Restaurant Claims Demanding Want Ad Is a Joke

Line cooks were angry over the insane details in a Craigslist help wanted ad. (Photo: Getty Images)Working as a line cook is notoriously tough, with long hours, low pay, and little downtime. An over-the-top help wanted ad posted recently on Craigslist struck a chord with tired, overworked employees everywhere for its high-maintenance demands, and quickly made international news headlines.

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The job listing for a line cook at FARMBloomington had 44 detailed requirements, including showing up early, having a good attitude, and never complaining. But it also asked that applicants "don't get defensive or act like you already know everything," "admit when you're wrong, but don't point it out when others are wrong — especially the chef," "anticipate what the chef needs next," "cook your dishes exactly as the chef taught you, the same every time," and only suggest changes "in private or phrase it so it seems like it was the chef's idea."

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Sounds too horrible to be true? Exactly. The want ad turned out to be a prank gone wrong,  FARMBloomington's general manager, Harry Shafer, told Yahoo! Shine.

"I absolutely agree that the ad was way out of line," Shafer wrote in an email. "We employ over 50 associates and order our food and supplies from over two dozen local farms and companies. Trust me when I say that we do everything we can to support the local community, and our staff as well."

The text for the outrageous ad was lifted from a January 2008 blog post on FoodZealot.com (tagline: "We think about food and restaurants -- both real and imagined"). The post, titled "You would be a bad ass line cook if…" lists all the things line cooks should do in order to be excellent at their jobs.

"A sous chef copied and pasted the info from the Food Zealot blog," Shafer said. "He did this without upper management or owner's approval. It does not reflect our chef/owner's requirements and does not represent our usual job postings which are much more general."

The Craigslist ad was taken down as soon as FARMBloomington managers noticed it, a few hours after it was published. "The restaurant, ownership and upper management are sorry for any confusion our junior managers may have caused by cutting and pasting something from the Internet," Shafer told Yahoo! Shine. "I promise that the ad does not reflect the kind of business we run."

Commenters who weighed in on the viral ad were particularly annoyed by things like "You always show up for work, even if sick as a dog — let the chef see that you're actually sick and send you home," "You never just stand around, talking, leaning, and waiting," and "You are able to work double shifts for many days without days off." 

On Tuesday, Shafer explained the restaurant's real stance on those particular points. "Sick associates are most often just hungover, so it is our policy that the managers decide if they cannot work," Shafer explained to Yahoo! Shine. "Although we do run a tight ship and a very professional kitchen, I promise you our staff enjoys themselves while they are here (at least as much as someone can while working). Our hourly staff does not work over 40 hours per week (if they do they are paid time and a half and receive gift cards as bonuses) and all managers receive 2 days off per week."

If you think of it as a list of helpful tips, rather than high-maintenance demands, it actually makes a lot of sense. Luckily, it seems that FARMBloomington is following at least a little of the advice. "Don't take yourself too seriously," the post reads. "Be able to laugh at how you f***ed something up. But learn from it."

Here's the original Craigslist job listing in its entirety.

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