Company interview: SmokeHouse
Representative - David Smith, co-owner.
Description: Smokehouse is Chisinau's first American BBQ Restaurant. We promise BBQ, Beer and Community. No more. No Less.
1.What does the company do?
Our company is called Smoke House and we are an American Barbeque Restaurant. We specialize in BBQ and beer. We strive to be a community oriented location built on the theme of American BBQ and a selection of unique Moldovan beers.
2. How is the company different?
We are different in a lot of ways, first of all the most obvious is that we are an American BBQ restaurant, that means our food is cooked in a smoker, with a special technology, the pulled pork it's cooked for about 14 hours, so very long cooking process, it's very tender and flavoured. Other meats are similarly cooked. We have a very small menu for Moldova, but we work very hard every day so we have everything on it. Not to complain about other places, but it's very common that you go somewhere, order something and they don’t have it. We want to do only a few things but very well. Another difference is that we have a selection of 6 beers on tap for. Our product is our biggest differentiation and we are very proud of it and we invite everyone to come and try.
3. What types of positions you have?
Our company hires cooks and waiters, all types of positions you have in a restaurant. We don’t offer manager positions, because we the owners are the managers, we are here everyday, actively running the business.
4. Why should young people choose this company?
Everyone needs to make their own choice where they work. We are an American company and offer a different type of service. We have different values and goals. We really value our employees, they are a team. Our number one rule is that you are a team, you work as a team, you see somebody else needs help, you help. We have a great team, they work together really hard to do the best they can for Smoke House. Many moldovan companies have different styles, but this is an American small business style, and I think people enjoy it.
5. What do you look for in young professionals to work here?
Number one I look for attitude, people who smile, are open, are willing to approach customers and interact with them in a way that shows that they have confidence and respect for the customer. The second thing and the most important for any job is responsability, if you commit to working some hours or doing a job, you need to be able to be counted on, if I can count on you we're gonna be big friends for ever, if I can’t count on you it's big problem. And that related to any job, you need to be reliable. Another thing is that I really appreciate critical thinking, so if I tell somebody “go do this” and there is a reason they shouldn’t they need to tell me “ no I have something else to do and make their own work a priority”. Think through the problem, ‘cause the problem is not “do what your boss says”, the problem is get the job done and this applies to any job. If you can think independently through a problem then you’re going to be a more valuable employee and that is probably the most powerful thing.
6. What skills do you think young people should develop?
In this industry here, number one is communication skills, to be able to talk to people, understand what they are saying and interpret what they want. For example if they say “I want a sandwich” and we don’t have it, you need to suggest something else then. There are different skills to different jobs. Knowledge of english it's very important for us and for our customers, but also romanian and russian. Self-organization is very important.
7. How was the process of opening this Restaurant in Moldova?
Absolutely terrible, opening a business anywhere in the world is very hard, most things that are worth doing are hard. Here the government has been very unwelcoming, but the business owners have been very welcoming, other people have been welcoming too. I’ve lived in Moldova for two years and I love it here but it is not good climate for business. If you want to read more about David’s business experiences check his blog here, where you’ll find many humorous stories.
8. Why did you open a restaurant here and not somewhere else?
I was a volunteer here for two years, and as that time was ending, me and my business partner started asking ourselves if we would want to start a business in Moldova. So we started thinking and then decided that we’re going to try. We built our idea on cooking barbeque, and it has been changed 100 times until we started this, and it grew.
9. Do you plan to extend it?
The thing is I never saw myself open a barbeque restaurant, now I do, maybe I will someday I don’t know. But what I do know is that now there are a lot of opportunities in Moldova and that's why we came here.
10. Any final recommendations for youth that are looking for jobs?
If you’re looking for jobs, the number one thing is be professional and respectful when you apply. Its very important to make a good first impression, if you can get to an interview you have the possibility to get the job. You need to want it and you need to fight for it, and when you do that, your employer will see that you are worth hiring. You can make mistakes, “when I went to my first interview I showed up in flip flops, with a shirt, don’t do that”, making mistakes is one thing, but showing interest and willing to learn will get you through it.