Ray’s Family Grows Every Spring

by Carol Anne Lee, Operations Manager

raysgroupshots-027What does spring mean to Ray’s?

Alaskan halibut, Copper River salmon, fresh peas, Rose wines, deck blankets on chilly nights…..and new team members!

After 40 years, one thing is certain, ALL of Seattle (and beyond) thinks of Ray’s when the sun is out.  Mother Nature influences our decision of just how fast to open our deck.  To prepare for the increase of business, we begin planning our summer staffing in March.  By June, we will have added 50+ new team members to our Ray’s family.

It is intentional I call our team “family”.  Over the years when we have surveyed our team, a top response of why they like working at Ray’s is always the people they work with, “their family”.  The average tenure here is close to five years.  People leave, try something new or move away, and often come back.  Of our current team, I can easily think of a dozen that fit this scenario.  That’s what makes Ray’s unique; there’s a strong bond between current and past employees.

Spring is full of interviews where we are introduced to many personalities, talents and motivated individuals wanting to join our team.  We look for individuals that believe in Ray’s and are passionate about our business.  Promotions within our team also take place for those wanting to move up that have stepped forward and worked all winter to take on new positions.  Others become trainers to help our new team learn our standards.  The personality of Ray’s changes with our team and the people that join it each year with the new friendships that form, ideas and suggestions of how we can improve, and an understanding that without teamwork, no one achieves success.

I wanted to share a few first-day memories from some of our team so you get an insider’s impression of life at Ray’s …..

Samantha Lytle – April 2012 I remember how sunny and beautiful the day was.  My impression of the staff was that they were all excited and energetic about the expected busy shift.  The first wave of guests coming up the stairs was the first indicator of just what the Café is about and the dance we perform daily at the front desk.

Phil Mottet – New Year’s Eve 1980  There was a line of people down the stairs so eager to get a table as Ray’s was the place to be.  I was hired for one night to man the rope at the top of the stairs and be the gate guard.

Jeff Steiner – September 2003  I remember the smell of the salty sea water, wondering how I’d never been to Ray’s before and my quick crush on the cocktailer!

Will Holmquist – May 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 My first day, I was excited just to be working at Ray’s.  The next 5 years of first days, I am always excited about coming back to the people at Ray’s.  It’s the new people I get to meet and those I’ve worked with in past years that I tend to miss like family.

Chris Lind – April 2013 This is the biggest kitchen I have ever worked in!

Adam DuBois – August 2008  My first shift with Ray’s Catering was all about just being professional and loving the view.  For orientation, the tour around the restaurant included being introduced to everyone and I could feel that was important to be part of the family.  The catering team I joined really cared a lot about what they were doing and leaving me an impression of Ray’s standards.

Riley Smithgall – July 2009  I remember walking in on my first day…the sun was shining, the deck was open, the smell of seafood in the sea breeze salted air and I thought, “oh yeah, this is where I want to be all summer!”

Chris Sherman – July 2012  I thought I could shuck oysters…I thought I could compose salads…I even thought I could elegantly plate desserts, but then, I started working at Ray’s.  No work experience before had managed to both break down my ego and bolster my sense of accomplishment as quickly as my first day at Ray’s.  This place is more than just a restaurant.  It’s a living, breathing organism that subsists on the passion of its constituents.  When I signed on at Ray’s, I joined into not just a well-oiled machine, but also became another family member.  And now that Ray’s has reinvented itself with a fresh outlook on Northwest cuisine, in turn I am reinventing myself as a culinary artist with an eye for precision and a palate for outstanding service.

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