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Working Culture and Environment at Miller's Ale House

It is not uncommon to pick up some part time jobs at various places throughout one's work career to earn some extra money or perhaps in between jobs. One of these places for me was Miller's Ale House in St. Cloud, Florida. I had a part time job at lululemon athletica and was hoping to supplement my income with working at a restaurant a few minutes away from our home. It seemed to be a great way to earn some extra cash in a field that I have worked in multiple times before. I have been a bartender, server, hostess, and assistant manager in the restaurant industry and most have been good experiences. This one, however, was not a great experience. I lasted about two months in this position before I quit. I used to think that quitting meant failure, but that is truly not the case. Sometimes we need to quit for our mental and/or physical health.

Miller's Ale House is a Florida establishment and is now a corporation that owns locations in 10 states and they are expecting to grow exponentially over the next few years. I have heard various opinions about working for the company and the location close to us was hiring so we thought why not work there.

Training lasts about two weeks and includes corporate video trainings as well as shadowing and on the job training. The corporate video training covers the menu, alcohol safety, and corporate values. In my experience though, the "corporate values" that are emphasized in the videos were not being carried out in the workplace. Sexual harassment and discrimination were everyday incidences and the lack of food quality is absolutely horrifying. We were also not allowed to have breaks and we had to drink water out of the plastic cups that were used for takeout or for kids. I did not eat anything from Miller's Ale House which was fine because you could only get a discount on food if you ordered food at the end of your shift and could not eat while you were on the clock. You are also not allowed to consume any alcohol at any time while you are employed at Miller's.

The manager at this location said some of the worst things I have heard in a long time. For example, at one of our meetings before our shift, the manager was discussing how one should not be going to their car for any reason during the shift to stop people from going outside to have smoke break. *I don't understand how you expect people to work for 8+ hours without a break, but ok.* This particular manager insisted on giving an example though..... he looked at one my coworkers who was male identifying and said, "X you have no reason to go to your car. You don't need to go to your car to get any women's sanitary product. What are you going to do? Put a pad in your mouth?". That was the moment I knew I was going to quit. I quit the next day. I can't make these things up. That manager is a sexist and discriminatory individual. It is unreal to me that this person is in charge.

Additionally, America has a problem with food portion size and health quality. Miller's Ale House is famous for their "Mountain Melt", a pile of frozen french fries, fried chicken fingers, melted 50/50 cheese, bacon bits, scallions, and the chicken fingers are tossed in your choice of hot sauce. You can also get extra 50/50 cheese, sour cream, ranch dressing, and blue cheese dressing to add to your mountain melt. These ingredients come frozen or ready for consumption in plastic bags. I don't even know the caloric or dietary information of this monstrosity, but I know that I have seen individuals consume the entire thing in one sitting. How is this happening? It is TERRIFYING.

Some other interesting facts about Miller's for your consumption include:

  • The kitchen at Miller's Ale House was always dirty and there was usually quite a few pieces of raw chicken on the floor.

  • The kids meals include an option for mac and cheese, which is kraft mac and cheese that comes in pre portioned plastic bags that are microwaved.

  • The dressing and any additional hot sauces are served in one time use plastic cups that are then thrown out. THROWN OUT EVERY TIME!

  • The restaurant creates bags and bags of waste every single day, I would guess at 30 bags.

  • The amount of food that gets thrown out could feed a small nation.

  • There are no fresh vegetables except broccoli, and even that is microwaved.

  • Everything comes in plastic bags. Including the individual bag of apple slices that are a side for a kids meal. Is it really that difficult to cut a fresh apple with no preservatives? What are feeding your children?

  • The kitchen served raw chicken at least once a week.

A lot of these problems could be solved easily if corporate actually cared. Rather than being consumed by the monetary gains of expansion, perhaps they should bring their focus back to a family style place where people can hang out and have a good time. They could also cater about the quality of food they are serving people. Why one would pay nearly $20 for a plate of garbage is beyond my knowledge.

How can you make a difference?

Writing to corporate to share your experiences and wants by clicking here is one way, another way is to just not go to Miller's. Corporations are taking over the restaurant industry in the U.S., but you can choose to support local businesses that care about your health, your free time, and the environment. Consumers have a choice, but they are often uneducated about what is happening. Pay attention and don't be afraid to speak up: for you, your family, your community, and the planet.

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