It is a jobs fair with a reality TV twist: Seattle-based Baristas Coffee Company is interviewing applicants Monday to work for a two-sided drive through location in Tampa, featuring servers dressed in sexy constumes like a caffeinated version of Hooters.
The company's owners also plan to cast for a reality TV show they are developing for production at their Seattle homebase, picking out four staffers who would be considered by the show's director for the cast of the program.
But Baristas Coffee Company has also faced investigations by authorities in Washington State and federal officials for failing to pay its employees. In September, the U.S. Department of Labor filed a federal lawsuit alleging the company broke labor laws by paying employees less than the minimum wage, giving them paychecks which bounced and not paying overtime.
Electronic records indicate a jury trial is set for early 2013, but CEO Barry Henthorn said the company is currently negotiating with federal authorities to work out a final payment. An official at the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries said the company paid its final amount owed to them in December.
"We had some less than adequate bookeeping practices some time ago," Henthorn said. "All thos problems have been resolved now."
In Monday's event, Meredith Walusek from the WFLZ-FM (933.3) MJ Morning Show will host the auditions, filming a screen test herself and helping judge the other applicants. Walusek said she is in talks to possibly host the series.
The casting call begins at 10 a.m. Monday in the Baristas location at 3601 West Gandy Blvd.; they will consider males or females aged 18 to 25. Henthorn hopes to suggest four people for the show from the staff of seven they expect to hire Monday, though the director would have final say on who joins the cast.
Those hired for the TV show would travel to Seattle for filming, currently scheduled for mid-February, living in a central place called the Coffee Castle.
Material from Times researcher Caryn Baird was used in this report.