Being responsible for staffing two restaurants, a café and a catering business for Bon Appétit in San Francisco’s Presidio, human resources expert Nicole Pellerin (photo, left) has her job cut out for her.
When Pellerin met MEDA Job Coach Robert Lopez (photo, right) at a culinary job fair back in September, the two decided to team up.
Lopez knew that MEDA could create a pool of prospective Bon Appétit employees by pre-screening the nonprofit’s Workforce Development clients who were looking to jumpstart a career. The culinary world is an ideal place to do so.
Explains Pellerin, “For new hires lacking in experience, they can start in support roles. We recently promoted two dishwashers to prep cook positions. If someone is hardworking and shows initiative, that talent will be recognized.”
There were 17 applicants who took turns sitting across from Pellerin at a conference room in MEDA’s Plaza Adelante today. Pellerin explained the history of Bon Appétit and then queried the candidates to determine their best fit at the company.
All interviewees had already honed their resumes, received free job coaching and done mock interviews, so Pellerin encountered a prepared talent pool. From bussers and servers to back-of-house staff and cooks, Pellerin is always looking to talk to prospective employees eager to work for a fast-growing company. In the last two months, about 10 MEDA clients have joined Bon Appétit, now enjoying fulfilling work with stellar benefits.
Bon Appétit Management Company is an on-site restaurant business offering full food-service management to corporations, universities and specialty venues. There are now more than 650 cafes in 31 states. One piece of the business model is for healthy food to be offered, with at least 25 percent locally sourced. This is especially important in the health-conscious San Francisco Bay Area.
The Presidio is a special place to be, although getting to the far-flung northwest corner of the city can seem like an obstacle. Bon Appétit has figured out the solution, offering free shuttles from BART and the Transbay Terminal. Plus, the 43 MUNI bus line can get workers there. Once in the Presidio, employees are surrounded by eucalyptus groves and there is an invigorating sea breeze—a pretty nice environment in which to work.
“I am pleased that MEDA now has such a strong partnership with Bon Appétit. This is a win-win for all involved,” sums up MEDA’s Lopez.
Concurs Pellerin, “Teaming up with MEDA has created an integral piece of the pipeline I need to keep Bon Appétit’s busy eateries full staffed. I look forward to hiring more MEDA clients in the future.”