There are newer employer reviews for Sur La Table

16 people found this helpful  

Looking backwards and big growing pains

  • Comp & Benefits
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Senior Management
  • Culture & Values
  • Career Opportunities
Current Employee - Senior Business Analyst in Seattle, WA
Current Employee - Senior Business Analyst in Seattle, WA

I have been working at Sur La Table full-time (more than 3 years)

Pros

There's certainly enough work! You're never not busy and everyone tries to get things done. You get to do your tasks independently and for the most part what you accomplish is appreciated. And you don't have to think too much, just do what you're doing.

Cons

Everything is Priority 1! There is no chance you'll focus on something you want to do. The systems (I use this term loosely) are barely functional for this size of company. Maybe they worked 20 or 30 years ago, but they're basically useless now. Program management is missing because the executive team has no idea where they want to go. But they sure are happy and comfortable doing the same thing over and over again. You know why there's plenty to do? Because there isn't enough headcount to get things done. There's no investment in the future, only spending to maintain old systems. And you know why you don't have to think too much? Because the execs really believe they're smart enough for everyone so they think for you. Turn your brain off at the door.

Advice to ManagementAdvice

Stop what you're doing, the status quo won't help anymore. You really aren't that smart, and you have no idea what's going on because your systems are broken. Determine your priorities, set a strategy and stick with it. Wake up one morning in this century and start building systems to support up to date retail operations. If you even know what those are. You're looking in the rearview mirror and you're lost. Your competitors are so far ahead of you they don't even see you in their rearview mirror. You are not moving fast because you are disorganized and dysfunctional.

Doesn't Recommend
Negative Outlook
Disapproves of CEO

193 Other Employee Reviews for Sur La Table (View Most Recent)

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  1. 16 people found this helpful  

    Kinda cool, kinda weird, kinda dumb and a hot mess -

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Store Manager in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Store Manager in New York, NY

    I worked at Sur La Table (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Fantastic product selection. If you are a self starter and curious about cooking, technique, tools, etc..it's a great place to be. The average staff member at the store level has a passion for cooking and or is creative, smart, interesting..maybe just funny and we love funny.

    Cons

    Day to day store operations are micro managed from corporate. Executive management seems to have little confidence in the abilities of store managers. Like most retailers it is pay for play but many stores are under staffed because of unreasonable payroll expectations. Store managers often work well past a normal work week to meet the needs of the business. Many new stores seem to be opening in speculative markets with hopes, dreams and wishes for growth without consideration for the reality on the ground. Major markets rely on hiring from the outside for managers because little to no development is taking place from within. Most internal promotions are taking place because people quit or are terminated. Part time staff is under employed for most of the year with the promise of more hours during peak season. Most managers at the store level are frustrated in being unable to provide hours to people who want to work. Stores are required to maintain staffing as it relates to an often exaggerated business goal while keeping most pt employees in the 4-12-24 hours per work week.

    The computer system is old school and often does not reflect current inventory. Lost prevention is a focus by corporate but store level concerns are often ignored by corporate. In one case a store had its guard removed without corporate informing the management team at that store.

    Store walk through: by corporate executive and regional managers are sometimes pop visits, usually unprofessional and often demoralizing. The general attitude seems to be wanting to catch the team doing something wrong vs how to help them succeed.

    Embarrassingly dated management practices with a focus on coaching notes and behavior modifying. The idea is fine but it's sad when smart people rely on a check list to to try and manage intelligent people. It's an inside joke among the the staff when a manager tries to coach in the moment. It's an inside joke among the managers when they write notes to the area/district/regional manager regarding the people they coached. I am sure the joke goes all the way up the top to HR...not to mention Investcorp.

    Stores follow a mostly mass visual execution with little payroll support to maintain. In most stores managers are working in overdrive trying to keep their store aligned according to visual expectations. Some stores enjoy having a great merch asm that was likely trained by another company.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Every day is a new chance to do the right thing. In the meantime the clock is ticking and its only a matter of time before Investcorp figures out that you (corporate) are under-performing.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  2. 14 people found this helpful  

    Chef Overload Makes a Half-Baked Company

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Planner in Seattle, WA
    Former Employee - Planner in Seattle, WA

    I worked at Sur La Table full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    One of the friendliest places you'll ever work; wonderful people who are truly passionate about what they do. Everyone tries as hard as they can to get things done and do nice things for their customers. If you want to work at a very traditional retailer from the last century; focused on stores and a catalog then this is the place for you.

    Cons

    You read about companies like this in school, but never think they still exist. Too many people with their own opinions, everyone thinks their idea is the be all end all greatest thought ever. There is no coordination between departments, communication doesn't exist. The 2 things people say most often are "I don't know what's going on either" and "No one told me that". All the executives are hands on micro managers, acting like they need to do the job, can do the job, and their people are roadblocks. VP's are puffed up workers; meddling in just about everything that happens. Given the opportunity to go behind another execs back they will. Whichever one of the them speaks last gets what they want; unless the CEO chimes in too. No one is interested in learning anything, they just want to be right. There isn't much deep thinking; it's a silly crazy moving target.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Destroy the seemingly infinite hardened silos, open up, modernize, talk to your customers, think about customers, think about how things are changing, stop standing still. Train every single manager and executive basic management skills. Stop micro-managing, get out of the way and let people do their jobs. Figure out what it means to be a successful retailer going forward instead of relying on what you've been doing since the 1980s. Have you even heard of the internet and social media? Have a vision, set real goals and objectives, figure out what matters besides making money for the Bahraini investment firm that owns you. Learn how to listen to the customers you don't have, but wish you did.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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