Sur La Table
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Sur La Table Reviews in Los Angeles, CA

Updated Apr 27, 2014
All Employees Current Employees Only

2.7 14 reviews

30% Approve of the CEO

Sur La Table CEO Jack Schwefel

Jack Schwefel

(10 ratings)

33% of employees recommend this company to a friend

Review Highlights

  • Great discount on product once you are a full employee(in 37 reviews)

  • It's a friendly place with great products, nice stores and you do get an employee discount(in 20 reviews)

  • This allows for the middle management team to look favorably in the eyes of the upper management(in 17 reviews)

  • Little to no training and big expectations for sales(in 6 reviews)

4 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews
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    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
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    • Disapproves of CEO

    6 people found this helpful  

    Run Away. Be afraid; be very afraid.

    Kitchen Assistant (Former Employee) Los Angeles, CA

    ProsI had some wonderful coworkers. 40% discount on non-sale items. Did I mention the discount? Highly qualified part time chefs.

    ConsBecause employees are part time, the supervisors think the underlings should be virtually on-call. Although no one on earth can afford to live off of what SLT pays, management doesn't seem to factor in that employees need their schedules to coordinate with other obligations (Job #2 and #3/School/Family). Sketchy attitude about breaks. Kitchen Assistants are paid the worst hourly wage possible under State law, whether or not they have extensive experience. Four Resident Chefs in two years. Unprofessional, disrespectful supervisors who have no experience with people; some have no experience with cooking or teaching cooking.

    Advice to Senior ManagementWhile Jack Schwefel is the CEO, don't be fooled into thinking this is a Mom and Pop organization. SLT is owned by Investcorp, a multinational investment fund. Given the fact that the bad management stayed that way for the entire two years I worked there, I can only assume that Management likes the way the Sur La Table train wreck functions, so I won't waste any breath on advice to management.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

    6 people found this helpful  

    Do it for the discount if you must, but only until you can find somewhere else better.

    Sales Associate (Current Employee) Los Angeles, CA

    ProsGenerous discount. 40% off full retail price, 1 electric per month.

    Relaxed dress code.

    Great clientele.

    Free coffee from the Jura and Nespresso machines.

    Now and then there are snacks to sample in the back if not on the floor.

    Cons• Benefits begin and end with the discount.

    • I have worked for Sur La Table since May 2011, as both a culinary assistant and a sales coworker, and have never received any kind of training, orientation, or even employee handbook.

    • When I transferred to the sales floor two months ago, the store manager informed me that pay starts at $10 hourly. I've been making $9.50 ever since.

    • Very little opportunity for advancement.

    • With a few exceptions, unhelpful if not combative management team.

    • Management largely incapable of thinking for themselves. Unless it's on a spreadsheet, it doesn't exist.

    • Require full-time availability, but most weeks only give 4-8 hours per coworker. I thought this was a store policy (a previous store manager was fired because the staff incurred too many meal break penalties) until reading the other reviews on this site.

    • Weekly schedules are made on Monday, based on sales and forecasts, and must be approved by district manager and not issued until Wednesday. Schedules are seemingly revised at will—last week I was told an hour before my shift that I had been called off because numbers had not been met.

    • Was told that I could not have my schedule e-mailed to me, as it constitutes working from home—even though other jobs in the past have done this. Have yet to find a state or federal law that supports this.

    • Most shifts last only 4 hours. My store is located in a premium shopping center in a busy part of town where street parking is difficult to find. Arriving to work requires on average an hour in drive and parking time, or spending $9 at the mall parking garage to work 4 hours at $9.50 per hour.

    • Never seen a major chain retailer so poorly organized. My store employs a full-time stockroom manager as well as a full-time merchandising manager, yet the stockroom always looks like a bomb went off. Inventory is stashed wherever there is room on the floor with no rhyme or reason. I can't begin to count the number of items that are not priced.

    As a result, countless man hours in productivity and sales are lost every day because we can't find the product within our four walls, or spend peak time horsing around between the company site and the archaic POS system looking for prices on items.

    Advice to Senior ManagementIt's really quite sad that Corporate chooses to operate based on their balance sheet and executive bonuses, because this could be such a great place to work and for the customer an even better place to shop.

    People are the most valuable resource of any organization, yet it seems that staff are not worth as much as the $3,000 coffee machines they push us to sell.

    It costs money to make money—invest in your staff and your stores, give them the resources needed for success. Quit trying to squeeze nickels out of pennies.

    Allocate an advertising budget to the culinary program. Realize the difference between stores and local markets—you can't compare Farmer's Market to Newport Beach because the demographics are night and day.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO


    A place to enjoy Corporate working

    Sales Associate (Former Employee) Santa Monica, CA

    ProsGreat customers to meet. Solid discount. Enjoyable training events.

    ConsManagement, management, management. With the turnaround of employees and staff happening faster than a meal ordered at McDonald's, it's no surprise this is their biggest problem. They don't know how to balance managing a team, with a realistic expectation from their employees. Unfortunately the company has become so focused on sell, sell, sell, that they don't compensate the thoughts of their employees. I knew this store was going in a bad direction when improvements to our stock/ break room left us without a fridge or even water for months. As much as they promised to substitute water for the time being - they never did. They never cared to listen to the complaints and concerns of us. Instead, they wanted more selling, higher sales, and still pay us minimum wage. I'm not sure how you think your expectations are realistic. I could not be more dissatisfied with the way this company has turned into.

    Advice to Senior ManagementRe-evaluate what your mission statement is, and the core values of this company and realize you have stepped so far from it, that this is no longer the company it once was. Listen to your employees because it is the sales associates that work the hardest meeting the goals you so kindly put forth. If the sales associates aren't happy, you're not going to get the results you want.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    • Work/Life Balance
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    2 people found this helpful  

    It looks like such a great place to work! But, the phrase you hear repeatedly: "We're Always Hiring" says it all...

    Sales Associate (Current Employee) Santa Monica, CA

    ProsThe discounts: 40% off products not already on sale, otherwise you get the sales price. 10% off electronics not already on sale. 50% matching of 2% of your salary on 401(k) contributions. The occasional celebrity siting at the Santa Monica store.

    ConsA very dehumanizing and unorganized environment where employees feel that they are not valued and are constantly being chastised for not following ever-changing policies. Unaccountable and lazy store management. You are repeatedly scheduled for the shifts you requested off. Manager walks away from you when you need help with a customer (or anything) instead of following through and taking responsibility. It's embarrassing when you're with a customer! The only two remaining long-term assistant & floor managers are very good, but treated with little respect. District management is very abusive. Reviews were written at the district level this year and were consistently negative and seemed to be written by someone who didn't even know who were were. They gave us these reviews right before the holiday season (our busiest time) so we were all completely demoralized. That just seems dumb. All in all, a very frustrating, degrading and bizarre place to work.

    Advice to Senior ManagementDo exit interviews! With as much turn-over as you have you should be able to obtain a wealth of information. Get organized! It will increase your sales. Give employees more regular hours, and more consistent pay increases, even if it's a small amount. It will help moral.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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