The Great Hall
Diner Stereotypes Question The Great Hall: Diner Stereotypes Question
By Dinerdogg (Dinerdogg) on Tuesday, August 05, 2003 - 10:46 am: Edit

Hi All,

I haven't posted here in a long time. I now own a diner and am curious. Why am i having such a hard time getting aspplicants for a cook'cs job? Is it the stereotype of the "diner" greasy spoon or just a lack of people out there? I am in a highly populated area of southeastern Mass and can't believe the lack of response to several types of ads. We are not a greasy spoon, but a beautiful vintage 1950's diner thaty serves incredibly fresh old fashioned home cooking with a tewist on many of our dinner items. Any thoughts on why applicants are so few and far between?


By Chefmanny (Chefmanny) on Tuesday, August 05, 2003 - 12:05 pm: Edit

Yes it is the stereotype, diner cooks here in FL make a heck of a lot of $$$ just because they are hard to find and they have to do breakfast!
Who the hell wants to get up at 4:00AM???
There's a diner here close to home that's open 24/7, imagine staffing that!!!!!
Some of those guys make $700-850 a week!!!!
under the table in many occasions!!!

By Dpconsu (Dpconsu) on Tuesday, August 05, 2003 - 02:12 pm: Edit

Dear dinerdog,
what wages/salary are you offering?
any benefits? health, dental vacation paid.
expected working hours?
level of experience required?
present sales?
number of covers per hour during peak load?
average ticket?

Always remember that A) if you pay peanuts... you get monkeys, B) a good breakfast cook is a rear and treasured find.
You might have more success with your ad's if you put more of the above mentioned info into it. Yes it makes the ad cost more, but it will attract the right people to you.

By Flattop (Flattop) on Tuesday, August 05, 2003 - 02:27 pm: Edit

Hell, I'm a diner type myself. More fun, less attitude to deal with. I'd be just as happy plating up CFS as duck confit ravoli. Problem is as a cook when/if you want to move to a "upscale" joint they look at you funny as if you don't belong there. Had that happen to me applying for a breakfast cook gig. Their loss not mine.

Oh yeah diner cooks make $9-$12hr here in Denver. Fancy joints, your lucky to get $7.50hr to start. Don't know how many places I've been that the first thing they say is the job doesn't pay much.

By Steve9389 (Steve9389) on Tuesday, August 05, 2003 - 03:57 pm: Edit


Don't know what kind of experience level you're looking for, but you might want to try going through the placement office of the nearest culinary school. Espeically if you pay anything decent, you stand a good chance at getting your hands on someone who's still enthusiastic and willing to work like a dog (sorry) for the $$ and the experience.

- Steve

By Dinerdogg (Dinerdogg) on Tuesday, August 05, 2003 - 08:56 pm: Edit

Well. thanks for all the quick feedback. To answer some questions. I will pay up to $13 for someone worth it (experience, quick, reliable, and not a social misfit). We don't offer benefits. As far as sales, average covers, check average, etc., my opinion is that someone i'm hiring as a cook shouldn't be judging a position on these. If he is i figure she is nosy, lazy, or worried about how cool they can sound on their resume. To point, a James Beard House honored chef freind of mine starts out every conversation about his newest place by telling you his average entree price. I always get him by asking him, infront of any/everybody "But does it taste good?". I just hired a kid from the local tech school for PT, but that is not an option for a key ft cook. My experience with J&W, et al is that their graduates don't want to work in "greasy spoon". The fact that i'm alumni and made all my money in other parts of the business and now do this for quality of life is lost on young graduates.

By Steve9389 (Steve9389) on Tuesday, August 05, 2003 - 10:03 pm: Edit

Hell, I graduate at the end of this month, and for 13 clams an hour I'd work for you. But then, I'm not young.

By George (George) on Tuesday, August 05, 2003 - 10:21 pm: Edit

Line positions are hell to fill just about everywhere, especially with dependable folks.

Diners are even tougher because they have little or no appeal to new grads or old ones and are extremely demanding and repetitive positions. (working for a living with no sex appeal)

What will eventually happen is you will have to pay an exceptional wage and offer benefits to folks that stay over X amount of time.

Thatís the good news. The bad news is it will get worse.


By Flattop (Flattop) on Wednesday, August 06, 2003 - 02:43 am: Edit

One thing to keep in mind is that you're located in the diner mecca of the world. There's a few hundred of them in that area of the country as you probably already know. So your not the only one looking for them and having that much compitition for good cooks isn't gonna make it easier for you.

And not all of us culinary students have Emerilitis. Good food is good food and comfort foods rule in my book.

By Dinerdogg (Dinerdogg) on Wednesday, August 06, 2003 - 07:17 am: Edit

Well come on down and I'll share my chicken and dumplings recipe!

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