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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Food Service Job Applicants, Mind Your Fucking Manners

Posted By on Thu, Apr 5, 2012 at 4:00 PM

Job research never tasted so good. - RFT PHOTO
  • RFT photo
  • Job research never tasted so good.

Fact: Gut Check frequently eats lunch at the Chipotle Mexican Grill (6316 Delmar Boulevard; 314-678-3200) in the Delmar Loop. Not only is the location just steps away from the RFT offices, it's ahem, Chipotle. We love its burritos, tacos, chips and salsa and burrito bowls, and, as far as we know, it's the only fountain soda in the Loop with Coke Zero on tap (because calorie-free soda is key to washing down a pound of burrito).

We visit that tried-and-true location so frequently that its very friendly staff often say hello to us and recite our order to the burrito assembly line before we can even try. Because that's just how fantastic they are -- they don't make us repeat, "Vegetarian burrito bowl, extra everything with chips and salsa and a large fountain soda to stay," multiple times each week. Today, while filling our obligatory large fountain soda with Coke Zero, we overheard a manager (the manager, perhaps?) interviewing a potential new Chipotle employee.

Manager: What is your favorite part of eating at a Chipotle?

Interviewee: Oh, I've never eaten at a Chipotle. I love burritos, though.

And that is how not to apply for a job, anywhere, ever. To his credit, the manager handled the curve ball with aplomb and smiled before moving on to the next question. Gut Check isn't sure if that blasé response cost that interviewee the opportunity to work for Chipotle, but we kind of hope it did.

It's not just that the interviewee admitted to never eating a Chipotle burrito -- by the way, there are eight Chipotle restaurants in the Metro area -- that is most surprising or egregious. It's that they admitted to loving burritos. They love to eat burritos and they've never thought to eat a Chipotle burrito. It's like loving frozen custard but never considering eating frozen custard at Ted Drewes. It's almost as bad as saying, "Oh, I've never eaten at a Chipotle. I love Qdoba burritos, though," but not quite. We understand that perhaps for this interviewee working at Chipotle isn't the stuff that dreams are made of, but maybe for someone else it is. Maybe someone else who appreciates made-to-order burritos crafted with high-quality, fresh ingredients. Maybe someone else who has eaten at a Chipotle restaurant prior to applying for a job with one.

Of course there are examples of when this response to the same interview question wouldn't totally nullify one's chances at landing a food service job. If, say, Gut Check was applying for a job at an exclusive, gourmet restaurant that we can't really afford to visit, then we'd readily admit, with equal parts embarrassment, sadness and enthusiasm that we're, "Really looking forward to working with a team who has proven itself to be such a culinary tour de force." Oh yeah, we'd work it. We'd work it ad nauseum. If we were applying for a job at a fucking Chipotle, though? The only way we'd ruin that interview would be by praising its food too often and too profusely, which, trust us, could realistically happen.

Basically, the first rule of interviewing for a job is to research the company before showing up, and when "research" in this context means "eat a damn Chipotle burrito," it's hard to understand why you wouldn't do that. Multiple times, perhaps, just to be thorough.

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