Author: Gwendolyn J

Review: BJ’s Brewhouse & Restaurant (So Good You’ll Take It Home!)

The Spot:

BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse

What About Them:

BJ’s was founded in 1978 in Santa Ana, CA as BJ’s Chicago Pizzeria by Mike Phillips and Bill Cunningham. The founders sold the company to their accountants, Paul Motenko and Jerry Hennessy in 1991.

The parent company is BJ’s Restaurants, Inc and as of March 2019, they own and operate 202 locations across 28 states*. The locations we will be discussing are located in Fort Worth, TX at Hulen Mall, and in Arlington, TX.

(https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/BJ’s_Restaurants, https://www.reuters.com/finance/stocks/overview/BJRI.O)
*Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Washington.

 

It all started with the pizza

Overview

First Impressions

Walking into BJ’s is its own experience. The low lighting and comfortable table spacing make for a pleasant, relaxed atmosphere that encourages diners to take their time and enjoy.

The first time I ever went to BJ’s was with my husband. We were out on a Date Night and were not quite ready to go home after our movie. We stopped in for a drink at the Hulen Mall location in Fort Worth.

Food…wonderful food…

After sitting a while, decided to have a small bite to eat. Looking over the menu, I noticed they had several gluten-free options. As is my habit, I questioned the bartender about their process.

I have a son who is a Celiac*, and it is almost impossible to take him out to eat. I learned that BJ’s has dedicated prep and cook stations for gluten-free meals and even crafts root beer on-site -which is also gluten-free.

*Celiac disease, sometimes called celiac sprue or gluten-sensitive enteropathy, is an immune reaction to eating gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. If you have celiac disease, eating gluten triggers an immune response in your small intestine. https://gig-that.com/whatisceliac

Pros

BJ’s is not just a restaurant. They have 11 locations across the country that have microbreweries inside that supply all of their craft beers and signature root beer.

Our location in Hulen has an enormous window into the brewery where you can see the vats of fermenting goodness. It is a marvelous little quirk that no one else can lay claim to.

 

Yes, we like beer.

A lot of places will claim to have gluten-free items on their menu, but they do not have the facilities or knowledge to ensure as little gluten as possible in those items. Some of them are actually very conscious of cross-contamination, which is the fear of anyone with any level of gluten intolerance when eating out.

BJ’s actually has dedicated prep sites, utensils and cookware used only for their gluten-free menu items. I learned from our server on one visit that one of the owner’s wives is a Celiac. As such, the GF choices and procedures at BJ’s are strict enough to allow a full-blown Celiac like my son to eat there practically worry-free.

I do not drink beer, but BJ’s options are extensive and -I have heard- delicious. The drinks I have had there were exceptional and beautifully presented.

The ‘shrooms, man. The ‘shrooms.

The menu is packed full of items that can suit pretty much any palate. My favorite appetizer is the Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms. The menu describes them as:

Plump, juicy mushrooms | Spinach and Artichoke Dip | feta cheese | red onions | parmesan cheese | a drizzle of lemon pesto sauce

They are so good, I have ordered an extra helping to take home.

At the Hulen Mall location, we have always gotten quick, attentive service. Our food came out hot and tasty, and the drinks never got or stayed empty for long.

BJ’s is also kid-friendly. If there is a child at your table, they bring out a little plate with strawberries and one of their garlic knots for the little one to chomp on. In our case, I had to turn down the strawberries because my little guy (not the Celiac) is allergic to them. But he demolished the garlic knot.

Kid-sized yumminess

Other perks include:

  • A rewards program that allows you to collect points on every visit that can be applied toward free menu items.
  • Casual to dressy atmosphere. Nobody thinks twice about wearing jeans or Prada here. We all fit in.
  • In some locations, on-site micro-brewery offering, award-winning craft beers you will not find anywhere else.
  • A free pizookie on your birthday! It is a deep-dish cookie in a small tin topped with ice cream.
The Pizookie. Know it.Love it.

Cons

As with any eatery, it is not always an optimal experience. We took our daughter out for her birthday to the Arlington location off I-20 & Cooper.

We had our small son with us but did not get the plate of strawberries and bread for him. I ordered their 2-bone pork chop (which does not appear to be on the menu any longer) and so did my daughter’s boyfriend. We were both disappointed.

It was big, but it was tough and not nearly as savory as we both hoped it would be.

My husband ordered the Southern Fried Chicken and ended up sending it back. The gravy was scorched, and the chicken was overcooked.

Our server left unused dishes on the table until we asked her to take them and seemed either distracted or overloaded. She did take my husband’s chicken off our bill, but we also ordered a pizookie to take home to our (Celiac) son. She put it on a separate ticket even though we did not tell her to. As I said, she seemed distracted.

This is the only negative experience I ever had at any BJ’s and it appears to be a fluke rather than a regular occurrence.

But wait…

We have to discuss the pizookie. It is delicious, decadent and fun.

Pizookies!

As mentioned, it comes in its own little pizza pan with your choice of one or two scoops of ice cream. The regular-size pizookie comes with multiple spoons. It is just far too gooey to eat on your own. The mini-pizookie is a good size for kids.

We usually order one to go, even if we get one for dessert. Once you’ve had it, you will always want it. It is just that good. If you eat nothing else here, you have to have the pizookie. And a root beer. And the mushrooms.

Value

Pricing

BJ’s is what I would call pricey. You can eat here for about $25-$40 for one. As we usually go as a couple or a group, our bill can run over the $100 mark, but the food and the atmosphere is so good, it is worth it.

Take it or Leave it

Take it! Take it as often as you can afford it. BJ’s is an excellent place to eat and enjoy some time with friends and family. If you don’t have a location near you, I weep for your misfortune.

Conclusion

BJ’s Brewhouse is one of my Top 3 favorite places to eat. I especially enjoy it because I can take my Celiac son there and he has a wide selection of items to choose from as well as dessert. The relaxed ambiance and (usually) excellent service make this one of the few places I do not mind spending the money.

 

Have you been to a BJ’s in your area? Share your experience with me!

 

How To Create a Work at Home Resume (What Matters, What Doesn’t)

In any job search, you need to have a resume updated and ready to submit during the application process. Job searching for work from home can make writing the resume a little tricky. You have to have one, so let’s see what we can do to make it the best WAH resume it can be.

First, your WAH resume has to be concise. Most recruiters and Human Resource people do not have time to read every point on every resume that comes across their desks. If yours is more than one page, it may not be read at all.

The next thing to consider is how to draw attention to your attributes. You have to highlight them in a way that catches the eye with words that encourage the reader to keep reading. Vocabulary choice should be professional but within your comfort zone. You do not want to give an impression with your resume that you cannot carry through the interview.

If you turn to a professional resume writing service, make sure you give them your own copy of the resume, so they have something to work with. A very good resume writer can duplicate your voice, so you do not come across one way on paper, and another in person.

Most of us do this ourselves, however, there are free options available that can help. I did a quick Google search for Free Resume Builder

and got over 47 million results. Thankfully, we do not have to wade through all of that.

If you have Office, you don’t need to search Google for a resume maker at all. There are templates built into Word that can help you create a professional looking resume.

All you have to do is put your info in and save it.

Let’s take a look at a resume I put together without a template.

There’s a third page..

As you can see, I have broken the short and sweet rule. In some cases, you can get away with this, if the excess data is relevant enough and presented in a way that draws the reader’s interest. It is not a wise course to take, however, because the odds are not in your favor. Two-page resumes do not often make it to the top of the pile, no matter how well written they are. So, let’s pick a template and get this resume cut down and cleaned up.

 

This is from my copy of Office365. Earlier versions should have a template selection page where you can sort through and find exactly what you’re looking for with very little trouble.

I like simple and clean documents, and so do most HR people. Unless you’re going for something in graphic design, the big bold one up there is not the best choice. There’s one with green text, but black on white is an easier read.

Colored text is an eye-catcher, but most recruiters see it as a gimmick and will not give another thought to putting it aside in favor of a simple black text resume. A good rule to follow is to keep it simple unless the job post specifically asks you to be more creative. In which case, give them what they want.

You can also see that most of our resume templates have a matching cover letter template. We’ll work on the resume for right now and talk about the cover letter later.

For simplicity, we will use the Chronological template, since this is the organization of our resume.

Once we have it open, we can start filling in our information. 

Some people will see all of those sections and start sweating because they don’t have data to fill them all. The truth is, you do not have to fill or use every section. If you have no Affiliations or Credentials, delete that section. Most job posters are not looking for too much more than job experience and education.

If they are looking for something specific, the job post will ask for it. If you need a degree or a certain level of experience with software, they will say so. This saves them time and spares you from applying to jobs you are not quite qualified for.

Now, the real meat of the resume is going to be in the first and last section of the resume. These are the parts most people in hiring positions actually read.

At Wealthy Affiliate, we have a tool that I mentioned in my review called Jaaxy that helps us find current keywords to insert into our content. This can also be used in a WAH job search. Type in what you’re looking for and see if your resume content can be optimized as well. You can try it out at the end of this post.

Whatever you have in these sections is one of the main points that decides whether the recruiter will take the time to continue looking at your resume.

Let’s take a closer look at those sections on mine.

OBJECTIVE
Seeking a remote position wherein 
I can utilize my experience and expertise .

RELEVANT EXPERIENCE
Customer service skills are foremost. 
Computer skills current. 
Extensive telephone and face-to-face 
customer care experience.
 Writing, blogging, data expert, 
social media, SEO.

Motivated, time management. Minimal supervision required, 
flexible & dependable. Type 50-65 wpm, 10-key sight & feel. 
Windows proficient. Certified in Excel, Word, Access, 
and PowerPoint. 20+ years Internet, 
25+ years Customer Service, 14+ years Tech Support. 
WordPress, Social Media & SEO experience.

This is where you have to seriously sell your work from home, remote, telecommute self. Depending on the job, you have to let them know you can use a computer, pick out the major software you are comfortable with and highlight any other skills that would be useful.

This resume is designed to lean towards non-phone, writing, training or management positions. In many of those cases, you still have to handle customers in some capacity.

Another thing WAH job posters are looking for are people who can work independently and have the discipline to show up to work, especially when there’s no one who is going to be looking for them to walk in the door.

Motivated, time management. 
Minimal supervision required, 
flexible & dependable

These are golden words to a recruiter. Once you tell them they can count on you, tell them exactly what you can do, and how long you’ve been doing it. A time frame will give them an idea just how good you can be expected to be at these tasks.

Some applications will ask you to rate your level of expertise from Novice or Beginner to Intermediate to Expert. This is completely subjective, of course, so telling them how many years of Customer Service or Technical Support or whatever skill you have clarifies for them whether they need to tighten up your skill set or if they can turn you loose on Day 1 and know that you know what you’re doing over there in your cozy home office.

As far as Experience is concerned, most companies will look for the last 5-10 years of work history. My resume goes all the way back to 2010.

I had other non-WAH jobs in and before 2010, but they are not included here because I want to highlight my WAH experience; my customer service, management and training experience; and my writing, SEO, proofreading, and editing experience.

If the job posting asks for a specific time frame for job history, give them what you have. It’s not a bad idea to keep a few different versions of a resume, but only if you are looking for work in different fields.

The same thing goes for a cover letter. I currently have my main one and a secondary one that I use for writing jobs I apply to. I have embedded links in one of these that lead to my portfolio pages, and another where the links are written out. This helps if you’re doing an upload or a copy/paste. In an upload, embedded links usually transfer intact, but not so much when pasting.

This is our resume using the template.

I actually have room to include more work experience. The excess information about each job is left out. There are recruiters that want that data, but they can get that in the interview. This is a case of less is more or giving just enough to make them want to ask questions. This can backfire, or it can play in your favor. There is really no way to be sure, which is why having multiple copies is a good idea.

 

Keep the cover letter as clean as the resume, match the font and size as well. Save a copy with embedded links and one with text links (https://thissite.com) written out.

Then, get to posting. Here’s the Jaaxy link to try out some of those keywords, as promised.

Any questions, concerns, or comments? Drop me a note and we’ll talk about it.