Clam Diggers Beach House & Restaurant, Georgetown
At Clam Diggers Beach House & Restaurant, diners can enjoy a sweeping water view from almost every angle. The restaurant gleams with cleanliness and sparkles with charm and simplicity. It boasts an outdoor deck steps away from waves bathing the shoreline.
It is quality casual dining specializing in seafood. Food is prepared from scratch and sourced locally as much as possible.
Chef Arlene Smith, owner and general manager, is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of Canada and holds a Red Seal designation in cooking. She opened the business in 2008. It’s a seasonal operation that stays open longer every year. In 2016, it opened the first of April and will serve customers until the end of December.
“We are trying to stay open longer to better serve the community and give our staff more opportunity,” says Chef Arlene.
About the staff
The 10 kitchen staff includes:
- Head chef
- Pastry chef
- Line cooks
- Fryer cooks
- Cold side workers make salads, sandwiches, appetizers and oils
- Kitchen support workers
“The kitchen support workers are junior entry-level positions,” says Chef Arlene. “Their duties range from assisting the chefs to washing dishes. This variety of experience allows the kitchen support workers to decide where they want to move on in the culinary world.”
The eight front of house staff include:
- Food and beverage servers
“The barista serves coffee, tea, water and desserts, which allows the food and beverage servers to take and deliver orders.”
Future hiring needs
“We will be looking for prep cooks, line cooks, kitchen support workers, servers, and cold side workers,” says Chef Arlene.
“Most of our food and beverage servers are university students working to pay their tuition. They usually move on to a different career when they finish university.”
Transferable skills that would suit future employees
- Friendly and outgoing
- Work ethic
How do you advertise for positions?
“We hire through employee referrals and by posting open positions on the Job Bank. I appreciate the employee referrals.
“I also post positions on the Culinary Institute of Canada Job board, and I recruit high school students through correspondence with the local high school.”
The hiring process
“For employees who will have a higher degree of responsibility and will fill leadership roles in areas such as health and safety, quality assurance, and fiscal accountability, it’s a three-step hiring process,” explains Chef Arlene.
“The first step is an interview with me. The second step in an interview with our chef and management team. The third step is a past employment and a reference check.
“When hiring front line workers, there is only the one interview.”
At what point in the hiring process are wages discussed?
“For employees in the more senior positions, wages are discussed during the second interview with the management team,” says Arlene. “For front-line workers, wages are discussed during the initial interview.”
Future business plans
Chef Arlene plans to stay open longer this season and offer a venue for Christmas parties.
How to apply
Drop by with a resumé.
Staff turnover rate
“The turnover is about 10 percent per year,” says Chef Arlene. “Most of the staff returns every year. We retain staff by treating people well, providing an environment where personal achievement is recognized, and offering an above-average wage. I get a lot of employee referrals because of our reputation as a great place to work.”
“We offer an above-average wage depending on certifications and designations.”
Is there a need for bilingual staff?
“We try to have at least one French-speaking staff per shift,” says Chef Arlene. “Being bilingual is an asset and not a job requirement.”
“We take a lot of pride in the training we provide,” says Chef Arlene. “When someone has worked here for two years, many of the skills learned here are transferrable and allow for progressive employment opportunities.
“Our training program focuses on the areas of food preparation, handling, storage, and the use of commercial restaurant equipment such as combination ovens, deep fryers, grills, and various small wares. Health and safety training is paramount in our kitchen as we handle a lot of fresh seafood products and other fresh foods.
“We are advocates of post-secondary education in the culinary arts. Clam Diggers makes an effort every year to hire interns from these programs.
“Clam Diggers offers a mentorship program that encourages new workers to pursue the opportunities in the culinary trade through an apprenticeship program.”
“It is seasonal employment, April to December.”
“There is a lot of standing and walking, and this is a fast-paced working environment that can be physically demanding.”
Typical interview questions
- What did you like most about your past job experiences?
- Give me an example of an accomplishment you are most proud of.
- Tell me something you did that has a postitive impact on your life or someone else’s
- Describe your past employment responsibilities.
Best way to get your foot in the door
“Set up a time to come talk with me and bring a resumé,” says Chef Arlene.
When working for the company, what are the keys to successful employment?
“It all starts with a good positive attitude. Be on time for work, take personal responsibility, be a team player. These are things an employer cannot train you on. You must bring them to the job.”
“You can start as a server and be promoted to supervisor or manager,” says Chef Arlene. “We encourage employees to pursue advancement opportunities both inside the company and out. L We have people who started as dishwashers and became chefs. If you are willing to put in the hours and take the required training, there is certainly a demand for professionals in the trade.”
For more information about Clam Diggers Beach House & Restaurant, contact Chef Arlene Smith at 902-652-2466. Visit www.clamdiggers.ca or like their facebook page.