Life Alive Urban Oasis & Organic Cafe Reviews | Glassdoor

Life Alive Urban Oasis & Organic Cafe Reviews

Updated January 25, 2017
9 reviews

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2.6
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Heidi Feinstein
4 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (2)

    "Inspirational"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Cambridge, MA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Cambridge, MA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at Life Alive Urban Oasis & Organic Cafe full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    The management at Life Alive are extremely committed to their mission. They take food quality, service and staff engagement very seriously. A day does not go by when the leadership isn't trying to figure out a way to make the company better for the community, customers and team members.

    Cons

    Life Alive is growing and is dealing with the natural challenges of growth.

    Advice to Management

    Keep doing what your doing! Feed the world...


  2. Helpful (2)

    "This is a job for human cattle"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Juicer/Food Prep in Salem, MA
    Former Employee - Juicer/Food Prep in Salem, MA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Life Alive Urban Oasis & Organic Cafe full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Hourly Wage $10+
    Free Meals for working 6 hour shift
    Always can find schedule coverage
    High quality food you can be proud of

    Cons

    - New employees are fired as soon as training day.
    - Managers and long standing employees are fired regularly.
    - Little respect for highly skillful workers
    - Strong feminist attitudes
    - Little respect for masculine attributes
    - Religious/spiritual exterior, but corporate underbelly
    - Employees who make business suggestions are often seen as lacking "spirit" and "commitment"
    - Little opportunity for growth as employee

    Advice to Management

    The firing of nearly their entire veteran staff one year ago as completely unnecessary. Life Alive spent the past year shuffling through managers, not talking to their long standing staff who knows each position thoroughly, cut their schedule down to the bare bones without any coordination from upper management, and then when employees spoke up that they needed your help, you fire them because they "lost their commitment" to the business and that they have "negative energy".

    Now my friend who needs to pay rent is without a job with no forewarning. The managers fired them not based on lack of skill or lack of consistency, but because the business has "bigger plans".

     Life Alive appears to have lost their vision. They hire and fire staff like cattle. Life Alive thrives on the human resource. This isn't a matter of being able to afford paying their staff (because they just hired a new group of staff members).

    If you eat there you will most likely be fed by people that never worked there. The loyal staff members that stuck through bad management keeping the mission alive will no longer be the faces you see there. New staff who have no idea what they are doing will serve you.

    Life alive has made a regular practice of squandering precious skilled employees exhausting their spirit by neglecting to manage their business and not communicating to those staff members. Also please note if you do successfully make it to upper management, they make a regular practice of firing those employees 2 years into the management position regardless of their skill level. The only higher tier management who aren't fired past the 2 year mark are employees who essentially volunteer excess time, are obsessively committed to the restaurant, and worship the CEO.

    This is typical of corporate behavior, although Life Alive presents a wholesome exterior by appropriating religious symbols.

    They spend money on giving employees trips, managers iPads, and cutting checks to people that don't work at the restaurant.

    All in all, I would not advise working at Life Alive if you value financial security and structured work. They will mostly hire young desperate college students who will obey their cookie cutter job requirements. No self motivation or creativity required. It's just a short step up from working at a Panera Bread.


  3. Helpful (2)

    "Putting the nuts in this granola."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Artisan in Salem, MA
    Former Employee - Artisan in Salem, MA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Life Alive Urban Oasis & Organic Cafe part-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Great food.
    Decent coworkers
    Excellent product.
    Flexible shift coverage.
    Beautiful environment.
    Pays well per hour.

    Cons

    Micromanagement.
    Disrespect of employees (particularly those who look or act a little different)
    Temperamental CEO.
    Their "good message" covers a corporate angle.
    Overhired, then fired a bunch of people.
    Expensive product.

    Advice to Management

    Be kinder to those whom you employ, figure out your mission, and don't try to be shady.


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  5. "Fun work environment, poor management"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Front of House Staff
    Former Employee - Front of House Staff
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Life Alive Urban Oasis & Organic Cafe full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    A lively work environment with a fun atmosphere

    Cons

    Constantly understaffed so it's difficult to get time off, management requires you to post in a group to get someone to cover your shifts if you're sick (and for some requests for time off even if you make them weeks in advance and have compelling reasons for needing them). If no one picks up the shift (and people rarely did while I was there because they were understaffed and people were already working too many days to pick up extra shifts). This problem was made worse by the shift system - the only way to get more hours was to work a double shift, forcing you to work up to 14 hours, with no option to work a shift and a half or something like that

    Advice to Management

    The CEO preaches good values and claims to care a lot about employees, but the pay is pretty low by industry standards and she refused to give more than a tiny raise.


  6. "Working here changed my life, but..."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Life Alive Urban Oasis & Organic Cafe part-time

    Pros

    Amazing co-workers, delicious organic food and drinks, free yoga upstairs.

    Cons

    Owner and upper management do not live the values they so righteously tout in the mission statement. Super hard and stressful work environment. Received a raise only once in the 4 years I worked there. Was owed a bunch of back pay for training sessions that I was never properly compensated for and I never saw any of it.

    Advice to Management

    Walk the talk. Straighten out your priorities.


  7. Helpful (3)

    "Lots of potential, lots of confusion."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Manager
    Former Employee - Manager
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Life Alive Urban Oasis & Organic Cafe full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Great employee food benefit
    Attracts an eclectic group of people
    Fast paced, never boring
    In general, guests are great. There are a few die-hard wackos.
    Yearly employee get-together is fun.

    Cons

    Information overload. Everything involves so much information. There is a very large learning curve and very little tolerance for not immediately showing results.

    Priorities are really mixed up. The most important things in their plate that need to be addressed are their outrageously high turn-over and consistency issues (this encompasses many...many...aspects of the business. Far too many to list here)

    The CEO is a firecracker. Her presence can affect the business in a positive or negative way on a daily basis. There need to be a few buffers between her and line employees. She can come across as rude, condescending, or inappropriate and her reaction is to always apologize in a very passive aggressive way.

    This business needs more corporate talent. People who understand operations, HR, and management. Once hiring those people, they need to not run them into the ground and push them out.

    Did I mention consistency? When you recruit the model employee (a combination of attractive, hard-working, mission driven) the least you can do is make their job easier through processes.

    Advice to Management

    You don't have to be worried about extreme turn-over when employees have the correct expectations about their jobs, the day to day operations are consistent and aren't changed every other week, and work appropriate conversations/demeanor with your employees.


  8. Helpful (2)

    "Well put: "two-faced""

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook

    I worked at Life Alive Urban Oasis & Organic Cafe part-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    -The food is good/ those who work 6 hours get a free shift meal
    -Coworkers are generally fun, creative, interesting people
    -Good pay (average $10/hour) plus $50-$90/wk in tips

    Cons

    The previous employee's review was very accurate. There is "room for growth", but not for everybody. People are turned over every week, there is a lot of stress and nastiness in the workplace but it is kept "under the table".

    The job is very stressful, demanding, and overtime is not honored.

    I have seen people fired on the spot after a few hours of partial training.

    Advice to Management

    More direct honesty, better training, clearer growth pathways, more benefits for full timers.

    Life Alive Urban Oasis & Organic Cafe Response

    Aug 16, 2013 – Director, HR

    We are grateful for this feedback and have taken this advice to heart, and action, by doubling training efforts for all new hires; offering affordable health insurance for all eligible team members ... More


  9. Helpful (2)

    "Two-faced."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend

    Pros

    You work with amazing people. You experience incredible organic food--a free bowl with every shift you have. There's an ambiance and pleasantness that emanates all around. There is beautiful art and lots of living plants. The hours and pay are amazing. Coworkers treat you like family and the message is all about loving oneself and one's neighbor and treating your body like a temple.

    Cons

    Unfortunately, in the end, it is a business. The crunchy-granola happiness they put forth is a front to cover up the fact that they only care about expanding at the moment. Employees are expendable and management does not communicate their displeasure with employees until the last possible minute. There is no room for growth because they tend to cut people down at the roots. They don't have room or time for people to establish themselves. They have no qualms about letting people go--even if they are passionate about the message Life Alive puts forth. There is a sense of condescension and detachment from certain managers and trainers. Very unprofessional, two-faced behavior.

    Advice to Management

    Tell people ahead of time if they aren't meeting your standards and give them a chance to truly try. Don't be two-faced when it comes to preaching about love, peace, and acceptance while you're simultaneously trying to make a profit and nothing else.

    Life Alive Urban Oasis & Organic Cafe Response

    Aug 16, 2013 – Director, HR

    We cannot deny that we experienced growing pains during the time that this team member was with us and we appreciate the candid feedback. We are unwaveringly committed to serving our team members ... More


  10. "fun place to work"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Drink Guru
    Former Employee - Drink Guru

    Pros

    Fast paced environment, discounted amazing food, friendly coworkers, times goes by quickly, really friendly work culture. Always, always a line out the door.

    Cons

    Shifts can be exhausting and physically taxing.