Serving the City: From Server to General Manager
ST. CLOUD -- The restaurant industry has been hit the hardest this year by restrictions related to COVID-19.
Jolene Chatfield is just one of the hundreds of people in the St. Cloud metro area who have chosen to make serving others her career. She says after she graduated from St. Cloud State University in 2010 she took a job as a server at Grizzly's in Waite Park while she figured out her future. From there she started bartending and then got promoted to assistant manager.
She says she enjoyed serving from the beginning.
We get to be creative and talk to people and I love talking to people. You get to be a part of celebrations and new things like engagements and parties. You are serving them and creating this experience, and it's more than just a job, you feel like you're connecting to people.
Chatfield is now the general manager at Olde Brick House in downtown St. Cloud, and she's been with the same company for 11 years.
As for the challenges her restaurant has faced this year, she calls it 'indescribable". She says the year has been challenging like nothing she's faced in her 11-year career in the business.
I never thought I would be opening and closing my restaurant so many times if that makes sense. It has been a great challenge in trying to figure out what is the best for your building, and your staff, and the community.
Chatfield says they tried doing take-out and delivery but have now stopped that option saying they are not set-up to be a take-out restaurant.
She says it would be unfortunate if the team she has built had to go out and find new jobs because of the forced shutdown, but she would understand. As for herself, Chatfield says she doesn't see herself leaving the industry anytime soon.
It's more than just a job, if I looked at it as just a job would I have given up, probably, but's my life, it's an extension of my family, it's how I take care of my family. And, my customers and my staff are an extension of that as well.
WJON News has launched a new series called "Serving the City" where we feature people in the bar and restaurant industry who have made it their full-time career. If you know someone we should feature for this series email firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know.