Sur La Table Reviews

Updated September 23, 2014
Updated September 23, 2014
190 Reviews
2.6
190 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Sur La Table CEO Jack Schwefel
Jack Schwefel
111 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Great discount 40% I have to put 20 words in this section as Pros so I'm writing this (in 39 reviews)

  • It's a friendly place with great products, nice stores and you do get an employee discount (in 24 reviews)


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

  • but then hired outside managers with little to no expertise in the market (in 8 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1. 1 person found this helpful  

    My year as Resident Chef

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Resident Chef
    Current Employee - Resident Chef

    I have been working at Sur La Table full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    Great learning environment, opportunity to work with Cadillac quality tools and equipment.

    Cons

    It's a retail store....never forget that, and they won't let you forget it either!!

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    District Manager needs to support store management in a more hands on way.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2.  

    I was a seasonal sales representative at Sur La Table during two Christmases, while it was crazy busy it was also fun.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Seasonal Sales Associate  in  Houston, TX
    Former Employee - Seasonal Sales Associate in Houston, TX

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

    Pros

    Store discounts made many products a lot more reasonable. I think our employee discount was about 20%
    Early shifts stocking shifts mean using the espresso machines to make yummy coffee
    You definitely learn how to quickly and beautifully wrap a present
    You learn a lot about kitchen gadgets.
    You sometimes get left overs from the cooking classes.
    Scheduling is usually pretty flexible.
    The store I worked at was very open to seasonal employment.

    Cons

    You are on your feet all day.
    Sometimes you have to get to work at 4:00am.
    Inventory days usually mean working an all nighter. (they do feed you though).
    Managers can be really hit or miss, some are great some are horrible.
    Sometimes it felt like there were too many managers.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I'd recommend pairing a new hire with an experienced employee during the first week or so. Having someone there to help would make a huge difference in confidence especially when you are still learning.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3.  

    Not too bad

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

    I worked at Sur La Table part-time

    Pros

    Flexible hours can work arround your life schedule

    Cons

    prefere to hire more people then to give the houres to a curent associate we ended up gettin 15hours a week or less

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
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  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    A Great company who care about their people

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

    I have been working at Sur La Table full-time

    Pros

    A great company that genuinely care about their people. They don't just talk the talk, they walk the walk.

    Cons

    Better top down communication is needed.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    More structured training is definitely needed.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6. 11 people found this helpful  

    Retails Bears the Burden of Poor Corporate Policy

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Store Manager
    Former Employee - Store Manager

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

    Pros

    Enjoyed working with many of the staff and customers. Our first District Manager wanted us to succeed and treated us fairly. She was interested in promoting managers from within and training them to be competent. Sometimes we actually had fun on the sales floor. Most of my staff loved to work as a team under leadership.

    Cons

    Corporate is completely disconnected from the store level. In over three years we never had a visit from anyone above the regional level and this is a smaller chain. The regional manager would visit rarely but more often would send emails IN ALL CAPS to spur us on to sell more like we were idiots. Ironically, top performers were not valued (i.e. no $$) although there were rare product giveaways. We would receive a different directive several times a week, demanding more sales, while corporate got bonuses and partied on. Once they even posted photos of everyone at corporate having a fabulous libation fueled Halloween party during business hours. They would waste the store management’s time (there was a monthly conference call where a high level corporate manager literally read the catalog aloud and we all looked at the pictures) and then tell us how we had to cut payroll.

    The culinary centers bleed off revenue, and retail is expected to make up for it (although we are always told how much they contribute to sales – not enough to pay for themselves however). The catalog (on line business) gives free shipping but not return shipping, so their sales look great and ever-increasing while retail absorbs the returns. During holiday there is a knee jerk reaction to copy every sale a California based competitor offers. For example, the company actually scheduled a floor reset after store hours on Christmas Eve one year in response which, not surprisingly, was bad for morale.

    SLT promotes the idea of being a “Trusted Authority” but then hired outside managers with little to no expertise in the market. A new under-qualified district manager was brought in to clean house, but not because employees had underperformed. He actually violated a pretty basic HR tenet when he told one of my staff to “hang in there” because it was going to take him time to “get things done.” Some of the most successful and productive managers in the district were targeted.

    Corporate buyers were never held accountable for “bad buys” of which there are many. Once again, retail bears the burden – it was always our fault things didn’t sell, even when it was obvious customers did not want them. We could count on the fact that they’d move on to yet another initiative (the Gift Registry is one of their favorites) and the stuff would end up on clearance. Many of our customers knew just to wait and eventually they’d get the stuff cheaper. The corporate visual chiefs ordered signs that cost a fortune and took valuable payroll hours to draw, but no one was held accountable when they were deemed a failure.

    Inventory control was non-existent. Product would get dumped on the retail stores (one thousand corn shuckers anyone?) without any demand. In contrast, a cooking class would promote a product like duck fat and there would be 1 jar in the store. Then we’d have to painstakingly write contact and order information into a book, call when it eventually came in, place it on a shelf and find it when/if the customer came back for it. The level of technology (or lack thereof) resulted in many wasted resources. IT spent their time putting out fires and often getting annoyed at the messenger (i.e. the retail people who needed help) because the POS was completely antiquated and there were no back-ups. When the power would go out due to storms, we were told to keep the store open without any lights and hand write all of the sales with no regard for loss prevention or security.

    Finally, pay is low as are raises (30 cents per hour for an entire year for a top rated assistant manager – I am not making this up). Giving employee reviews was always painful because people couldn't believe how little the company valued them. Managers are told to deliver and corporate looks the other way as to how they achieve it. Bonus levels are often unattainable so some managers cheat to achieve goals (one gave away large discounts on $3000 coffee machines). Email lists are gathered from outside sources to make forecast goals. Employee safety is routinely risked; basic ladder safety is ignored. Managers were required to spend valuable time off the sales floor doing shipping (esp. during holiday) instead of hiring a shipper. I often joke that I am now qualified to work at the UPS store thanks to SLT.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Establishing a positive corporate culture and valuing your employees is your responsibility. If you did this, the company would be worth more as employees would have an incentive to produce. Unfortunately, corporate is not listening, just looking forward to the IPO and retiring early.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7.  

    Great Work Environment, low pay

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

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

    Pros

    Staff is all very friendly and helpful. Dress code is relaxed and there is a great discount

    Cons

    Low paying, not likely to get full time.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8. 5 people found this helpful  

    Cheap skates

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

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

    Pros

    Customers r great. Great discount 40% I have to put 20 words in this section as Pros so I'm writing this.

    Cons

    This is this cheapest company I have ever worked for. I have worked a lot of PT retail jobs and this one pays the worst..
    Ridiculous daily goals constant pressure to sell sell sell. You'd think they were paying you six figures for the way they pressure you to sell.
    Lots of products now from China.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    None. Not worth wasting my breath.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9. 2 people found this helpful  

    Sales Associate

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

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

    Pros

    If you enjoy cooking, its great

    Cons

    Constant pushing to achieve sales goals that leads to pressured customers who are not too happy with the sales pressure.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Set customer satisfaction a true goal rather than sales at any cost.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  10. 5 people found this helpful  

    In the bottom three of jobs I've ever had.

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

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

    Pros

    - Employee discount was 40%.
    - Most of the part-time staff was nice.
    - If you're into cooking/baking on any level, you'll find a ton of things to pique your interest here.

    Cons

    - Absolutely terrible management. Whether it was the culinary manager showing up late and drunk to work (and forgetting to order necessary supplies), or the store manager virtually ignoring a customer getting seriously burned during a demo, this is easily the worst retail management I've ever seen. And that's saying something. The only thing that could be any worse than this crew of habitual screw-ups is....
    - .... the pay. Minimum wage. As in $7.25/hr. After taxes, I would take home about $20 a night. That may be OK for a third world country, but for the time being this is still America, right? I hear the pay for the rest of the staff wasn't much better. I can't see how a store manager would be making more than the $30ks.
    - Management hits you HARD for sales numbers. I hope you're comfortable forcing an Mauviel saute pan in EVERY customer's hand when they walk in. Sales have continually been dropping as well, so that's just more pressure on you.
    - Little to no training. You better know your stuff before you take the job.
    - Sporadic/inefficient product ordering. Maybe this was management's fault again, who knows.
    - I can't really emphasize how bad the pay-to-stress ratio was. Stay away.......far, far away.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Just quit. All of you need to go somewhere else. I don't know where to start with the levels of gross incompetence and negligence this cast of morons has put on display, so I'll just recommend a full top-to-bottom housecleaning.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11.  

    If you like to cook and people it is an awesome place to work!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Store Manager  in  Boca Raton, FL
    Current Employee - Store Manager in Boca Raton, FL

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

    Pros

    Good work environment ,awesome customers ,great hours for management . It gives associates an excellent discount ,spiffs and giveaways . Advancement is available as the company is growing and needs experienced help.No workplace is perfect but sometime there is a perfect fit. Ask yourself,honestly, if you don't like a company if it is them,your own personal boss....or you.

    Cons

    Company is small and growing so there are missteps sometimes. The upside is you have a lot of personal input in running your store.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Continue to grow the company while working hard to maintain the culture. The leadership conference was a great way of insuring the passion never dies.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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