High Standards Maintained At Tempo Presto Sandwich Shop

We stopped in for another tasty sandwich at Tempo Presto and were delighted to find the boss berating a worker for an imperfectly prepared prepackaged salad. The owner held the salad box up and turned it over from side to side.

Owner: Who made this salad?
Counter Boy: I did
Owner: (referring to a liberally distributed topping) Why’s it got all this, it’s just supposed to be a sprinkling, a dusting. Why did you leave it out for sale?
Counter Boy: I was in a rush.
Owner: What kind of answer is that? You were in a rush? I’m not going to sacrifice quality because you’re in a hurry. Next time, make it right.

That’s how you make a good sandwich, and a good business. Tempo Presto has ours. Deliciousness takes discipline! — BEN POPKEN

(Photo: Only The Blog Knows Brooklyn)


Edit Your Comment

  1. DAK says:

    It also makes a miserable place to work. Not sure why that couldn’t have been handled in private.

  2. Tallanvor says:

    @DAK: My thoughts exactly. Employee discipline should always be handled in private.

  3. oudemia says:

    Usually when restaurant owners are complaining about something being too liberally applied — like a topping — it’s to save money, not to preserve the integrity of the customer’s salad. Why was the salad supposedly worse with more of whatever this topping was?

  4. B Tex says:

    The owner sounds like an arrogant ass.

  5. B says:

    Ugh, prepackaged salads complete with not enough dressing. I’ll stay away.

  6. Ben Popken says:

    I’m thinking he was concerned about over-seasoning.

  7. niccernicus says:

    I never like to see employees berated by a manager. This particular case may show that the mgr does care about quality, but it also show’s he’s an assbag who’ll yell/belittle employees right in front of customers. I don’t like to support jerks, I would have left.

    There’s always an “employees only” sign on a door somewhere, please use this area to inform your employees on the oh-so-intricate methods of dressing distribution.

  8. markymags says:

    Sounds as if the salad is supposed to look a certain way with a set number/amount of toppings. This almost reminds me of those fast food pictures posted some time last week in which the item you get rarely looks like the company’s advertisement… except the opposite. Presentation appears to be very important to the owner.

    I do agree, however, that this matter could have been taken care of in private. I shutter at the thought of being berated in front of my fellow co-workers.

  9. B says:

    I’d much rather prefer the salad to be made fresh, or at least the dressing served on the side, that way I can control how much dressing I get, and the lettuce doesn’t get all soggy and gross.

  10. kakashisan says:

    Meh, I enjoy a good show with my meal.

    Bring on the employees getting beaten!!

  11. matt1978 says:

    What is this, the whiner’s forum? Getting yelled at is the hallmark of a part-time food service job. The previous posters are exactly why people are soft.

  12. Gasface says:

    The owner couldn’t take the kid into the back to talk to him because he was in a rush, OBV.

  13. emjsea says:

    Sounds like the last place I’d want to eat. Thanks for the “tip”

  14. thwarted says:

    I love Tempo’s food, but I HATE those stupid, condescending signs posted behind the counter for all customers to see: “Cooking is an ART–be an ARTIST” and “Make it right or make it twice.”

    It must really suck to work there.

  15. Saydur says:

    Yelling at employees in front of the customers, just one more way to increase turnover, forcing the work to be done by less trained and less experienced employees. Of course, if this guy had paid more attention to his work, he’d be yelled at for being too slow.

    What a great way to keep labor costs down and preventing issues such as one prepackaged salad that the customer can choose out of many having too much of a topping.

    The problems come from up top, and cheering a boss like that on is just counterproductive.

  16. bndocksnt says:


  17. xboxishuge says:

    It’s good that they take quality seriously, but that manager sounds like a total dick.

  18. matt1978 says:

    Point to get: LEARN A TRADE other than register jockey.

  19. Bobg says:

    It’s terrible that this is a rarity. What has happened to American business and the idea of cultivating customers for life.

  20. Slytherin says:

    If I were that poor employee, I would have told the owner to shove the salad and job up his ass!!!

    But then again, that’s just me…

  21. matt1978 says:

    And I’m sure the employer would miss your unable-to-grasp-salad-mechanics tail.

  22. thejbs says:

    I’ve been here several times. They make awesome sandwiches!

    This ain’t McDonalds, I appreciate the fact that they keep a high concern for quality, I’ve never seen the employees browbeaten, its a small shop connected to a high-end local restaurant and they can still keep thier sandwiches under $8.

    I think most of the people here have the wrong idea. If I was working at a take-out place I would feel MORE dignified that I was creating quality food.

  23. kwamie says:

    I wouldn’t work there and I won’t be eating there if that’s the way they treat their employees. I’ll stay away. It was just a lousy salad. The same lousy salad you can buy from a dozen other places.

    Impressing customers by heaping abuse on your employees is more important than treating a fellow human being with dignity and respect.

    I’m going to save my money and make my own salads.

  24. TedSez says:

    I wouldn’t eat in a place where the owner browbeats the employees either…. You don’t know what’s going to end up in your salad next, if you know what I mean.

  25. Maybe instead of berating his employees over a salad he should have asked him WHY he was in a rush, as that seems like the greater matter at hand.

    What a douche.

    You disappoint me Consumerist.

  26. rugger_can says:

    “The best thing to give to your enemy is forgiveness; to an opponent, tolerance; to a friend, your heart; to your child, a good example; to a father, deference; to your mother, conduct that will make her proud of you; to yourself, respect; to all men, charity.” ~Ben Franklin.

  27. Sudonum says:

    After reading the exchange several times, I don’t know that I would catagorize this as a “browbeating”. I would guess it would depend on the tone and inflection of the questions. If the owner wasn’t shouting or otherwise implying that the employee was idiot by his tone, then I don’t see this as that big a deal.

  28. Sudonum says:

    oops…. Missed the word “berating” in the leasd paragraph. Never mind..

  29. Solo says:

    Keep yelling and I’ll dust or sprinkle you salad with boogers. And washing your hands is optional right?

    It’s such a good thing I’m not working in a restaurant.

  30. Papa K says:

    I never like to see employees berated, but at smaller joints when the owner is working and can’t afford to “take a break” to tell someone not to rush, that their work suffers for it, it’s good to witness that because the employee knows, the customer knows, and it’s a little embarrassing, but it shows the owner’s commitment to a finer product.

    Much like Flying Pizza on High Street in Columbus, Ohio. Go have a slice, it kicks ass. And don’t berate Joe, because I’m pretty sure he could kick your ass.

  31. The Bigger Unit says:

    The beatings will continue until morale improves around here!

  32. bbbici says:

    It is the manager’s fault that the salad was improperly prepared. If an employee is too harried or overworked to do things according to standards it’s because human resource planning is poor.

    And a manager should never berate an employee like that– ever, not just in public.

  33. ngwoo says:

    If I was eating there, I can honestly say I would stand up for the employee and pay double for the salad.
    The salad isn’t the point here. The employee was publicly embarrassed and everyone deserves to work in a place where that doesn’t happen. An incident like this should make them LOSE business, not gain it.
    Shame on you, Consumerist.