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In-N-Out manager serving students in classroom

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In-N-Out manager serving students in classroom

In ‘N Out employees stand behind their manager Caleb Salomon in a tribute showing their respect for their boss who has just received his Masters Degree in Mathematics and will be leaving today for ...

GLENN KAHL/The Bulletin

POSTED August 1, 2013 1:38 a.m.

Caleb Salomon has been an educator in his own right for his four dozen employees at the Manteca In-N-Out Burger restaurant where turnover has been minimal under his leadership.

It’s due to his encouragement that they go on to school and setting their work schedules to make it happen.

When employees were told in a recent staff meeting that he would be leaving, there were few dry eyes in the restaurant.

Today is Salomon’s last day after receiving his Master’s Degree in Mathematics.  While showing constant concern for his employees’ education, he had been finishing his own Bachelor’s Degree as well as his Masters while managing the fast food restaurant since 2010.

He has helped his employees meet their career goals and has given them guidance toward their further education while training them as associates for the restaurant – “better for them and better for the company – better pay for them,” he said.

Employees as they have been taking pictures of each other to create a commemorative calendar for their boss to remember them by some 2,000 miles away – with all of their pictures and well wishes included.

His next stop is at Jackson City High School where he will be doing his student teaching assignment before he is eligible for a full-time position in math or a counselor position.  Coincidentally his wife graduated from that high school in southern Ohio and much of her family lives nearby.

Caleb’s wife Cherie has been his “rock” in her support of the well-liked manager and the personal cheerleader for her husband.  He is described as a friendly guy by his regular customers who have come to know him on a first name basis.  His wife has her BA in nursing, working as a charge nurse at Lodi Memorial Hospital until just recently. 

As for choosing math as his life’s passion, Salomon reasoned, “I just love it.  I love math, figuring out problems and solutions.  I want to see people succeed in life and make math fun.”

In his high school freshman year, his math teacher, Helen Elbrader, found him bored with Algebra 1 and let him slide right into the Algebra II curriculum recognizing he really liked math. His mother Brenda had decided early on that he would go to a private school and enrolled him in the New Life Academy in Napa where she taught first grade with his dad working extra hours as a chef to provide the tuition.

Caleb has served the fast food restaurant chain for some 13 years, becoming manager of the Manteca location over four years ago.  There have been about 25 employees who have come and gone during that time, but he remembers having only three that he had to let go.  Almost all of the 50 regular staffers are going to college and are allowed to work shifts around their class schedules.

The couple has been married for six years and hopes to start a family when they settle in the Ohio community after their 10 day trip with stops in the Dakotas where they plan to visit Mt. Rushmore.  Everything just seems like it is falling into place, he said.

“Manteca has been very supportive of In-N-Out,” Caleb said. “I will miss the associates and the people.  It has been fun when we all come to work – even if it was somewhat hectic and stressful at times.”

He said he will also be missing his family in Napa and Stockton and his church family in Lodi where the couple has been living as well as their ministry and the church ministry.  Both he and his wife have been serving as Sunday school teachers in the lower grades. 

He credited his parents with his good fortune, saying his dad Shukri demonstrated success and demonstrated business ethics in owning a restaurant only 13 years after coming to the U.S. as an immigrant.  His mom was a housewife with a big heart for her children and for foster children who needed her kind heart.

“Since I was 13, my mom had foster kids in our home and even now she has three with the total she has helped into the hundreds now.  There was one girl who came to our church that didn’t have a home in 1995 and they took her in,” Caleb said.

He began his In-N-Out career in Napa cleaning tables in the dining room.  Then on to Lodi, Tracy, Modesto, Turlock, Merced and Livermore restaurants with short stints in Pleasanton and San Ramon and finally to his management position in Manteca.

When interviewing prospective staffers for his restaurant, he said he would always look for the passion in an applicant – needing a passion for something in their lives that indicates how they will perform for In-N-Out, he said.

Having a dad who was a chef, he and his siblings all learned how to cook, he said.  At home his wife takes care of the baking and meal preparation with the exception of the meats – that’s his job.

Brother Ezra worked for the chain in Stockton and is now a sheriff’s deputy.  Isaiah is a youth pastor and his sister Ramah also worked for In-N-Out in Stockton and is now in school to become a registered nurse. 

“We’re driving a car and pulling a trailer,” he said of his move east.  “Her folks flew (out) from Ohio and they are going to drive the other car for us, but we’re taking it easy and seeing the sights over 10 days.”

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