During the day you can find Jonathan attending Church Hill Academy as a senior, but once the final bell rings, you’ll find him building his culinary skills as an associate at the Front Porch Cafe. In the afternoon and during summers, Jonathan is serving up coffee, sandwiches, salads, and smoothies to guests at our Front Porch Cafe. Jonathan is one of 3 teens who have been working for the Front Porch Café since before it opened last Fall.
Once he graduates from the Academy in May 2019, Jonathan has plans to go to culinary school, with long term dreams to open his own restaurant. Working at the cafe has been pivotal to Jonathan’s future goals and skill development. “I want to go to culinary school and become a chef, so I feel like working at the cafe, interacting with people - that’s good for me to know good customer service. And also it’s given me a little more taste of what it’s actually like to work in a kitchen.”
With a love for meeting and serving new people, the Cafe has given Jonathan an even deeper appreciation for customer service. He’s learned that retaining customers means meeting their expectations in a timely way - and in order to meet those expectations, everyone on the staff team needs to work hard, communicate well and have clear responsibilities.
“Our goal here is to make sure people feel at home, they feel safe, they feel secure, they feel comfortable. And they can also get good quality food.”
Jonathan had to learn some of these lessons the hard way. He recalls when the cafe had first started serving pizza and lots of customers were eager to try the latest menu item. Jonathan and the team struggled to keep up with demand, and they didn’t yet have a system to move orders along.
Through that experience, he learned how vital it is to have rock solid systems to process orders, as well as the importance of communication and trust with your coworkers. Jonathan and his teammates had the chance to problem solve and improve together which helped build their confidence and relationships. For Jonathan, “Teamwork is the key to making this cafe successful and any place really!”
If you haven’t had a chance to check out the Front Porch Cafe, we hope to see you soon! When you come in Jonathan recommends you try our Roast Beef sandwich and a tropical smoothie.
This story originally appeared in the 2017-2018 Annual Report.