UB degree: BS ’00 in marketing from the School of Management; Favorite Buffalo restaurant: Duff’s; Favorite New York City restaurants: Mr. K’s, Morton’s and Brasserie 8 1/2; Best restaurant job he’s held: Nestos in New City, NY (Photo by Douglas Levere, BA ’89)
Setting a table is nothing new for Jeffrey Greenberg, but now he does it with his computer.
After holding jobs from busboy to corporate trainer in numerous restaurants since age 16, Greenberg (aka “The Table Setter”) now caters to the industry by providing online tools, including a résumé management system, that employees use to more efficiently find new jobs and employers to staff their eateries at www.tablesetter.com.
Following what Greenberg considered the unfair firing of a coworker by the owner while working at a popular restaurant on Park Avenue in New York City, Greenberg came to recognize the lack of resources for people seeking employment in the industry.
“I decided to create a system so that everyone in the food service industry knows their options and to ease the employment process on both sides,” says Greenberg, who is the founder and president of this unique Webbased service, which he describes on the site as the “ultimate human resource network.”
More than 700 employees nationwide have signed up for the free, confidential service since the site launched in October 2006, and the company now has the potential to go international, following a recent partnership with Vivonet, which provides market sales intelligence for restaurateurs across the United States and Canada.
Greenberg’s background gave him the perfect skills set for his new venture—an undergraduate degree in business from UB, a master’s in applied psychology from Columbia University and extensive professional experience in database management. “I think that business and psychology go hand in hand,” he says. “Understanding human behavior is crucial to a business mentality because it’s all about people’s wants and needs.”
There’s a particular need for this service in New York City, where there are more than 180,000 restaurant employees and 7,000 fine-dining establishments with annual employee turnover rates close to 80 percent, according to Greenberg, citing a 2005 industry study.
Since college, he has wanted his own business. He recalls UB Assistant Professor Harold Star emphasizing the sheer prevalence of opportunities for entrepreneurship in his classes for the department of management science and systems. “To make his point, he told our class to look at the ceiling. He reminded us that someone invented, designed, manufactured and sold the pieces to the sprinkler system installed there,” he recalls. “Every day since, I’ve looked for my sprinkler system.”
Story by Mara McGinnis, BA ’97