During our restaurant expeditions, we noticed a particularly interesting trend-almost all the restaurants were in the process of hiring someone.
This sign was posted by Ella. When we visited the restaurant, we actually encountered a female who was in the process of handing in her resume. Her resume looked extremely professional.
The workers at the bagel store weren’t particularly helpful in terms of answering our questions. However, we noticed that they were also in the process of hiring someone. The workers that are present in the bagel store seem to be primarily Hispanic.
The owner of this place is Turkish. Because of a language barrier, he refused to speak to us. However, he is also in the process of hiring someone.
El Beit is in the process of hiring a prep cook. We spoke to a worker there and he said he came from San Antonio, Texas to New York for his graduate degree at NYU and Columbia. He explains that he likes Williamsburg because of the neighborhood’s respect towards the “service industry.”
The workers at Williamsburg range from college graduates to recent immigrants, ranging from Asians to Hispanics. However, one thing that they can all agree on is that they are attracted to Williamsburg because of its “friendly” atmosphere.
Worker Profiles: Immigrant Groups
Pan Asian Food: Mizu
The waitress that we spoke to was originally from China. We thought this was particularly interesting because Mizu is a restaurant that serves Japanese cuisine rather than Chinese cuisine. Although we were able to communicate with the waitress, it seemed that she doesn’t have the fluency of English that native speakers have. The rest of the employees of the restaurant also seems to be of Asian descent.
Pan Asian Food: Wild Ginger
The waitress that we spoke to was originally from Malaysia. She is a recent immigrant to the United States. She came to Williamsburg because of the opportunities available. When we asked what kind of employees the restaurant is looking for, she said that the most important requirement is that the person have a firm grasp of the Chinese language. Most of the other employees at this restaurant were also of Asian descent.
Pan Asian Food: Bayleaf
The manager we spoke to at Bayleaf holds a Bachelor’s degree from Bangladesh. Although we could communicate with the manager, we could tell that English was not his native language. Other men of Indian descent were also working in the kitchen.
Middle Eastern Food : The Oasis
At the Oasis the owner and the employee who worked the cash register were of Middle Eastern descent. They did not speak English fluently but they did not have trouble understanding their customers’ orders. They were both very efficient when preparing the food. However, in the back kitchen I noticed young Hispanic men shuffling in and out of the restaurant. They were primarily responsible for food delivery.
American Food: Pop’s of Brooklyn
The young lady we spoke to was of Hispanic descent, she was born and raised in Williamsburg and spoke fluent English. There was a middle aged man standing next to her (mid forties) who was also of Hispanic descent, we knew this because at times our interviewee would speak to him in Spanish. In the kitchen, the people preparing the food were also Hispanic. At Pop’s the people who worked at this restaurant were homogenous, which makes communication more efficient. Since this is a fast food chain, rapid service is essential for the business to be successful.
American Food: New York Muffins
Similar to Pop’s of Brooklyn, the employees at New York Muffins were of Hispanic descent. The young woman we interviewed was of Mexican descent, but she was born and raised in New York City and spoke fluent English. Initially when we walked into the coffee shop we asked to an employee if we could ask her any question but she directed us to another man who, because of a language barrier could not speak to us. We heard Spanish phrases being spoken between the employees, but they were friendly and willing to help us with our project.
American Food: El Beit
At El Beit the employees were American males with college degrees. The employee we interviewed was originally from San Antonio, Texas and moved to New York for graduate school. El Beit means home in Arabic, and the coffee shop presents a comfortable and quiet environment for the hipsters to come in and work on their laptops. It is similar to a Starbucks except the menu changes daily, the coffee shop has a daily special to offer its loyal customers variety. Both the employees were in their early/late twenties. They were happy to help answering our questions and gave us detailed responses.
Organic Food: Ella
The employees at Ella were mainly those who are young and educated. They range from their 20’s to 30’s. Some might consider them the “hipsters” of the neighborhood. These “hipsters” were working at the cashier and interacting with the customers. At second glance, there were Hispanic men working at the back kitchen.
Organic Food: Radish
Radish is located next door to El Beit. Similar to El Beit, the employees who worked at Radish were in their early/late twenties and were also college educated or currently pursuing their education. The employees were primarily American females and males. The language spoken between them was English and the environment was very friendly and the employee we interviewed was very open about her experiences. She is currently pursuing her education at Hunter College: she is working towards her degree in Anthropology.