Steakanomics: How Many People Does a New Steakhouse Employ?

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When the Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steak House was announced back in February, we noted that at 23,000 square feet, it would be equal in size to two of its largest competitors, III Forks and Smith & Wollensky combined. The massive steakhouse will occupy two entire floors of the one-time Art Deco landmark Esquire Theatre (don't blame them, the interior was gutted in the 1980s) on Oak Street, and a release just went out that they will be looking for 300 employees at every level, from dishwasher to sommelier. How does that compare to a typical, or even a large, restaurant? Well, the same chain operates three good-sized Sullivan's Steakhouses in the area, including one in River North and between the three of them they only employ 220 people. Besides just the fact of, you know, a job, the company stresses a strong benefits package including 401k with matchings for both management and hourly employees, domestic partner benefits and other things. 300 employees is, in fact, about the same number as a Wal-Mart, so we won't be surprised if there's a Wal-Mart-level crush on Saturday when they hold an open call for employees at the Westin Michigan Avenue, 16th floor, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and remain open to prospective employees at 65 Oak Street beginning September 21.