This past weekend I visited my favorite cafe upstate. It is a meeting place for locals, a tourist haven for ice cream cones and memories of my daughter waiting tables as a teenager. I have a love hate relationship with this cafe. Fond memories, relaxing atmosphere and friendly conversation. Adversely, one of the owners has a terrible reputation with how he treats his staff. My daughter, in the past had given me a few instances of beratement directed at her. She said she could handle it and for me not to interfere. This past weekend, as I was visiting my favorite cafe upstate, standing in front of the ice cream cooler, I overheard the owner in discussion with two employees. They were probably 17 years old. I know there is a training process with the staff. They memorize the menu and the preparations of the food and drinks. They are tested until the owner is confident with their knowledge, then given more hours to work. Make sense to me! As a teenager and young adult I worked in restaurants, both sides of the counter, managed a kitchen employed with teens. I know it can be difficult and frustrating with this age group but as an employer, you get what you pay for. If you want to hire children, an employer has to train them and guide them differently than adults because they are inexperienced with life and work. They are very young. What I overheard while waiting for my ice cream cone made me want to dump the cone over the owner's head. He belittled and berated the two staffers for 15 minutes. As he dismissed them, his eyes rolled, his chest huffed. I so wanted to say something, but this is a small town and I thought it best to speak to my daughter first. I did. The stories she told me were shocking. Sadly, she hid them from her parents when she was employed at this cafe. This makes me so sad. One instance, my daughter asked for the minimum wage increase that had been implemented by the government a few weeks earlier. He screamed at her for 15 minutes and told her she could get a raise, but he would take it out of her tips! Sadly, my daughter told me the whole staff works under fear. :( The next time I visit upstate I will be going inside my once favorite cafe. I will speak to the owner and let him know how, as a customer, having witnessed his behavior first hand has ruined this charming little cafe for me. I will never go back. I am contemplating taking further action. I am not insinuating anyone out here is verbally abusing our youth or any of our employees. I am bringing this forward to remind myself and anyone that cares to listen that our customers have ears. Unprofessional behavior is a small business is a huge black mark. Abuse obviously is the most unprofessional behavior there is.
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