After emigrating to the United States from Cape Verde, Peter’s father started working at Emmanuel as a part-time utility person. (Even once he supposedly retired, he was still putting in three days a week at Emmanuel.) Peter, meanwhile, came to work in the Emmanuel dishroom in 2003 as a high-schooler, to save money for college.
While putting himself through Bridgewater State University, he continued to work full time for Bon Appétit. He also started watching his Emmanuel colleagues closely and soon moved up to serving on the line. That was just the beginning. After graduation, he couldn’t find a position in criminal justice, so he stayed on.
“Bon Appétit was supposed to be temporary, but it turned out to be a career,” he chuckles, without regret.
He says that 90% of his line staff and cooks started as dishwashers, cleaners, cashiers, and front-of-the-house staff. “I tell everyone that even though they might be starting in the dishroom, they can still learn something,” Peter explains. “Just stand next to someone and ask them to show you what they’re doing, or if they don’t have time to show you, ask if you can watch.”
And his advice to other managers looking to help people rise through the ranks? “Be patient. You can’t yell at someone when they’re learning. And you know, they may have to mess up a few times to get perfect at something.”
That is the essence of Bon Appétit culture. As CEO Fedele Bauccio and COO Michael Bauccio have always said, it’s OK to make mistakes, as long as you’re learning.