how can other members of the foodservice industry fnd restaurant professionals and others looking to make a career change? Ryan Conklin, executive chef for Rex Healthcare in Raleigh, N.C., has found a lot of culinary professionals will check Craigslist when looking for work. So he will post an ad there, being as a realistic as possible about the job requirements. He also will work with the alumni groups of culinary schools such as the Culinary Institute of America (CIA). But make no mistake: fnding the right people to take a foodservice company to the next level, be they an operator or member of the supply chain, requires some recruiting. "I have to do what's necessary to get the quality chef we need here," Conklin says. Indiana University Health takes a proactive approach to fnding potential new foodservice hires, including par- ticipating in career fairs and offering internships to college students. According to Sparrow these little steps make a big difference. "Last fall we went to a career day at Purdue Uni- versity and we had someone at our booth asking questions the entire time," Sparrow says. "We had about 100 students sign up to get information on attending the Association for Healthcare Foodservice conference and to learn more about our internship. In contrast, there was a contract feeder across the aisle from us and they were not as busy." Like many industry organizations, The Society of Hospital- ity and Foodservice Management's outreach programs continue to fund courses at a number of academic institutions that will also help build awareness about the career opportunities avail- able. SHFM also offers scholarships to military veterans to help make it easier for them to attend the organization's conference and pursue a career in this feld. "We have people who have AN OPERATOR'S OPTIONS In order to upgrade their menus, operators like Rex Healthcare in Raleigh, N.C., had to upgrade their personnel and, in this instance, restaurant experience was an impor- tant prerequisite. "We are trying to change the label of hospital food. Our mission is to reinvent healthcare cuisines," says Ryan Conklin, executive chef for Rex Healthcare. "Typically, the menus in healthcare were pretty simple because the talent you need to develop them is not there. So we are not hiring the cook that has healthcare experi- ence. We want a seasoned culinary professional that is in a different stage in their career and help provide them a quality of life they have been lacking. In return, we want them to bring that intensity and work ethic they are known for in the restaurant industry." Indeed, the idea of better hours, healthcare and other benefts can help sweeten the deal when it comes to luring a chef to the non-commercial side of the operator community from restaurants. But operators looking to make a career change should not be fooled: the non-commercial segment is fast-paced in its own right. "I am looking for someone with high-volume experience, coming from somewhere they have had to multi-task throughout the day," Conklin says. "We have multiple locations and need someone that understands how to produce for a variety of outlets." Beyond a candidate's background, getting an idea as to how they think can be helpful. For example, during interviews Conklin will ask culinary professionals if they were to prepare one dish what would it be. "That right there tells me a lot about their skill level, and how they talk about their food tells me about their passion and professionalism," he says. "We want someone with a little confdence that can take a recipe and execute it at a high level." Part of the recruiting process is getting commercial chefs to understand the many opportunities they will have to showcase their talents in a non-commercial or institutional setting. "It is important to show young people there is more to healthcare foodservice than just plopping mashed potatoes on a plate," Conklin says. "For example, if we have a catering event and roll out a sushi station the chef really has a chance to shine." In addition, organizations such as the Association for Healthcare Foodservice will host culinary competitions that showcase the industry's best and brightest performers. "I try to sell the younger chefs on that so they see there is some chance for publicity on this side of the business," Conklin says.

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