Students finding more job opportunities

Travis Perry

It’s no secret that a college lifestyle can not only drain a student mentally, but also financially. Luckily, the expanding areas of Topeka can offer some support to fellow students experiencing monetary woes.

Located at the north end of Wanamaker Road, the newly developed River Hill area has been a place for Washburn students to earn a little extra cash to pay for those weekends out on the town. Among the businesses moving into the River Hill area is the Red Robin, a family restaurant.

“Right now we are around 50 percent college students and 50 percent high school,” said Blake Montgomery, general manager for Red Robin in Topeka. “But we would definitely be interested in hiring more college students. They will have more invested in keeping this job and turning it into a great money-making opportunity.”

Currently, Red Robin is fully staffed, but as with any business in the restaurant industry, something like that can change very quickly.

“In a Red Robin employee, the biggest qualifications we’re looking for are personality and attitude,” said Montgomery.

At Red Robin, all tipped employees are paid $2.13 an hour, while others such as hostesses and cooks are paid anywhere from $6 to $8 an hour. Benefits offered to employees also include a 401k plan after one year, and the ability to qualify for insurance after six months. Owned by the PBNJ Corporation based out of Kansas City, one of the advantages of being a Red Robin employee is that you receive half off of your food at any restaurant owned by the corporation. This includes such places as Ya Ya’s, Grand St. Café and others, with locations in Kansas City, Wichita and Denver just to name a few. Other area places where employment opportunities await are at the newly built Hollywood 14 Theatre, also in River Hill and Old Chicago on Wanamaker.

Another area where Washburn students have found work is at Old Chicago, located at 1231 SW Wanamaker.

“I’ve been working with Old Chicago since they first opened on Oct. 10,” said Scott Moreland.

“It was pretty easy (to find this job). They put a flier in the Washburn Review, and I went in and interviewed with them. There were two interviews, and I ended up being hired that day,” said Moreland.

At Old Chicago, employees receive many benefits similar to those who work at Red Robin. In addition to that, employees receive a check for $100 every year they are continually employed by Old Chicago.

Opportunities for the future are still growing, as the Italian restaurant Johnny Carino’s is currently under construction in River Hill. Owned by Fired Up, Inc., they have plans to expand to as many as 420 restaurants in the United States and Middle East over the next 15 years, including the soon-to-be-finished establishment in River Hill.

Moreland said it was pretty easy to find these jobs.

“It’s all about the presentation and the impression you give in the interview,” said Moreland. “No matter what the job is, dress up for it, have a resume, and just go there to impress them.”