How I Got the CEO of Ted's Montana Grill to Write Me a Job Recommendation

Waiting tables has been on my to-do list for years. I always thought it would be a great in-between job to learn about the restaurant industry, understand people better, and save up some cash.

For the last 8 months, I've been working atTed’s Montana Grill, a moderately upscale burger and steakhouse specializing in serving bison. It was founded by Ted Turner and the founder of Longhorn Steakhouse, George Mckerrow.

A few months after we opened, I finally got to meet George Mckerrow in person. I introduced myself to him and talked to him throughout the day. He even bought a round of drinks for my table that evening. That afternoon he had told me he saw me everywhere, working hard. That was the impression I was hoping to make.

A few months later he came back for another visit. I asked him if he remembered me and he said of course. The conversation was genuine, he seemed more like a friend than an intimidating boss. I ended up serving him and the director of operations for lunch. I approached them and took care of them using all the charisma I had learned from my other tables in the past couple of months. I joked around a bit while making sure to give them good service that hit every mark. Keep the drinks full, be timely, bring out the condiments before the meal, etc since I noticed he pays attention to the little details. He wrote thanks on the receipt and told me I did a great job.

A few weeks later when I started the pre-program for Praxis, one of our assignments was to get a quote about yourself from someone you have created value for. Asking my manager to write me a recommendation crossed my mind, but I wanted someone who had more power. I googled George Mckerrow’s email address and immediately sent this email.

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I kept it lighthearted, short and to the point. I acknowledged how valuable his time is by saying he’s a busy guy. I told him how much it would help me out. He responded asking for me to send him 3 facts about myself. Within 24 hours I had this quote emailed back to me,

“Lauren is a dynamic, bold and gregarious young lady that loves adventure and new experiences. She is creative and excels at whatever job she tackles. She has compassion and passion for her fellow human beings as well as for her life. Lauren will make a mark wherever she goes.

All I had to do was ask. It really wasn’t that hard. That’s one of the most crucial things I have learned in the past year. Most of the time you ask for something, the answer will be yes. Besides, what’s the worst that can happen? They say no? They ignore you? Maybe you lose a bit of social capital? Isn’t it worth what could possibly be a reward? Ask for that raise, ask for the job, cold email someone and ask them for advice because you love their work, just ask. Don’t expect people to just give you the things you want out of the blue. Create opportunities for yourself. It’s not as hard as you think.