Stone Hearth Pizza, Allston’s newest restaurant, is working with the city of Boston and Harvard University to help local residents have a good shot at being hired for the restaurant’s 25 to 35 new jobs.
On Monday (June 27), Harvard University and the city of Boston’s Allston-Brighton Resource Center hosted a job fair to connect residents with Stone Hearth’s hiring managers. More than 50 residents attended. It was one in a series of job fairs geared toward linking local residents with new Harvard tenants, which are bringing more than 100 jobs to the neighborhood.
While making and serving good food and buying local and organic food whenever possible are central to Stone Hearth Pizza’s mission, the customer experience is equally as important, officials there say.
“We’re here because building a team is one of the most important things that we do,” said Jonathan Schwarz, co-founder of locally owned Stone Hearth Pizza, who is seeking full- and part-time employees, including managers, hostesses, waiters, cooks, and other workers. The restaurant is preparing to open for business in the former Citgo station in Barry’s Corner in late summer. “It’s humbling to be in a position to provide job opportunities to people in this difficult economy,” Schwarz said after meeting one-on-one with dozens of people.
The job fair was a four-hour marathon of briefings and interviews for Schwarz, as well as for Melissa Klein, the operations manager, Michael Ehlenfeldt, general manager and executive chef, and Alex Chamberlain, marketing director. Several candidates they saw were very qualified; some had been seeking jobs for some time. The managers said they want employees who care about their jobs, love customer service, and enjoy working in a team. Most restaurants have a high turnover rate, but Stone Hearth’s is half that of similar restaurants, the company says.
“I was impressed with Jonathan and his team … there is a certain charisma with this team, and I can relate,” said Rena Foley, a member of the Sisters of Saint Joseph, who hopes to land a post as a greeter/hostess. “I’m excited about this opportunity.”
The Stone Hearth session was the second in the job fair series, which also provides pre-session briefings, resume reviewing, and interview practice. The Allston-Brighton Resource Center and the Harvard Allston Workforce Collaborative hosted an employment session in May for Winter Garden Adult Day Care. Upcoming sessions include Maki Maki and Swiss Bakers.
“We have hoped that new Harvard tenants in Allston would result in new jobs for Allston residents — tonight’s job fair is a big step forward in that regard,” said Christine Heenan, vice president of Harvard Public Affairs & Communications. “These jobs are important, particularly in this economy, and we see this as an opportunity to integrate Stone Hearth and other new tenants into the fabric of the community from day one.”
As for Foley, who is well-known through her parish and volunteer work at the McNamara House, the evening produced a promising link.
“Who could say no to Sister Rena Foley,” said Schwarz.