The Urban Restaurant Group is making potential employees pay to apply for a job
A reader spotted this on Craigslist:
Established upscale restaurant group with new venues is now in the process of hiring for ALL restaurant, plus catering positions (i.e.: Executive Chefs, Sous Chefs, kitchen managers, line cooks, waiter/waitress, bartenders, servers, Bouncer-must be licensed, DJ, restaurant managers)
While we’re busy with these new venues, we had to hire an HR Assistant to process all resumes, therefore, you are kindly requested to send a processing fee of $4.50, through PayPal) along with your resume, both to be sent to email address: [redacted]@yahoo.com.
Send us your resume’, we will contact you for your first interview.
Send us your resume’, we will contact you for your first interview.
This is not a scam just a way to control costs ! And has gone through Pay pal Security. Thank You
Location: Portland, Sherwood, Vancouver WA
Although I thought it was a complete scam (a yahoo address for a corporation AND a fee to submit a resume???), there was other information that sounded a lot like the Urban Restaurant Group.
An email directly dissing the job posting’s author brought an astoundingly fast (and very polite) reply. And yes, it was the personal email of Urban Fondue/Pearl Catering (formerly Be Zinful) chef, Kevin Kennedy confirming the story.
I get that times are tough, but really–bussers are expected to pay $4.50 just to send a resume. Honestly, if they can’t afford their “HR Assistant” then someone needs to handle those duties themselves.
It also really, really indicates that you’ll probably have more than a few issues with getting paid properly and on time.
Seems like a reasonable fee. If they’re hiring 25 people and are getting 100 resumes per position, that’s 2500 resumes to look at. If they spend 2 minutes per resume, that’s still over 80 hours, just to read the resumes. With the economy as it is, they’re probably getting more than 100 resumes per position. Last time I hired, I got well over 100 in less than 24 hours that the job was on Craigslist.
Honestly, I think in this economy it’s better for those applying. You’re more likely to apply for jobs you’re actually qualified for and more likely to have someone actually look through the resume carefully and not just toss it. $4.50 is less than what most students spend on lunch. I bet this cuts down the number of resumes they receive by a huge amount, making their focus better and those who make the investment have a much better opportunity to get the job. It also shows they actually give a damn about the job. Everyone wins.
etramsg, no offense, but you don’t exactly have the greatest reputation as an employer, yourself (and yes, I do know some of your current and former employees). “Serious professional” aplicants aren’t going to be too terribly interested in working with no guarantee of hours (catering) or in the suburbs (Sherwood and Vancouver).
And everyone wins? It’s a well known fact that your best strategy in getting a job (especially in this crappy economy) is to cast a wide net–at $4.50 a pop, very few people, employed or unemployed can afford to apply for very many positions. Certainly, it will whittle down the number of applicants, but it will whittle them down to the desperate and the guillible (though perhaps that’s exactly what they want). At least the student paying $4.50 receives nourishment, the applicant receives nothing.
As for the airlines, as a catering manager, I’ve seen who shows up at airline job fairs–and they definitely aren’t going to pay an application fee, either. Perhaps this is true for higher level (like pilots) positions, but not entry level.
The ad appears to have been taken down—guess they decided to rethink their ideas for extra revenue (or maybe they found another credit card to max out).
extramsg, as my online handle attests, I read a lot but say a very little. However; are you kidding me? I’m a ten year pro in this industry, and I would never apply for a job that requires a $4.50 application fee. It tells me that the working environment is more likely to exploit workers, more likely to consider me replaceable, and more likely to treat the whole place with an air of, “You’re lucky to work here – so shut up.” I’ve worked for people like that, and I’ve never seen such depressed workers and bad service.
My bosses who have cared about me as a person, who share their passion for food in a way that brings buoyancy to us all – those are great jobs. And those bosses tried to feed us, tried to give us birthday gifts, tried to make us a restaurant family – they never asked for $4.50 in exchange for absolutely no guarantee that my resume isn’t going to be pitched after 30 seconds.
(Although my partner had a suggestion: refund or waive the fee for anyone who meets the minimum job requirements.)
Don’t take advantage of your potential employees just because you can: that’s arrogance, that’s bad karma, that’s abhorrent in this economy when many are indeed casting the widest possible net to get a job that puts food on the table, pays tuition bills and covers rent.
Extramsg, I respect a lot of what you say, and I’m a rabid reader of your blog, but you cannot be serious. I’ve never heard of such a thing, charging prospective employees just to APPLY for a position, and it smacks of both disrespect and bad business. What an abhorrent and unconscionable practice. Are we supposed to feel sorry for a corporation that has to sift through hundreds of resumes? What company doesn’t? You don’t see anyone else hitting up prospects for cash; they’re the ones who need it!
The fact that you voiced support for this repugnant idea leaves me with serious concern as to your moral compass as an employer in the food industry. Everyone’s entitled to an opinion, but wrong is wrong. You ought to be ashamed of yourself.
step right up…
step on up…
keep it orderly,
100 people for every job,
everybody gets a chance…
what would YOU pay for a chance?
is $4.50 too much to ask for a chance?
you tell me.
By paying the reasonable fee
front of the line!
well on your way to a first interview!
But for you…
(step closer kid, this ain’t for just anybody)
if you pay your first interview fee now,
you are practically guaranteed an interview today.
you are front of the line!
Top Shelf Material.
We’ve been considering you for a management position
(10% reasonable fee applies)
time is money in any biz
restauranting don’t pay
but taking resumes ain’t so bad
A number of airlines have charged for years. Some States charge processing fees in the region of $15-$20 for applications. And it doesn’t have a comment about not being a scam.
Shame about the reason being to cover an admin persons wages though. Something along the lines of doing it to cut down on the number of not so serious applications might have wiser.
If I pay to send a resume, I’d be expecting an interview.
Also, if I’m trying to find someone who will pay me for what I do, starting off by paying them inspires zero confidence. I expect you’re right re: not getting paid properly and on time.
Em A says
Post removed. Sorry to waste space.
Food Dude says
? I thought your post was fine.
I understand the concept, but I would never paypal money for a job application to “fishonk2000” Seriously. If you want to be taken seriously, you should maybe create a new email address with your business name. Sending money to the personal account of the chef is suspect. Even if it’s not a scam, it sure sounds like one. And that will not be good for your reputation.
wow! those in the know ‘know’. you can run but you cannot hide!
I’ll add in the case of state or federal positions. Typically if they require a fee, it’s because you have to take a loong entrance exam (or series of exams)—so you DO get something for your $ and are assured you are receiving all consideration (versus this resume sucks/click/delete).
These are also typically for secure, union, career positions offering excellent pay and benefits. Not an on-call, 5 hours per week, no benefits (other than sneaking banquet bread and butter during the client presentation), completely at will job.
I agree. If the application process included an extensive background check, for example, I wouldn’t mind. But an on-call, sporadic, no-contract job with limited potential for advancement and no benefits? Forget it! And there is NO guarantee that they will be giving apps one second more of consideration than other places that do not charge a fee. I also agree about the highly unprofessional email address. Business addresses should contain the full name of the owner or the business.
Food Dude says
I wonder if someone is paying taxes on these application fees?
Nancy Rommelmann says
I think it’s unconscionable to charge this fee for these positions, and then essentially leave people hanging, not knowing if they will/will not get a call. We run a small business, too; we get tons of applications. Our manager knows how to screen applicants because — unlike, apparently, the “HR” people at Urban Restaurant Group — she knows Ristretto’s business and how it runs and what we want, and, accordingly, weeds out the no’s and interviews the yeses, a job we pay her to do. I would only feel like a total tool for charging people to submit a resume. Shame on them.
Nancy Rommelmann says
fyi: job posting has been removed
far away says
you want to hire you take on the cost of hiring, you don’t spread your admin costs to people applying for a job! have they lost their F****** minds.
i don’t care what the economy looks like.
what a bunch of douche bags.
When I saw that ad on craigslist my first thought was, “what a scam!” As legitimate as they try to make it sound, this move loses Urban Restaurant Group a huge amount of credibility in my book. I was planning on taking my family to Urban Fondue, but knowing that it was their management that posted this ad makes me want to boycott their restaurants. I realize that employers are getting a lot of applications, but many can be weeded out with a glance. The fact that employers are getting so many applications in this sour economy had the potential to make Urban Restaurant Group a few bucks. For shame! Don’t even begin to try to justify taking advantage of people in their desperate situations.
For those of you I offended I am sorry ! The last time I posted an ad on craigs list I received over 600 hits. A large percentage of people without any Restaurant experience. Not including the people that applied Three and Four times. The true reason was to give quality people that are looking for a position a better chance to be seen. I received multiple Rude and nasty notes from people and also some good comments from executives in the area. Sometimes thinking outside the box should be thought through better this is the reason I removed it after two hours on Craigs List and not one cent was taken !
And coming out and saying “the true reason” now just confirms that you were untruthful in your ad. This is not “thinking outside the box.” It’s called deceitful business practices. It’s also called unprofessional.
Your situation of getting more resumes than you wanted is not unique. It’s happening to lots of businesses because there are a lot of unemployed people. While it may be tiresome, it’s part of running a business. So buck up and deal with it.
I understand about not having enough hours in the day to sift through hundreds and hundreds of aps- most of which have none of the experience your ad requested.
There are however, ways of weeding out 80% of them without alienating everybody in a town known for animosity towards businesses in general.
1)put in your ad a format requirement for the resume such as “put resume in body of email only- attachments will not be opened”
You just weeded out 50% of people who can’t take simple instructions
2)request in your ad that 5 verifiable business references be put at the TOP of the resume
You just weeded out a bunch more plus weeded out people that mysteriously don’t have anyone who will vouch for them
3)request in your ad that the subject line of the email read, for example: Service Position Urban Fondue
guess how many more you just weeded out
You will find as I have most resumes that come in will not have followed these very basic directions. You are now down to a reasonable number to sift through.
Food Dude says
All good tips!
Cuisine Bonne Femme says
Red Flag alert! Red Flag alert! If an employer is too effin’ cheap or really needs a “way to control costs” by charging people to apply for jobs, then imagine what a pain in the butt nickel and dime environment they might be like to work for. Break a glass? Sorry you’ll need to pay for it as a way to “control costs”. An unhappy diner send back an entree? Sorry toots, that’s coming out of your paycheck. Hungry after a 12 hour shift? Sorry, you can’t have a staff discount, it’s just a way to “control costs.” Five minutes late to your shift even though you busted 3 doubles in a row earlier in the week? Sorry, you are docked. Not to mention pay roll issues that will probably occur. Oy. Like I said, RED FLAG.
It’s also just scummy and unprofessional on the part of Urban Rest. Group. Why?
Like other scammy “pay to play” employment schemes, such as paying a recruiter to help you find a job, it’s simply not considered a professional thing to do. It would weed people out all right, just the wrong people. Honestly, even requiring a resume in addition to a job application will keep the pool manageable enough. And really, it doesn’t take that long to go through a pile of applications – maybe an hour at the most. The good ones clearly stand out. Maybe URG should hire that HR person 1st. Just sayin’.
It’s also very self defeating. Think of some of the best line cooks, sous chefs, and other kitchen talent in town. Many of them are Hispanic non-native English speakers. You really think they are going to go onto PAY-PAL TO APPLY FOR A JOB? Hell no. They are going to walk into a restaurant and get hired, hand over a resume they’ve had help with, or be referred from someone else in the kitchen and (sad, but true) they often don’t command as much money as other employee demographics. So URG just missed out on both TALENT and a COST SAVING MEASURE right there.
Heck, I use Pay-Pal all the time and it is often such a pain in the butt that I’m certain good people that would make terrific employees are not going to even pursue this system.
I agree w/ QV. Having just hired for a food business I can tell you there is absolutely no reason to charge applicants to apply for a job.
As an employer myself I cannot even imagine charging people to apply because I am overburdened with the task of weeding through their resumes. Dear God, there is such a thing as humanity and compassion for those out of work. It is dehumanizing enough to be out of work, but if the tables were turned and I had to pay to apply for some crappy corporate job I think I might take a leap off the Fremont bridge.
I thought the “true reason” was to pay your “HR Assistant”. Whatever.
If you truly wish to “think outside the box” how about this: why not have a price schedule? $5 = accept resume; $50 = 1st interview; $200 = 2nd interview; $500 = 90-day probationary period. Make it so only the most elite of prospects will waste your time by applying. My fee for imparting you this sage advice is $1500, payable immediately.
I could work only for someone whom I respected in some way. Judging from your dreadful writing skills and poor judgment, I can’t imagine respecting much about your abilities.
Food Dude says
One question posted to my facebook, “if someone wants to be considered but doesn’t have the money to pay, can it still be considered “equal opportunity employment”?”
Its me ! says
Yes you cant force someone to use pay pal the Four apps I received yes that is all! payed no money ! I really just wanted to give everyone a fair shot and find quality people ! I received $ 4.07 in Pay pal and it was my money testing out the system.
…so, in this food-savvy town full of industry professionals, you managed to get only four applications? And you’re pleased about this because…?
Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great that you admitted in an earlier posting to having made a mistake (don’t we all, at times!) and removing the ad. I’m just not sure you’re winning over many supporters by continuing to defend that mistake.
Given that Craigslist is charging for posting job offers, you should consider adding this service to your site. I for one would pay $20 to post an ad on you site, as it is read by a lot of people working in the higher echelon of the business and would provide a great source for talented restaurant staff.
Having posted ads for wait staff on Craigslist before and received hundreds of emails in a matter of a couple days, I honestly now fear about having to post another ad.
If Craiglist charges me to post an ad, why can’t it charge say 25 cents to respond to an ad. It would make people think twice about applying for a job that was offered that was beyond their level of experience and beyond the requirements listed in the description.
Currently Craiglist makes it very hard to find the best candidates for a position as one can not realistically look thoroughly through hundreds of emails and resumes. At some point enough is enough and you have stop and ignore hundreds of unread emails.
Food Dude says
I think I beat on restaurants enough, without charging them to post a job opening, especially in this economy. Anyone can post them for free in the forums section.
I agree with the comments above.
Also, if one wants to narrow down the field, there are better ways, like have them answer some questions as part of the application process. I wouldn’t necessarily give the responses much weight, but it could give you a narrower field of qualified candidates. Or just have them fill out an actual application rather than just forward their resume which takes about no effort. I am no “HR Assistant” but I have probably screened thousands of resumes.
I just posted an ad on Craigslist for fine dining waiter, (yes we are hiring). See it here:
The first response was at 1:51pm today, currently at 5:25pm I have had 55 responses.
I’ll let you all know tomorrow how many I get in 24 hours.
Years ago, I had the misfortune of interviewing w/ Kevin Kennedy, who I was recommended to by a professional associate of his. Previous to the my interview w/ him, we had a lengthy phone discussion during which he was rather flirty and said he was in need of another cook at Be Zinful. When I got there, he was ensconced in the front booth with a 20-something hottie who was, I believe, the hostess, and I was told to take a seat in the back of the restaurant. He knew I had travelled across town in rush hour traffic to meet with him, but he took his time coming over, my interview was extremely short, and when it was over he informed me that he really didn’t have a cook’s position open at the moment. WHAT? What a friggin’ waste of time getting my resume in order, dressing nicely for the interview, and driving to busy NW Portland to meet with him. In the end, I felt he had decided to interview me in order to check me out because he had been told I’m an attractive woman. Needless to say, I’m glad he didn’t want to or couldn’t hire me, and I’m not surprised he would try to charge people to apply for a job w/ his company.
Rye, from what I’ve heard (and seen), your story is not unique. I pity their PR firm.
Humble Pie says
rye can you please attach a photo to your avatar? I need to verify if your story is true.
So a poor person can’t find a job, what with zillions of people applying according to Extramsg, and he/she applies 100 times for $450 that they don’t have? Wrong, wrong, wrong. Another tax on the poor? What a country.
If you are getting too many apps on CraigsList Nick, try a newspaper or other ad and make people write to you, on paper, using a stamp. That will weed out the ones who don’t have the resume. Sending them electronically is free. When they have to print and mail/personally drop off, they’ll only bother with ones they are qualified for. Seems to me a better solution than charging.
This has been an interesting thread. Need some clarification, though. People have been referring to the management group who placed the ad as the “Urban Restaurant Group.” The closest local match I can find, however, is Urban Restaurants, Inc. Are these different entities, or have the people commenting here simply been mis-speaking (someone previously mentioned Kevin Kennedy which is the executive chef at Urban Restaurants, Inc.) I want to verify who truly placed placed the ad, as I am interested in following up on this story. If anyone is interested in contributing or offering info comment here or email @ email@example.com
I can forgive for having a bad idea and not thinking it all the way through before posting it. Craigslist can shower you in unqualified applicants.
However, lying in the ad about the reason for doing it? Nope. You lie once, you’ll lie again. It’s that easy. An employer willing to lie to you before you even apply will lie to you whenever they want to.
Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me.
I hope you get the employees you deserve and based on my experience there it seems like you already have.
What establishments are run under this company? As a person who goes out to eat and drink, quite a lot, I would like to avoid establishments who work under such business practices….If they are cutting corners on the basic things such as hiring, what other things are they doing that I don’t, as a consumer, know about?
Currently open are Urban Fondue, Bartini, Urban Studio (private event space in the Pearl), Pearl Catering (does catering for Urban Studio and off-premise venues, as well). Their other two venues (one in Vancouver, one in Sherwood) are, as yet, unnamed. But I’m sure there will be links to them soon enough on http://www.urbanfondue.com
And I agree, sfsr3, I’m certainly not going to patronize the, ever!
Thank you for the info, Zumpie, I will avoid these places like the plague. Luckily for us, the consumer, Portland has so many great places to dine, that I will never have to think twice about skipping out on trying these guys’ places out. Perhaps this sort of statement will help people keep their hiring practices above board in the future.
Allow me to second sfsr3’s thanks.
I don’t work in the industry (although I’ve certainly run into quite a few exploitative employers during my time, so I know the type), but I do eat out and write about Portland restaurants / brewpubs / bars / food carts / etc… quite a bit.
Thanks for letting us know who to avoid, and which places to dissuade our friends / family from patronizing.
And to expand upon gracecuisine’s comment below, I’m also left to wonder – will all these requested $4.50 fees buy this person a soul?
I wonder if $4.50 guarantees you a response. . .
Do they also happen to run under the name Sterling Restaurants and Consulting? (Their address is Bartini’s). If so, that might explain why they charge to apply. They need to generate cash somewhere to pay the $200,290.00 in state taxes they are delinquent on.
MRK, yes that would be them. Thanks for the info, Hee!!!