Sur La Table Reviews in Portland, OR

Updated March 31, 2014
Updated March 31, 2014
191 Reviews

2.5
191 Reviews
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Recommend to a friend
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Sur La Table CEO Jack Schwefel
Jack Schwefel
111 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • 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)


Cons
  • 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)

More Highlights

9 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1.  

    Educational

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Tualatin, OR
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Tualatin, OR

    I worked at Sur La Table part-time for less than a year

    Pros

    Great if you love to cook and talk cooking

    Cons

    Need to know above average cooking skills to be good at the entire stores inventory.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Be personable, we all need to work and having a boss you don't feel intimidated by makes work worth being there.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2. 6 people found this helpful  

    A company confused and peppered with unrealistic expectations.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Sales Associate  in  Portland, OR
    Current Employee - Sales Associate in Portland, OR

    I have been working at Sur La Table part-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Great employee discount, fun new products and incentives. A company still passionate about food.

    Cons

    inconsistent, ever-changing focus. Poor pay, with little room for growth. Incredibly high expectations (I understand this is retail, but unattainable goals do not help create positive moral). Availability requirements, especially of Floor Leads are extreme (even more so given the pay rate). Low hour availability, limited in most cases to some 12-15 hours a week, flexing to 20-23 (NEVER more than 25).

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The availability requirements for the Floor Lead position are unrealistic given both the compensation rate and and number of hours commonly scheduled. This position needs significant re-evaluation.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3. 19 people found this helpful  

    The company is profit driven and their employees are expendable.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Portland, OR
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Portland, OR

    I have been working at Sur La Table part-time

    Pros

    They have a generous discount and scheduling can be flexible.

    Cons

    It is not an environment where employees can comfortably bring up issues, continual criticism that is not constructive, low wages, terrible scheduling, upper management that is: rude, passive aggressive, discourteous, can have a vigorously fake demeanor to make sales, management won't care about issues other than that which applies to making profits. There is poor management of 'team', overworking staff because of not scheduling enough employees to work, also hiring more when they should be giving more hours to current employees, not paying kitchen assistants enough to do all front and back of house jobs and to sell too, management causes stressful environment, lack of urgent responses to fix/replace things that need attention, no break room, poor cleanliness of culinary area. Overall, it is a tiptoe environment.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Dear Upper Management,

        You are a apart of a company where employees are only numbers. We know this through your disloyalty and lack of respect and also that we can be quickly replaced by another individual.

        Your management and interpersonal skills (or may I politely say, lack there-of to both!) are clearly not in the best interest of anyone but yourself. You see that we chefs, retail personnel, kitchen assistants, and some managers are continually understaffed, under appreciated, thus stressed. Yet we try to please you because we hope not to deal with passive aggression. What I find interesting is that you also expect a smaller team to do the work that requires many more. Please do think, why is that? Is it too much to add another person to the schedule? You expect efficiency as do I, but when the store is understaffed, we cannot always finish the work that we're supposed to do and then ensure that everything is ready for the next team? Do you take pleasure in keeping the environment stressful? Perhaps it is that you would rather overwork employees rather than to pay additional employees miniscule amounts to lighten the load. I know it is very clear, but just in case you fail to take notice, the consequences of under staffing has lead to a dirty and hazardous work environment.

       I understand that depending on the establishment and type of company, that there are different rules. I implore you, as management, that do you not care that there is no specified space, let alone a SINGLE chair that is dedicated to a break? Does this not bother you that your staff runs around yet must either leave or find a box (hopefully not one that says fragile) to sit on? That they must wiggle their legs 90 degrees to let persons walk past? Despite the possibility that there might not be a law for a break area in this institution, I still think that as decent management, let alone fellow humans, that more effort would had been made to amend the situation. For this, you do not care for our breaks so long as you don't get a fine. You don't care that we waste time going places for break; you do not care for us. How does this reflect on the company?

       I must mention that the majority does not behave as such, that some truly wonderful staff and some very kind managers do try to help, but I see that their jobs are on the line too. Even so, there are limits that must be set and not surpassed. I speak of these issues as huge obstacles, but I believe that these are amendable if you make yourselves open to hearing, truly listening, and to honestly care about our well being.

       It is possible that I have too much of a romantic notion with how a workplace should be. These words here are not only of my own, but are a representation of the sentiments of us employees store wide. I understand that you're under immense pressure to perform and that your jobs require much of you all, but I can say for certain that the current behavior is absolutely unacceptable. Whether I too am management or not, everyone deserves adequate respect regardless of rank, age, or length of work at the company.

       Please take this not as an attack, but as advice on what you can improve upon, because we all know that improvement is unbelievably necessary.

    Wishing you much health and kindness

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Sur La Table Response

    Jan 7, 2014Director, Talent Management

    Thank you for taking the time to provide us with this feedback. This is not the experience we aspire to create for employees in our stores and we would like to hear more from you. I invite you to ... More

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  5.  

    A fun temporary work experience

    Former Employee - Sales Associate  in  Portland, OR
    Former Employee - Sales Associate in Portland, OR

    I worked at Sur La Table part-time

    Pros

    Good perks - employee discount, products, fun culinary culture, etc.

    Cons

    Retail - low pay, irregular hours

  6.  

    Interesting and fun place to work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Sales Associate  in  Portland, OR
    Current Employee - Sales Associate in Portland, OR

    I have been working at Sur La Table part-time

    Pros

    Flexible hours, diverse product lines, nice customers

    Cons

    Staff turnover reflects limited income opportunities, inventory is often misplaced or short

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Expedite the point of purchase function to reduce customer wait time, manage inventory control

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7.  

    Need lots of culinary tool knowledge because there isn't much training.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Sales Associate  in  Lake Oswego, OR
    Former Employee - Sales Associate in Lake Oswego, OR

    I worked at Sur La Table

    Pros

    Great discount at 40% on non-sale items. Great customers - people just love being in the store and are excited about their purchases.

    Cons

    Not enough hours. They hire plenty of staff and hours can go as low as 4 per week.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Hire fewer people and trust them to do the best job.

    Recommends
    No opinion of CEO
  8. 2 people found this helpful  

    If you like shopping here, don't go to work here, you won't want to shop here anymore

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Portland, OR
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Portland, OR

    I worked at Sur La Table

    Pros

    The discount is ok, the customers are nice, if you are a foodie you will enjoy talking about food and cooking at work, nice products

    Cons

    Poor management, no real policies, only the ones they make up as they go along to pacify or scold employees, depending on the day. No training to speak of regarding product, except select high priced items. Although they carry many products, you are told not to sell certain ones because of price point or profit margin, scolded if you do. Zero communication - you never know if what you are going to do is going to incur the wrath of a manager - micro management to the point of ridiculous, if management is the right word. You may be told you are empowered to make decisions, but you are not. There is no right answer here, as someone else mentioned. Back stabbing and gossip between management and employees. Unfair and rude treatment of employees, with no accountability to anyone. Upper management answers to no one, while they are fully aware of problems, they don't care how employees are treated. If you are brave enough to ask for some accountability, you will be retaliated against with cut hours, even more rude treatment and a hostile work environment. You may not get fired, but they will be sure you quit. Promises of pay raises never happen - if they do they are insulting at best. No adherence to labor laws regarding breaks and hours worked. Really high turnover rate creates instability and confusion on everyones part. Read all of the other reviews, and include anything I forgot - they are very accurate and and should be a warning to anyone thinking of working here.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Someone up there please pay attention to these reviews. Sur La Table has the potential to be a good place to work, but the current management style is a disaster. I am sure you could still turn a profit without alienating your employees and former employees and turning them into customers of your competition. With the high turnover rate, that could be a lot of people.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
  9. 2 people found this helpful  

    VERY DISAPPOINTING. WORST MANAGEMENT STYLE I HAVE EVER SEEN!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Sales Associate  in  Portland, OR
    Former Employee - Sales Associate in Portland, OR

    I worked at Sur La Table

    Pros

    Discount. Nice Customers. Nice environent until you work there

    Cons

    absolutley no training whatsoever--yet expected to know everything from register to products and constantly told.."you should know this.." - from the very first day. Manager "one on one" always negative. I was told "I don't want to talk about what you do right, we are here to talk about what you do wrong". No recognition whatsoever for good job preformance. lied to about promised hours at interview. . Daily changes on policy and tasks and assumptions made that you should know this without any communication. ZERO communication. Must learn through being scolded. Nit picky. Micromanaged and poorly at that. Causes confusion and tension among employees. Ambiguous time limit set for helping customers..though we are told "customer service comes first". Find yourself walking on eggs never sure if asking or taking initiative will be the correct answer. Turns out there is NO CORRECT ANSWER. A cannot win situation. Hoorible job choice.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Take a basic managment/leadership & development course. You will see that almost every "rule" in the book is being ignored by your poor expectations at the manager/employee level. I recommend a lot of "effective managerial" classes.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
  10. 1 person found this helpful  

    Discount Great ! Career choice dismal...

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Floor Lead  in  Portland, OR
    Current Employee - Floor Lead in Portland, OR

    I have been working at Sur La Table

    Pros

    Overall the customers are wonderful; they like to cook, are open to suggestions and return for more advice. Most sales associates are "passing through" met many over qualified, highly educated professionals that would not normally be in a retail environment.

    Cons

    Management seems to have a severe disconnect with the day to day operations. Holiday hiring consisted of employing up to 25 additional staff members, promising them 25 hours or more. Actual work was 1 day a week, 4 hours shifts, the 25 or more hours was really only available for 2 weeks during the holidays. Training is not consistent. Employees working for the company for three - fours years have not seen any pay increase in over a year.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Is there anyone at the top with an MBA? Upper management needs to communicate more with day to day store operations. Take advantage of highly educated individuals and retain them for management at the retail level. Store managers are untrained and lacking in management training and basic employment law. How about the sales associates getting some perks- it's the little people that pay for your salary.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

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