Monday, June 29, 2020 - Dignified Hospitality - Serve Conscious

Video Subtitles:

even now so we just went live we're
streaming hello Internet happy Monday
we're here dignified hospitality I have
a wonderful friend that Stefan we
haven't talked in like years right it
has been some time yeah well first of
all do you want to introduce yourself
I'll let you do let you do the honor
I'm Stefan rivaly now I guess I can say
my mission is to bring mindful practices
into the service and hospitality
industry because that's where I come
from fusing that with my training as a
meditation and mindfulness teacher and
I'm also a huge d head just like Elise
I don't do it professionally but I like
to bring in tea ceremonies sensibilities
into what I teach as well since they're
endlessly valuable in a play yeah
there's so much overlap you know and the
more I think about it and and hear it
from different perspectives like read a
book or hear someone else's perspective
it always ends up rounding about to the
same conclusion that like tea is
ultimately hospitality tea is ultimately
service tea is ultimately hosting
someone holding space for someone so
yeah there is like so much you know
overlapping and parallels there so what
what project specifically have you been
working on with with your mission my
main one is syrup conscious that's I
guess what I hope to be everybody's
resource for mindfulness meditation
practices they can use and also
principles and practices and techniques
you can bring into service in order to
to elevate what is otherwise and
tragically a somewhat less inspiring
experience yeah anyone in any kind of
service job not just restaurants and
hotels but also any kind of corporate
service department they're all really
the same essential principles so um
that's also got a podcast and a lot of
free content and articles but I also you
know train and coach people too so
that's my main focus awesome yeah so I
I'm ashamed to say that I've only
recently become
with your podcast and that was as a
result of like this work I've been doing
with these weekly talks a dignified
hospitality and actually had Mike Ortiz
from Joe Joe T come on and chat with me
you know about the future of restaurants
from the perspective of vendors and
supply chain and he had mentioned your
podcast and only so I can't believe are
they because you've been doing this for
months like I only been doing this for
like one month how long two years now
okay so months years okay so that's
great so you like you've really been
ahead of the curve you know as far as
like talking about the career of
hospitality of service and and and
bringing an elevated I know you don't
you don't use the word dignity I always
use the word dignity that's that's the
best word I feel to sum it up that you
know oftentimes people that work in
service or think about working in
service or just even like the public's
perception of what being a service
industry employee is is like some
temporary job it's like someone who's
not educated that just you know I'm not
meaning any insult but that's just been
kind of like where the mentality has
been and there's like very little talk
other than like about chefs like shots
high-profile chefs get to be kind of
glorified and like oh that's a dignified
career to go into but there's so much
more than just a chef and you know like
from service staff and bartenders even
tea servers and in that these are
legitimate careers that should be you
know like having a sense of mindfulness
and bringing you know self satisfaction
and like community and embitterment
and in your work but also like a
dignified lifestyle from that and I
think the the pandemic and that's why
I'm doing this now but the pandemic has
really just exploded that and and and
brought that to the forefront but you've
been talking about this for years so
that's that's incredible thank you so
much for getting that conversation going
how has that work been for you
um what's been it's been very rewarding
um but first let me just say I like the
word dignity actually that's a great
word and in fact the traditions I've
studied in use the word dignity with
some frequency especially in I think in
Buddhism me because it's great because
it implies the fact that you know the
value of something regardless of what
anyone else thinks I think that's really
important for service because we live in
a society that doesn't really value
service may be like other cultures do
maybe like it used to and service is
incredibly rewarding so answer your
question how has it been for me it's
been interesting when I got into this I
started looking around for people to
have these conversations and I was
struck by how few there were and not a
lot of people are talking about I guess
bringing more integrity and richness and
general mindfulness which we can talk
about what that really means into
service and and I and maybe say okay I
definitely have to do this but also made
me say like why like why why why a
service not getting the same kind of
love that so many other areas of life
are and I just think people they don't
want to talk about it cuz they don't
want to they want to pretend like it's
just not it's just not there it's just
it's it's something that happens people
are doing it and I just hope to avoid
having to do it because it just doesn't
fit into this socio-economic
conditioning we have of success if
you're serving you are you are somehow
not successful you are somehow more
and my work has been to break that
conditioning because it is something
that has tremendous power in it
regardless of your of your position you
could literally be bussing tables in a
restaurant to working a call center and
it can be a source of growth and it can
be a position where you can bring a lot
to the people you come in contact with
every day so that's what I try to
explore in my work day to day the
response to it has been amazing
but bit by bit you know there aren't too
many there aren't too many there's a
Industrial rush towards my work from the
general hospitality industry most most
restaurants are pretty like set in their
patterns and we're in a position now
where restaurants aren't really
operating like they used to but up until
that point of code but affecting
everything restaurants you know had
these patterns of trading service like a
commodity and treating their staff like
a sort of a body that simply moves
things from place to place and not as
valuable people that can be a source of
joy and transformation and the people
that they serve hopefully this will be a
time where all of this is reflected on
and reconsidered
well I think what's gonna happen first
is that there's gonna be like an extreme
commodification of employees and and
we've already started to see it and and
employees are just gonna be fed up with
it and that's happening right now chefs
are having trouble keeping their
kitchens employed you know I could say
they may be furloughed for a while and
then a lot of people got onto
unemployment and then now the kitchens
are starting to open and either you know
the employees are like hey I've already
started working on my own thing over
here which is great like that's what I
love to hear or they say you know what
I'm actually making more money on
employment so I'm just gonna shell out
here for a second or they go back to the
kitchen or the restaurant feeling an
obligation but there's just such an
immense amount of stress and the
restaurants right now because of
increased protocols on you know
sanitation dealing with the pandemic
lower income lower margins and then like
management's are having to work more
hours and Oh more stress
so the environments the working
environments have become very extreme
and so that's like the main kind of talk
on the town right now is that like
kitchens are opening back up but chefs
are having trouble hiring and
maintaining employees and from my
friends that are working that's just
kind of the main feedback it's actually
the clientele the customers are amazing
they're grateful to be eating they are
grateful to be out and to be served and
they're tipping really well because they
understand situations where where it's a
little bit different as with as with
like management with how the restaurant
is is operating just due to the
conditions so I think that like you're
consulting and your messaging after like
all this settles down and the restaurant
that survived which after talking with
Jean a few weeks ago
you know I comment iconic French chef
from the Bay Area building his name in
the Bay Area he believes that the
restaurants that are gonna survive and
thrive through all this are the ones
that are like offering a very excellent
service and a very excellent experience
a very valuable experience and it's
probably going to be expensive but
that's okay you know and to have a very
high quality product your staff your
workers your Labor's youryour staff they
have to be skilled and you know so if
they want to survive this they as like a
dying diamond operation I think they
really have to step up you know how how
service is treated and representing of
their and the experience yeah
and I think also a reflection of what
skilled actually means when it comes to
service since um a lot of restaurants
focus on two things
generally like or that a lot of their
priorities are top-heavy in knowledge
and technique that's pretty much like do
you know information about the products
and then are you able to place things on
the table in the right sequence at the
right time and there isn't as much of
that sort of developing of the human
element which happens to be what people
are actually looking for I know have you
ever been to a restaurant and
everything's been perfect on a technical
level they had all the answers and yet
something was kind of missing something
felt hollow about it and maybe the
experience felt a bit strained and that
is that's probably an environment where
there isn't that level of
maybe respect or value for the employees
or just a situation where if someone is
utterly disillusioned with the role and
people can feel that like no matter how
technically skilled you are they can
tell when there's a part of you that
doesn't want to be there doesn't see the
value in it and your stuff isn't really
bringing much to it on sort of a
indescribable emotive level and that's
that's the level I work on with people
because good service comes from the
inside and it always is filtered and
shaped through where you're at what's
your general state right now you know
what's your general health and
well-being signature and so I teach a
lot of techniques of meditation and
self-care but also skills and principles
to bring into situations that are
challenging that make people constrict
and make people react inside even though
on the outside they have to always be
polite on the inside they're gonna be
suffering and learning how to navigate
that emotionally can really transform
someone's relationship to their role and
even difficult situations where they're
dealing with difficult people
can be something that they understand
the value of and can can engage with and
embrace enthusiastically and because
that's really what service demands is
that you're able to connect and bring
yourself fully and really show up to
situations even when they're not as
welcoming so it's incredibly challenging
service is really difficult and that's
why I got so enthusiastic about bringing
mindfulness that's fully into it as
possible because I saw it as like the
one like ultimate level 9 boss I'd like
just to see if I even had gotten
anywhere with my mindfulness studies I
mean I've been teaching meditation and
mindfulness for many years before I
started serve conscious and then I got
back into the restaurant industry as
sort of a you know a field test to see
to see you know what is this what was
this to me I was a hospitality
professional for over a decade before
and also how do I really learned
anything yeah I come into this as like a
different kind of consciousness
different kind of person and I saw the
challenges and I saw that the the love
and the care
needed to be brought into these areas of
my life that I didn't have so so there
is tremendous I guess you can say
training and skill required for service
people today and certainly especially
higher levels I would say that's
indispensable the knowledge and the
technical skill but with that has to
come a certain humanity that I think has
been drained from service either
institutionally either within the
establishment within the culture and
just generally within our own personal
connection to our jobs in our lives so
it's a lot of work sometimes
reconnecting to it but sometimes really
simple things and reconnect us to it so
in your opinion do you feel like the
work of engaging someone like you and
your practices is something that should
be encouraged and employed by like a
management team for like all of their
staff or do you think it's something
that servers should develop on their own
develop that practice on their own both
the first thing I do is give people
their own practices and systems because
no one can depend and wait for their
employers to offer that because that's
going to be slow going and there are
some there are some mindful companies
but even so there are limitations to how
much you can really weave that into I
guess you can say the daily operations
of a restaurant especially restaurants
there's plenty of companies that bring
mindfulness and meditation into their
corporate culture and there's
considerably more room for it there
sometimes the way just restaurants
operate the way the schedules work the
way the whole space is curated it is a
lot more challenging and people have
tried and found greater challenges
bringing in meditation practices and
other actual formal practices into the
daily operations however within like the
culture within like the sensibilities of
the company you can weed that in and
that goes to just the examples being set
by men
Matt go is that comes with the value but
things they value like what are they you
know during that pre-shift meeting right
you're there and your pump you're
getting everyone ready for service what
are you talking about and what are you
not talking about that sets a totally
different tone every day when problems
occur when employees have problems and
they come to you or when an employee is
obviously maybe struggling with
something how are they actually
addressed by management um as somebody
who cares about them as people as
someone who actually knows what they
need as someone who's actually being a
manager who knows how to actually lead
like if you actually compare the
managers in like maybe like some kind of
visionary Silicon Valley company and
some of the managers I worked with and
restaurants I mean the restaurant
managers look like thugs in comparison
sometimes and I hate to say it like but
on that brutality in that industry and
they think it motivates people oh yeah
really what what do you think causes
that do you think it's just like such a
competitive environment and and just so
many cycles and generations of
management's that has inspired that type
of culture ooh
that's a that's a rich question I will I
will try to crack into it but um yeah
feel free and if any of your um your
guests have anything to offer that I'm
curious what you think the casual
conversation you're welcome to half-half
answer questions you know like the you
know we're not but you know I am trying
to get the tidbits of good goodness you
know so get it out ya know yeah yeah I'm
just um I'm just saying this with a
caveat of like I'm just only going to
begin to hope to crack into it so um
what I can what I can say is probably a
big contributor is of course there's
like a like a generational aspect like a
legacy of life well okay they came up
through abusive managers so like an
abused child they go on to be abusers
you know there's this sort of
yeah there's passing on it like this is
the only way and it's the only language
that I know how to communicate sure
there's that I think there's something
very like visceral about the
and very like sensory and raw and I
think that maybe brings about that kind
of thinking and I think also in like a
kitchen where they're trying to like
orchestrate and shape something is
untainted untamable as food in such a
nimble fast way I think that just
creates a lot of stress and anxiety that
Beck has this sort of echoing effect on
to the rest of the restaurant and in
fact and I've worked in places that were
quite lovely and calm that's because the
kitchen was calm and the temperature of
the kitchen emotionally translates to
the temperature of the rest of the
restaurant because the most miserable
places I worked had the most miserable
kitchen so that's that's also uh you
know an interesting factor and I can't
even pretend to like speak to the
stresses of a kitchen um you know and
the challenges they deal with because I
was always front of house so I won't
just feel like okay kitchens just be
less stressed no but I can say that
model is possible and I've seen it work
and I would encourage a chef to try it
if they can at least begin to move
things in that direction the restaurant
doesn't fail when everyone isn't afraid
don't worry so so yeah definitely the
temperature of the kitchen I would say
also um I think it's it's I guess a lack
of there's this kind of perfect storm of
like the staff not having full
attachment to the job and feeling and
not taking it seriously but then also
them simultaneously being treated like
they're disposable and can be replaced
with just any other body that will do
the job and so it's this like
self-fulfilling prophecy of of course
they're not going to take it seriously
because that's how they're treating it
and I don't even know what comes first
the restaurant not valuing them or them
not taking it seriously but there just
happens to be this like this lack of uh
seriousness with the rule so that leads
to tremendous cognitive dissonance when
you're you're in a job that you don't
actually believe to be something that
you care about or or that cares about
you that
that's gonna carry into your work also
you have you have to shoulder a lot of
of other people's baggage the people you
serve they're coming to you and this is
like maybe the first part of their day
where they can actually unwind and
because maybe they spend their whole day
spent their whole day being exploited
and abused themselves in their job
either subtly or very overtly and so
when they're doing that they're bringing
their whole legacy of stress to the
table and maybe they'll be just in a
calm place where they want to just just
relax but other times they just might
chuck it around at everyone and I don't
really think anyone in that industry is
given the tools to manage that I mean
servers are emotional merchants you're
in the industry of emotions you happen
to be serving it contained on a plate of
food and in a glass of liquid but you're
dealing with emotions and you are also
expressing and sneaking through your own
emotions all day and no one's given
given those skills they're just set told
say this say that do this do that this
goes over there meanwhile you're dealing
with a storm of intensity so I think
that's a huge thing it's just like the
amount of intensity people deal with and
the lack of actual tools they're given
to deal with it yeah yeah I mean I think
that this is this is a conversation that
could probably be applied to a whole
bunch of different careers not just
service yeah you know especially around
the conversation around you know law
enforcement right now you know because
if you have empathy for the police then
you start to see oh yeah they're they're
pretty overextended no wonder they're
you know dealing with crazy emotions and
crazy stuff and anxiety and and whatnot
so yeah I think the same thing could be
said about about kitchen staff that was
one thing that a Joan had said last week
that is like why he believes that his
Russia so John my friend
he started two restaurants in the Bay
Area 18 years ago and has since sold
those restaurants new owners new chefs
new everything
menu remains the same legacy remains the
same and you know I asked him like
what makes the difference of a
restaurant like that like a legacy
restaurant like that versus one you know
like so many that we see rotating every
every six months anyone rotating in
what's next what's next what's next and
you know you said that a big thing for
him he always focus on when he's chef
Dean is his team and treating his team
like family and having a professionalism
with his team and another thing that
we've talked a little bit on me and him
is is about you know kind of like the
drug culture in the party culture which
you know can be a slippery slope for you
know developing respect and and culture
you know when everybody is is partying
hard and you know not feeling good once
they come back into the kitchen
he always had like a zero tolerance on
that and he never partied with his staff
he like kept a very high level
professionalism but then an immense
amount of respect as well and it's like
you're on my team because you're good
and were the best in town and this is
how we're doing it and so yeah how many
how many chefs are ready to do that I
mean they're kind of has been a movement
in the past maybe five or so years of
like chefs starting to step up and and
and and even like bartenders like I had
bartenders are starting to step up and
say okay hey clean living now I want to
focus on my craft I want to focus on my
work and that has it and that's effect
on on the culture you know and the teams
what do you think about that Oh a lot um
you know speaking of someone who like
drank every day as a you know as a
professional drag one point and there's
there's an interesting again like where
does this come from
is it like that it the industry attracts
people that are prone to this behavior
or is it that it actually reinforces it
and the answer is probably both people
are attracted there because they know
it'll be reinforced but it's also an
industry especially when you're working
in higher levels of fine dining
sometimes those people are even the more
self-destructive because actually
there's more stress and so there's more
to none after like I remember like going
out to drink after
and people drink like they just got out
of prison you know because you know in a
way they did like they were in this
prison all day of stress and strain
where they were going through agony on
the inside but on the outside had to be
like a smiling happy robot and yeah
you're gonna go drink that off sure
also it's romanticized so like you know
when something is extremely high quality
there's someone with some enchanting
European accent talking about how the
grapes are sung to every morning and it
sounds like oh well I'm just being a
romantic I'm just being this this bond
Avant I'm not you know being a drunk in
a way and and I'm not saying like I'm
not saying that this is like behavior
that is bad and should be pathologized
I'm saying I understand the behavior
because it's the same behavior that
brought me to meditation mm-hmm because
what are people looking for they're
looking for relief they're looking to
transcend their suffering and so that
that actually motivation can bring you
to something that is maybe a better drug
and for me meditation became that and
actually when I started meditating um I
went from drinking every day I happened
to be um when I really started
practicing I happen to be traveling
through Southeast Asia in between sort
of runs because I was travel bartending
for like six years and I I was like you
know like let's party in Southeast Asia
and I was like drinking and I just like
looked at the bottle and I was like I
was like why am I doing this I'm
actually feeling worse with every sip um
and not because it was Southeast Asian
the beer but uh I called my teacher and
I was like what's happening to me you
you're the only difference right now I
started meditating and miss doing this
thing you told me and he goes oh great
it's good to see that happening over it
what do you mean already you knew this
was gonna happen and I was
professionally responsible for serving
people alcohol and now I don't even want
to go near it he goes you know well I
mean like once you tap into like a
greater state of well-being you're going
to be aware of that which takes it away
and when there's situations that aren't
healthy and aren't serving you and full
of all kinds of emotionally unhealthy
exchanges and you don't have any tools
or any relief from it you're going to
unhealthy behavior as a sort of band-aid
and then the more I meditated the more I
pursued things that served me it's just
a natural thing that occurs and it's
been it's been studied in addiction
psychology like people are more likely
to be you know addicted to something
when they have difficult life
circumstances and you know there's
plenty of people that came back from the
Vietnam War and just stopped doing
heroin like they just they were doing it
every day or all the time in Vietnam
they came back they came back to a
loving nurturing community and lots to
fill their life with something and
they're like I guess I don't and it
brings it brings about this really
interesting psychological factor of
addiction that is totally other
discussion but is something to consider
in a restaurant that is rife with
addiction generally yeah yeah what about
tea oh yeah you know I am I am still um
I am still a bon vivant in my own way
and it's nice to have you know an
indulgence in a way that is also
life-giving nourishing and also on
something that that is a sort of a
mindful practice in and of itself yeah
one thing I'll say about tea is it was
always in my life before I was even
drinking and I didn't realize it when I
first got into craft bartending that was
in I guess that really started to happen
for me in like 2008 2009 I started doing
taking bartending more seriously as an
art form because that's my background as
a craft bartender and a manager at bars
around 2010 was the first sort of
English translation of Japanese
bartending books and they became a real
talk of the town because they were a
totally different perspective on
bartending and they were one that
involved a certain amount of presence
and attention to detail and there were
the first books to really talk about
hospitality and actually just like you
know being a caring present humble
person whilst urban and humble was a
difficult thing for a lot of Western
bartenders to swallow Western bartending
was and is so egoistic you know it's so
like look at me look at how much I know
look at how like sexy and fluid my
emotions are when I make drinks you know
and it's just and I was bringing so much
of that into my work especially when I
was running bars and I was like oh I'm
an artist I'm creating menus it's gotta
be like you know me me me and so like so
like lines in these books like a
bartender doesn't show off I was like
what my that's like my stock in trade
but this is because Japanese bartending
was informed by by chat out by um by the
art of tea ceremony the whole riku
tradition was essentially considered
like the most important template for how
the Japanese are gonna go about
bartending and they have the same
lifelong commitment to it well they're
where they will spend ten years only
like only cleaning and then like okay
now we're filling glasses with ice for
another ten years
because that's the level I'm at know
that I'm 70 years old I can start
actually making cocktails I'm
exaggerating slightly and this is like I
mean I was managing bars after a couple
years and so this was like like totally
like you kidding me
but like looking at things like that and
looking at the Japanese way was was
really um I think I opening for me and
and yet I didn't know how to access it
in my whole internal life and my whole
life as a bartender
and so I kept kind of browning against
it and I was also really terrible with
people I had social anxiety and actually
even though I was on the surface very
confident and outgoing so and but I was
also really bad with people I think
rubbed them the wrong the wrong way a
lot of the time and kind of being such a
kind of pretentious artist so I
eventually kind of had a couple shocks
into reality that I needed to actually
work on you know being someone that
people wanted to be around and actually
have a drink regardless of how good the
drink was you know so that's what kind
of brought me into my world travels and
meditating and then it started to make
Japanese bartending and Japanese tea sin
and then as someone continuing to get
deeper into meditation I discovered a
tea ceremony from a
when he's master named Buddha which I'm
sure you're familiar with we talked
about yeah he's a Zen master and and
sort of the what I learned with him
actually brought a lot of the other
studies of meditation coming down to
earth because he was really applying
that to a system of tea ceremony that is
just extremely service oriented where
you're gathering people you're creating
connections between you and them you're
inviting them to connect with themselves
you're inviting them to connect with all
of nature and all of being through just
sitting with tea is something really
simple and you're always refining and
mastering yourself by doing these simple
things like serving tea it's just that
it's the barometer of how mindful your
being and that is um those principles
besides just tea is a liquid but just
the relationship that one has to serving
tea to people there's a lot of what I
bring into on refining myself as a
person of service too so yeah so for me
like tea service mindfulness meditation
it's all inextricable they're all woven
together so in my last call with with
John an idea you know and I asked his
feedback on this idea was a high-level
fine-dining establishment having a
parlor or sort Saurus a lot of sorts
that's kind of a separate space than the
dining space where tea service can
happen so it's kind of like this space
where people can wait for their table
there is a bar in there there's also tea
tables in there and then they can go
after you know to have their dessert or
have tea after their meal and just kind
of let digestion happen and feel good
before they leave and you thought that'd
be a great idea and he had actually told
me that he there's some places and like
friends that do that and I'm very
it seems that like having something like
that could be beneficial also for the
staff to have like this as a place where
your staff can can can gather after
they're after the the restaurants close
to drink tea together and to bond
together doo doo like doo doo
restaurants have that kind of culture or
is it always just like let's just go out
and drink somewhere else or is there is
there ever like kind of space inside the
restaurant itself to to you know have
community among the staff oh yeah some
do that and I've been at places that do
that and yeah actually there's this one
place that was actually really really
like kind of intense slightly hostile
place in Australia that was really
really carved me into a much more
discipline on a technical level server
it was really intense but everyone got
along really well and at the end of the
the end of the shift there was this like
to drink quota we could all just grab
anything from the fridge and drink it
and hang out and connect after and yeah
it made it made all of that intensity um
a lot more certainly a lot more liveable
and so that was that was really nice and
I worked in other places but I think had
been others don't have that policy
others just don't want you like you know
messing up their place and would rather
you go somewhere else yeah well I really
love the idea of a space like that
people gathering and having having tea
after yeah well that's always a big
thing with tea service and food service
like oh we can't have fine tea here
because logistically it's just too much
of a nightmare for our service to bring
that tableside or bring that to the
table and I said well what if the T is
stationary and the people come to the
tea so you know having the tea table
there so this lawn there's a tea server
that is just constantly sitting there
and when someone comes and sits with
them like they could even you know share
the tea with different people at the
table making the logistics a lot less
cumbersome and then you create that that
space which could help but turnover of
people at the dining tables to to to get
them up and out but then still spending
money you know seems that there's
there's a lot of stuff like will details
like this and I think it's fine dining
or gonna
get figured out also is entertainment to
know yeah at least for the next couple
of years I think people are gonna like
and be really attracted to the idea of
like dinner and entertainment all
packaged into one place you know it
limits you know within in regards to the
pandemic it limits you know the vectors
that you go out and create all over the
place just going to one place and and
having your your night out experience I
did that the other night actually the
first time I went dining out here when
the Strip opened I probably come in from
LA and they wanted like we've been out
for three months we haven't spent any
money we want to go we want to go spend
some money and enjoy some hospitality so
we went to a place called the Mayfair
supper club I don't know if this is a
chain you know the strip always has like
these restaurants from like Miami or New
York or LA that that expand here I don't
know if it's from another place but it
was a really awesome feel it was like
art deco feeling inside and there's
stayed right in the middle of the
restaurant and that stage is constantly
having different performers come and
including like for Less type
performances and before pandemics
supposedly the performers were very
interactive with the diners they like
come up to your table and stuff now they
don't do that they all have to wear
masks right as soon as they finish doing
their dance they had to put their masks
back but you know and it was we ended up
sitting there for five hours you know it
was a dining experience you know the
bill was definitely enough to cover you
know our five hours at that table
but it was good you know because my
family they hadn't you know they really
wanted to go all out and that gave us
that chance and we only had to go to one
place we didn't have to go hop around to
the theater and then go to that casino
and that casino to you know have all
these different experiences just one
place so I think what that immersive
yeah no no I just think that that's kind
of gonna be the future of fine dining of
who's gonna you know survive this
kollene of sorts that's happening right
yeah yeah there's a
yeah I really do um I really think the
immersive experience is really humble
and important and especially with
something like if you're gonna have a
tea program I really do in my experience
seeing it operate and also just knowing
knowing the potential of a tea space and
it being self-contained and it being
like this is where tea happens and it's
going to be a totally different flavor
from anywhere else well you try to drop
tea in front of all the other like
shenanigans and noise yeah you know you
can still certainly enjoy it and
certainly maybe like connect to it in
some way but I feel like when you can
just have a space for tea even though
it's just like maybe someone wants a
glass of wine maybe they want some like
top us to go with it or something or
maybe they want something else but
usually they might know it usually
they're just like you know I'm just like
really enjoying tea and I remember like
we were at a okeechobee together right
where we I mean yeah that's right man
that's right the Okeechobee festival
right everyone surrounded by all of
these pleasures all of this stimulation
all of this you know and like it's it's
drugs and partying and awesome bands and
but what do they all say when they come
into the tea into the tea forest where
we were serving tea this is my favorite
place this is my favorite part of the
whole festival yeah and and it's really
interesting when you kind of have this
like space where you just kind of like
ah and you just kind of feel safe you're
gonna feel held and it's kind of calm
and relaxing and there's just tea and
that's the focus then um it kind of has
this really unique unique feel and
especially like sharing it with other
people and you know like speaking from
someone who seeks great tea houses
anytime they're in such a city and there
are a few in America that are truly
great tea houses like you know where
it's a really special space where where
it's very unique and particularly like
loving of tea it really does have a
special feeling to it I think
immediately of my fly awake in Portland
and I try to think there's there's a
Seattle as well Pacific Northwest the
West Coast has all the awesome ones and
I unfortunately haven't been to to Vegas
yet and any any um any tea houses there
but um well yeah when you're just when
you're just kind of in a tea space
mm-hmm yeah are you gonna come check out
my tea room yeah once things are active
again I'm not I'm not open to the public
just yet but get open I have big parties
here I can I can even host up to a
couple hundred people and their major
can t we set up live music bands and
performers and and even like like a yoga
area sound healing area and the last big
party we did here was about a year ago
the world team music festival that was
awesome that was after the world tea
Expo so it was all industry folks a lot
of people from China and from Europe all
tea industry folks that are used to tea
packaged you know and the tea bags and
flavored and and all of that you know
kind of the status quo of the industry
and I I had the opportunity to host the
official after-party so I was like okay
I'm gonna like I'm gonna make this like
such an immersive experience and maybe
it'll be a little too much because it
was a lot you know there was a ton of
stuff to do in a ton of art and
different people do mean different
things but I was like I want this to be
inspirational for people to see what the
experience of tea can be like even if
you were to take one of those elements
and then create a space that makes that
the unique offering of that tea space
like sound healing or you know one of
those things you can create a really
unique experience around teen it's not
just tea because that's the big problem
with getting tea more popular and making
it a more feasible business is that like
right now most businesses are packaging
tea and the value of T as like a soft
drink either a soft drink or like you
know the cup of coffee or the tea bag on
the menu that you'll never be able to
charge more than three dollars for that
no matter how fancy a restaurant is
he'll never be able to charge us more
than three dollars and so of course the
server is not going to be motivated to
upsell that
because he doesn't make her he or she
doesn't make you know the the tips on
that you know if that experience could
be elevated to a $12 or even $20
experience then all of a sudden it's
something motivating yeah that's
something else too you know and and I
heard I've listened to a couple of your
podcasts and there was one where you
guys talked about this is the guy the
guy from Momofuku the guy I forget his
Oh John de Bary yeah that was an awesome
podcast that was a great one that was a
very important one especially now
because he's the one guest so I think is
most talked about the sort of social
justice aspect of service yeah yeah yeah
and so you guys have briefly touched on
and a lot of people you know talk about
it a lot but I I don't know what the
solution is but touched on you know the
movement of getting rid of tips and and
how the tipping system it ends up
affecting you know the behavior of a
server right great they're gonna they're
gonna rather push you know a bottle of
wine that's gonna yield the bigger tip
than you know some other experience that
may actually be a better experience but
they're they're not going to be as
rewarded so they're not going to upsell
that have you heard any like really
interesting or innovative solutions or
alternatives for for the tipping system
of how you know it can be more
empowering to service yeah I mean I can
give you my my opinion here firstly my
opinion is the sales aspect of service
isn't the problem so like I don't think
that contaminates service if you
actually care about service then if you
can connect to the value of actually
like serving and caring about the people
that you are selling to I think that
it's fine to be rewarded for selling
more I think that's fine if you're doing
your job with integrity the problem is
is that the service industry has had its
humanity and integrity sucked out of it
so much that the sales aspect is really
possibly but when you bring integrity to
the service you bring integrity to the
sales process right so that's fine and I
think that's that's a decent enough
model but I think what's what's
important is taking the power away from
the people you're serving the complete
and total power so for example like if
if the person you're serving is the sole
determinant of how much you're getting
paid I think there's a certain amount of
like they can hold you hostage in a way
you know it's like you better or I'm not
gonna tip you I'm gonna you know don't
don't talk back to me or I'm not gonna
tip you and etc etc right so that's
problematic and um and what I was
talking to John he made some really
interesting points firstly that like the
West uniquely the Western North America
uniquely depends on tips for income and
also North America happened to be built
on slavery and he highlights and I
actually I'd like to do more research on
this I haven't yet that the tipping
system is actually born in slavery yeah
I'm from an establishment that doesn't
want to pay its staff so it just depends
on people too
it doesn't want to pay the slaves so
it's like are there compassionate people
if the slaves are serving well then they
can take care of them but we're not
going to and and that I think is a lot
of like really at the core of the the
toxic relationship of establishments to
their employee they're not paying them
much they're not investing in them much
they're depending on everyone else to
pick up the slack so that's like that's
gonna create a problematic dynamic right
there so I think that employers should
should pay their staff well I think the
most ideal the most ideal situation is
all of them raising their prices 20% and
including a 20% Commission to their
servers divided divided equitably
between their support staff as well you
know they're they're bussers and their
and their and their service assistants
and whatnot so that's really valuable I
know some Danny Meyer restaurants have
done that maybe all of them
I forget
mechanics of it exactly but he has
higher prices and and it's like services
built in if you want to tip more great
but there's a bare minimum these people
need to be taken care of right so that's
right so it still gives the server the
the person being served the opportunity
to reward people but it's interesting
though because in no other industry
people really think - tip much like if
someone gives you like great service at
a car rental you're not gonna be like
here's your some extra money so so so
like knowing that we have to we're more
willing to reward people which is nice
like I like seeing people kind of pick
up the slack for the sort of this weird
structural need that we have for
restaurants to not pay their employees
and-and-and server wages are like going
down you know they've been decreasing
yeah because they're more and more tips
are getting higher it's been really
weird I remember when I started in the
industry tipping was twelve to fifteen
percent that was standard now it's 20
and like wages are lower and it's like
so weird um so so I think like that's
that's a that's a decent enough model
I'm some restaurants don't raise the
prices but they just say twenty percent
is being added to the bill because
there's a psychology of like ok if you
raise your prices twenty percent
you're gonna be looked at as a place
that's twenty percent more expensive as
everywhere else even though like people
will certainly tip 20 percent anywhere
they go psychologically they they don't
it's not factored into how much they're
spending somehow it's like but this 20
percent I feel like I'm just kidding
I'm not spending it so I like feel
better so there's an interesting
psychology there but do I agree that the
tipping system in a current form is
toxic I do and I do think it leads to
extremely hustle II behavior and
exploitative behavior but a lot of that
can be tempered by I think bringing more
dignity to do the service role and being
valued a lot more by your employer and
also being more like I mean once like
once you really like love service and
you can really kind of connect to people
and see the value and what you're
bringing to them you're less likely to
want to exploit them because I mean
you're gonna want to build a
relationship and relationships aren't
built from like getting the quick easy
money and in the first go-around right
we trust so so my answer is multifold
there let's start with bringing more
integrity to the job and yeah I'd love
to see I'd love to see it change
structurally yeah I'm like disappearing
here Ben into my background we changed
the lighting yeah no that's that's
valuable so that 20 percent I mean
you're just taking that number from like
the current tipping percentage and just
that's or is that like I just pulled up
an article about Danny Meyer and his no
tipping and um well I guess yeah he puts
a 20% increase on his prices too so I
guess that's a cool I don't have to read
this more I think the present the
present amount that people are tipped
generally works fine for it being a
decent middle-class income in most
places some places you can make even a
lot more than a middle-class income
actually um I would say like these jobs
can be even more I guess you can say
demanding in terms of like raw energy
required that a lot of middle-class jobs
but some argue that they require less
skill so maybe maybe servers are making
too much that's the problem that a lot
of people have with withholding a lot of
servers make too much but if they I
guess they knew the trials and
tribulations like of the grind of
serving then they wouldn't think that
like no one that's ever served thinks
that servers are making too much like if
some lawyer is telling me like I don't
legally have to chip so I won't because
I think you make too much some some guy
making like 300 dollars an hour to fill
out paperwork I'm gonna say like okay
but obviously you've never served and if
I were to say that I don't but if I were
to say that I think probably what would
submit that they haven't served they've
never done that for yeah yeah and and I
really do feel like there are tremendous
skills that take a life long to build
though you don't need university degrees
to do it to do it in a way that is um
you know fully realized of what the role
can bring people and the actual like I
say like management of people skills and
everything that comes in it takes a long
time to really become skilled at it and
I think those service should be rewarded
for their commitment and so I rarely
think to service get paid too much yeah
what about like skill building you know
not just technical skill and the job
itself but like personal skill building
and personal career building and like
financial intelligence so like yeah
maybe one year business is great
and you're making a lot of money you
know it's there is there a culture of
like well let's be smart with the money
we made because kovetz coming next year
we're all gonna be not able to work you
know what I mean like I felt like that
that happened a lot with my service
industry friends you know like last year
when I was talking to Matt this time
they were making great money and they
were very comfortable and very good and
then you know a week in - pandemic it's
like oh my gosh what am I gonna do I
can't survive this and you know most
other careers like proper careers people
plan for things people have like savings
and they have retirement plans and they
have you know like infrastructure along
with the dignity of the career that I
don't I don't know if I've seen too much
with the service industry do you think
that there is potential for that yeah
there's potential for that to the degree
that it can be effectively like woven
into like the workplace culture I wonder
I wonder but interestingly though now
that are like a lot of like purchases
are on credit cards now like a
disproportionate amount compared to
maybe like a decade ago restaurants are
more likely to actually like include
that on a paycheck that you have to do
Clara's taxes and I think once you're in
the tax system I think you're more
likely to be like okay well I'm a member
of society like how do i how do I
actually like manage my equity and maybe
you know since I can actually buy a
house since I actually had income on the
books maybe I can do that and so I might
get people thinking more like
you know as like people like in have
structured lives perhaps because I
noticed a difference in how I was
thinking about my income when it was
actually put on a paycheck that was
automatically text rather than just
seeing how much I can hide from the
government so so that that can change
now in terms of like like managing
personal finances if that's your
question yeah I don't know how much that
can be I know you don't do any you any
like industries actually teach their
employees like personal financial
management so I don't think it's a
teaching type of a thing I think if it's
it's more of like what comes along with
the dignity of having a career like
career then you know you're putting
money away every month and and you're
not it's not your choice most companies
you go to they make you do that they
they give you the health insurance and
they say oh this is a benefit like this
is your salary you're making this is a
benefit why don't they just give all of
the this in the form of salary and say
okay you're responsible for your own
insurance you're responsible for your
own stuff like your employer of a career
typically in in our culture we'll handle
that stuff for you and cuz I remember
when I was young just out of college I
had a full-time job and I remember
having to have a seat with the HR
department and they told me about all my
benefits and you know in retirement
accounts and everything and and that was
very educating for me because I was
still young didn't know anything about
money you know and and I got like a
crash course in that I don't know
because I'm an entrepreneur and you know
I have friends that are like lifetime
you know servers and that's a career but
the it's it's still like not considered
a career and you know you go out and go
drinking with them at the bar and you
know like someone says oh you never did
anything with your life you're still
just a server and it's like well that's
kind of messed up yeah I mean yeah and I
don't think that
we can depend on other people hopefully
like looking at serving as a real job
but like when you really like when you
really show up to it as something that
you say like this is like this is an art
and a plan for me and this is something
that I really think is important giving
good service and I think it has a lot of
power and potential then people are less
likely to look at you like oh poor you
you know you're like you're gonna lost
people people are looked at as kind of
lost if they bring a lost mentality to
what they do I would say and and I would
say there's still plenty of like social
conditioning to push against because
when I was um when I was a bartender and
I very obviously took it seriously um
people struggled to adjust to that like
wow you're actually treating this like a
career like how is that working for you
yeah and you know and I chefs chefs um
how it can be looked at like that
because it's like oh this is like a
craft you know so yes this is a career
it is you're like you're making
something with your hands then
bartending has that element in it and so
now it's kind of more can be looked at
as a career and then you can very
quickly graduate to managing and running
bars and you're like you know this is a
legitimate profession serving
unfortunately just kind of seems like
because it just seems like it's just
service just service quote-unquote so
people are less likely to view it as
that but but when you get into higher
and higher levels of fine dining and the
amount of skill and knowledge required
then I guess it's more likely to be
looked at as a career as it does like in
Europe even not so high levels of fine
dining there is considered a valuable
career but um to your question I'll
introduce you to Adam in a second go
ahead finish your answer so to your
question yeah I think people are more
likely to to view it as a something that
counts I think also when when they're
not just like scrabbling for whatever
kind of income they can get from an
employer that doesn't really value them
and it's kind of like you feel like
you're a longshoreman sometimes you know
I'm thinking like that like Marlin
movie on the waterfront like sorry no
work today no one gets paid yes and
you're not go this isn't really like a I
can't real I'm just living big
day-to-day and sometimes you can feel
like that even if you're making seventy
thousand dollars a year because of a
certain relationship you have to the job
and to yourself doing the job so I guess
making it uh making it like a I guess
you can say like oh this is a structured
life where I should be responsible um
can can happen from the inside
when you have a more integral
relationship to the job yeah cool yeah I
like that answer I think that's great I
mean that was what I was I was looking
for but yeah it's it's it is it's weird
it's like we should be able to treat
these things like career and you know
not having to live you know week to week
paycheck to paycheck so yeah Adam just
joined us he is cool he is 80 friend and
he's come on and had a couple chance of
me I'm done you know he has a at least
how you doing all right also so I just
had to turn it upside down and then
trying to set it up so that it's pointed
in the right spot and doesn't follow so
yeah anyway have you been have you been
listening in on on Stefan and my
conversation since I got signed on yes I
I'm disappointed that I that I didn't
have everything set up while he was
referencing on the water exactly I mean
you know I'm sorry that I've forgotten
came in a little late here but it's it's
kind of fitting because right before I
got on here I was watching a last night
segment from last week tonight with John
Oliver which is all about the impending
eviction crisis that's about to come
related to the corona virus and a lot of
the themes that I haven't met the other
person on the on the call here but a lot
of the themes that were talking about
are like very closely related he was
kind of concluding that segment by
pointing out like yeah people who are
erection you know it wasn't it was the
John Oliver thing and then actually I
was watching Jon Stewart get like Trevor
he concluded that interview by saying
yeah people who he considered essential
when this whole crisis broke are the
lowest paid people in the country mm-hmm
it's true yeah so yeah I'll introduce
you to Stefan quickly since you missed
the beginning of the call but he is
based in Florida and he has a really
cool podcast that you absolutely have to
check out called serve conscious he's
been doing it for two years Adam like
seven is much more senior than me on
these these conversations he started
getting these conversations going way
early and he was saying that in the
beginning it was it was a little
difficult for him to find people to talk
to about these issues mom yeah three
years ago you know like why why rock the
boat everything is fine you know we're
in a boom we're in a culinary bloom
right now but I mean Stefan I'm curious
like so you what Elise just said in
regards to like culinary boom it was do
you think that was the reason you had
trouble getting people to talk to you
about some of these issues no no my my
podcast my whole it's kind of a whole
educational project and also service for
people and organizations that teaches
mindful service so conversations around
like the possibility and the power of
service to be something that is
life-giving something that is inspiring
not something that's like deadening and
depletes us and you know dehumanizes us
as it is kind of viewed in our culture
and not let people look at it like that
I've actually even people who are like
working in the service industry and are
like you know like like hardcore like
meditation practitioners and like maybe
they're also like coaches as like a side
hustle they still be like their service
job as this thing they just gonna have
to get and I and I and I don't look I
can't look at service like that because
I just think that's a unique cultural
conditioning and also like a
industrialization of it in in modern
society has reduced service to that when
you know in Japanese culture and Indian
culture at any given each turn
self-development cultures like probably
like traditions service is the highest
honor I'm going the divide so it's a
conversation but uh I still hadn't found
many people I have to go out and I have
to lasso them though third like I have
to find them amidst all of the all the
noise sometimes they're hidden and
sometimes they're doing this work but
like they're not really articulating it
or exporting it so I you know or or
making it like a conversation so they're
you know it's just it's more work to
find people willing to talk about
mindful service and the importance of
kind of empowering people that serve and
helping them see the power of that role
that's not much of a conversation and
it's suddenly a really important one to
me it hasn't been for the last I guess
two and a half years since I started
serve conscious I started the podcast I
think that this is gonna be an important
thing for everybody very soon when
people are having trouble keeping their
kitchens staffed and you know their
servers happy they're gonna start
digging around you know and your your
podcast and all your
work is gonna be the first stuff to show
up so you know I hope I hope people find
you and and and seek out your your
service and inspiration because yeah
that's important Thanks yeah I'm so I'm
I'm I still have something to talk about
because people they only talk about
I guess food and you know what's what's
hip now what's happening now doner
there's much to talk about but for me
service is always happening like the
essence of service can always be
explored in your own life so that's what
I'm looking at so um so I still had
plenty of conversations to be had so how
do you define mindful service mindful
service is the kind of service where
you're always looking to improve how
aware you are of what's happening what
this person needs what's happening in
you you know maybe like what you need
what obstacles are occurring to me like
really showing up services like an
active it's a path in like a crucible
for to grow and become more inspired
more and connected to yourself more
connected to people and there's a whole
constellation of you know practices and
principles that you can fold in to kind
of make that a path for you but it
generally is a relationship to service
that is the same kind of relationship
somebody would have if there may be
learning a martial art or learning
archery are you you know how many how
much how deeper can your awareness be of
how to refine yourself and how to refine
your experience of serving and and it
can go deep and it can become lifelong
and it just brings a lot more integrity
to service where it's not just this
disposable thing that we hope to get out
of the way so we can then get out of get
out of that horrible lowly role and do
something that's really valuable it's
it's all it's all there it's like it's
the kind of service where you can see
the nectar and the richness right there
without needing more no I do tell people
that it's not the be-all end-all if
service is just something you're doing
while you're in law school then this is
how you can actually get something from
it rather than just be like Oh what do
you think of that Adam I think it's a a
refreshing and distinctive take on on
the concept of of serving and I think
and I mean I'd be curious to hear more
of how the conversation has looked for
you Stefan over the period of time that
you had the podcast and and since kovat
has hit about like what does how it has
looked in general and how what you see
is some of the obstacles to that because
I from my perspective I think many of
the people who are in these lines of
work yes they don't they do view it as a
drag but many of them view it as a drag
because of not because of because they
they hate me the work itself but because
they paint the people they have to deal
with both customers and and their
superiors that don't they conditioned
them to not feel dignified yeah yeah so
but then when you look at that situation
you think what do I have the power to
change I can't change the people I work
for and I cannot I cannot select the
people that I serve so to speak you know
eventually maybe you can get to a point
where you can and you know and I looked
at that over a decade of being in the
service industry and seeing seeing you
that I don't necessarily have a choice
in the matter you know just you know
sluice opens and out comes the people
you have to serve
you certainly have a choice and job
let's say you know if a place has to
talk to you can you can leave it's
actually one of the easiest industry is
just to you know pack up and take flight
mm-hmm and I always recommend people do
that as well rather than just seeing how
like you know stoic you can be and how
much shit you can survive but coming
from my own practices of meditation and
self-development and exploring how
possible it is to experience person
that's being difficult and actually not
experience them as difficult I know
that's possible
because that's what that's what the
entire trajectory of Buddhist and yogic
practices are exploring and have proven
as possible you know and of course we
can still be triggered and frustrated
and depleted by people but when you give
yourself more resources and more tools
and more awareness and more self-care
what what was oppressive before what was
depleting you before it's simply a
challenge that's like a you know it's
like a tremendous challenge but other
times isn't is it merely the challenge
that it was I mean like I think about
when I was first starting out you know
somebody spoke down to me it was
crushing but then you know with greater
meditation greater respect for myself
and the work I do it was much easier to
I mean it could still feel painful but
much easier for me look at that as
actual potential fuel to to learn and
grow and become stronger and also as a
doorway into connecting to the person I
use um
one of the most favorite frameworks to
use when like navigating service work is
nonviolent communication which is titled
in a very deceiving way it's a mindful
communication technique and basically if
someone's like charged and they're
we're taking it out on you you know it
has nothing to do with because you just
met they've had a whole legacy of pain
and tragedy leading up to that point so
if you can immediately recognize it's
not about you then there's no reason for
you to consider yourself a victim oh
well you are getting is a sort of like a
baby crying you know babe it'll they're
not hostile to you they are expressing
that they have needs they are expressing
that they have something unmet in them
some some kind of pain that needs to
heal it and they're actually inviting
you to potentially see what you can do
for them and when you don't make it so
personal and you actually look at it as
like I've been invited to be
compassionate and be like part of like a
healing process in some subtle way
you're not gonna be like woo woo about
it what shall I heal within you know
it's like what do you need right now and
when you make the conversation about
that and not just constricting inside
and like oh I must must stick with the
script must you know must maintain like
a demure demeanor and get battered to by
this person and you actually can like
meet that and engage with it it can be
bring tremendous relief to them into
and you'll you'll be particularly you'll
be proud you'll be dignified you'll be
you'll be pleased with your ability to
participate in helping with someone with
their suffering just like showing up and
not not actually like developing
defences around it so um these kinds of
these kinds of opportunities are there
and and I think of the and I think of
that that Zen that's an parable you know
around tea ceremony one encounter one
opportunity that means any encounter not
just the ones that are just the most the
most potentially delicious to you that
means the challenging ones and the
challenging ones can often be more
rewarding but most of the time people
you know like a trundle through a
service gig like a victim getting
knocked around by everyone's everyone
else is reactivity when in fact you can
um you can be much bigger than that very
optimistic mindset
and I know that I'm a work in progress
with all of this and I know that not
everyone is willing and able to go fully
on this journey but I seen and I know
the transformation is possible once you
can begin to just simply give yourself
the resources to do it and I guess don't
give themselves resources sorry one that
one point I I would make which is like
somewhat of a counter point that I would
make and I mean apologies for the the
extent to which this this the mercenary
nature of this point but that's just
kind of there's a certain degree to
which that's the reality bad dog front
of house service professionals live in
is that I think so I've been back and
forth in the in front of house service
roles for quite a while most recently I
was I was server at a couple of
establishments in San Juan Puerto Rico
and I went into that the first one with
I think a better attitude than I've had
in the past and I was rewarded for that
in many ways and I really tried to put
my head down and just like focus on work
and not get and not like act like
self-righteous or anything like that and
be patient with education with customers
as I could and everything can seem like
it's going great
and you can be so patient and in a good
place until you see the tip line and in
my experience Berto Ricans are not very
good tippers unfortunately and I just
saw mean that a friend posted something
along the lines of seriously y'all are
tipping poorly in the middle of a
pandemic and and being difficult
customers in the middle of a pandemic
and then not even tipping while and I
sit and I'm thinking yeah I could
totally see that with them and this is a
friend in Puerto Rico
one of my former colleagues I'm thinking
I can totally see so many of these
customers doing that and then switch
over to the next establishment where I
was working there same owner and I was
running the wine program and my in I did
get a share of the tips but generally I
just had a better hourly wage so
suddenly I'm I wasn't having to think
about that as much and that I found that
yeah and actually we can we can deepen
this this point we were talking about
because then before you got online and
he's and I were talking about the the
problematic nature of how volatile the
compensation structure is of circularly
in North America this is the you visit
unique to North America because of a lot
of factors I've heard the tipping system
here comes from from slavery since we
everything that built slavery
restaurants were slaves and the the rest
a lot of restaurants didn't want to pay
their their enslaved workers so they
depended on everyone else too so that
kind of makes it unique to North America
if you know more about this I'd love to
go deeper into this I've heard that I
think I've heard that that history
sounds familiar I I don't think it's
entirely unique to North America in turn
I mean the concept of cooking I do think
it's been in other places but it has
certainly it is survived here and is
more entrenched here in the
the history of it being associated with
slavery can explain why I haven't I
haven't seen a service culture where
maybe 80 90 percent of your income is
dependent on ships you know except
Canada Canada is maybe a little less
they took a little less in Canada sort
of base wages are higher slate so yeah
that's that's what Canada loves to do
I'm from Canada you just love to do well
yeah it is it is um you know I like I
lived in them I lived in Australia and
you know we'd make like four to six
percent tips look we got made twenty two
dollars now and so like it was great
actually made about as much yeah
as we did here but it was just kind of
like it was a given that we were gonna
make money which is great I didn't care
a minute since I'm so so yeah that that
aspect of money you know is is going to
always just be like death by a thousand
cuts like every time we see that we
don't get paid and I got to a point
where I wasn't looking at the tip line
I just wouldn't look at it even though
you have to look at it eventually but I
would try not to look at it or even or
even register the number I'd
automatically do math in my head and and
I would also attempt not to do that
because it would just be like why you
know why why make it this like emotional
rule where someone tips you and you're
happy and someone doesn't get you and
yourself and then when tips you well and
you're happy and it's just like it's
this silly game we're playing up and
down especially when like before like
kovat maybe outside of outside of making
certain tipping cultures within America
and it's protectorates it would all even
out you know at the end of the day you'd
still make maybe on average 20 percent
just like someone's so in tips you
twelve percent but there was that guy
that tip thirty percent and that makes
up for guy or girl nothing one thing
that I appreciated about my last my last
couple positions with that restaurant
I still don't I mean ultimately I think
tipping needs to be abolished but this
was like kind of a lesser of two evils
like complete tips there like anytime
you get you have a table and there's a
tip on that table it is not your tip it
gets equally distributed everyone who's
working that shift and that was my last
job in it it fosters this this team this
greater sense of team camaraderie
solidarity everyone's working together
not you your table is not just your
table you're all trying to make sure
that everyone gets the best service
possible so that like everyone comes
home with as much money as they possibly
yeah feather out so I mean that that was
I liked that I mean and people who don't
like that situation it's like pretty
quickly they it's it becomes clear that
they're not a good fit for the for the
establishment because they're they're
kind of like pushing back on what
everyone else is like working together
to make work yeah so nice to hear that
you actually saw it create a better work
culture because I've seen the same thing
and I wondered if that was true like
across you know many different contexts
if you can have a pool house and it
would always lead to more team
integration and so that's nice to see
you yeah we like it it won't always but
in my experience it did at least for me
and at least with the team that I worked
on yeah and it does especially work in
in on smaller teams where I kind of feel
a sense of like closeness and trust it's
as teams get bigger there's much less
trust of the totality of the collective
and there's more likely to be a rotten
apple in the batch that everyone resents
because they feel that they're just like
you know cropping up as they as they
slack off but I had an experience of
this in a very small team and it was it
was great
it helped I mean I just think like the
tipping system also furthers American
hyper hyper individualism just like it's
you know I'm in it for myself I just
need to get by look out for number one
and when you
services are more likely now to each
other out more likely to do so without
feeling like I'm being charitable right
now no I'm just doing except do like to
actually be part of a community you know
so um so that's a helpful that's a
helpful I think making making better out
of a bad situation but I I agree with
that it the whole tipping system needs
total revised meant I do believe in
being rewarded for selling more that's
fine in any sales position I have it
have it be commission based rather than
tip based take it out of the take it out
of the the clients hands and maybe make
it a higher minimum so you know that on
a slow week you're not going to be like
struggling as much that could be that
could be a good revision but um they're
they're a whole number of incentives
that you could come up with for
incentivizing someone to do better work
but but yet yes this kind of randomized
weather yeah as you as you know like
customers have in control of of the
employees income is like it's just not a
in extremely a typical business model it
creates a slavery dynamic where there
the whole hostage essentially and saying
like we don't get paid if you don't
please me if you don't actually cater to
my to my Caprice right now like you
actually are going to suffer like we're
like pick an industry where you could
like actually like not like what it's
like you call a call center and it's
like did you like the service no don't
pay them another end of it ownership is
in this position where they can either
like be perfectly completely fine with
this system where they're exploiting
their own workers or their well-meaning
but their hands are tied to really be
able to provide them with something
better because the the profit margins at
restaurants are so slim so like are they
able to generate enough revenue
they can pay for things that that like
they feel they're their service deserve
when I was like looking at opening my
own place a few years ago like one thing
I wanted to do was like no tips and and
like provide health insurance it's like
yeah I'm going to be able to I mean with
the concept that I had in mind
it was going to be enough trouble
generating enough revenue to actually
like turn a profit in the first place
and then I'm trying to add these
additional costs that like places that
do turn plenty of profit or supposedly
barely able to provide yeah yes I
remember having a really funny
conversation with my employers once
during my in my performance review and
they they had given me a race you know
and like it was like you know from $5 to
$9 they're like you're making we're
paying like 80% one so like how are you
earning it was like you're not they may
be percent increase weight when it goes
from five to ninety five to nine that's
almost double that's like 80 percent
yeah I'm thinking of it like a markup
like that's like 40 percent markup yeah
let's call them an 80 percent raise so
to them occur but in fact it was like
because because that's not they you know
for them that's a huge deal to give me
an extra like but actually I was like no
because you're not actually paying your
clients are so what conversation are you
hoping to have here where you actually
have any leverage you know and that's
kind of an interesting thing the
employees employers aren't really
investing in their employees and so
there isn't really like much of a much
of an intimate relationship there where
they are more likely to invest in them
in other ways
you know like actually like nurture them
because you know they've left they've
left their clients to pay for and to pay
them and which is interesting because if
they actually if they actually if there
was no tipping and they're actually they
were deciding the wages of their servers
they probably would be lower than what
servers make chips which is also
problematic which means human beings
when they don't have to you are more
like a reward somebody that gives them
good service then the asshole employer
of those people who depend on them to
actually create the entire emotional
temperature of the restaurant but this
is literally the product the
experiential product of the restaurant
the humanity of the restaurant are not
likely to pay them and in fact probably
just love paying them less and less like
what's the minimum wage in certain
southern states like a dollar ninety an
hour no players love that yeah we you
know like Italy because I don't need you
so it's well they like that too because
the convenience and the lack of
complication in writing their paychecks
because so many of them end up with zero
dollar paychecks and it's easier for the
ownership to like account for their
taxes whether they are not required to
like throw any money at the employees
and it's yeah it's terrible when you
value like convenience over like
contributing to someone's livelihood
yeah yep we've spent uh pretty much this
whole conversation up to now
very good talking points on how
restaurant management and ownership can
you know better empower their workers
and and and service staff but something
I don't want us to miss out on and you
know we may want to end the call soon so
I'll I'll put this out there to kind of
get this conversation going all those
things that we've talked about are great
for the restaurants are going to remain
in business or going to start business
and be in business but the reality of it
is that I don't know what the current
estimate is that the estimates a few
months ago and I'm sure it's even worse
now because the pandemic has turned into
much worse situation than we thought
that then but the estimate was that 40%
of restaurants would not survive which
40% of the service staff and all the
staff will not have jobs so something
that I always like to bring into these
conversations is what kind of
opportunities and in your case Stefan
like for server who does value you know
the Career Service it does see it as an
art and does have a passion for it
what are some opportunities you know for
those passions to manifest you know into
micro business or into other
opportunities outside of established
restaurant industry yeah I would like to
start by saying that I think there's
this what will often hold people back is
this sort of limited identity they
formed around themselves as service
people where they've been doing a job
that isn't really skilled and doesn't
really have much cachet on a resume and
so they you know they don't like what
what's what do I have to offer the world
besides being a conveyance of food and
drink but in fact this whole time
whether you realize it or not and later
in life people often realize this you've
been developing really really powerful
useful skills serving and that's why
service for me it was such an important
kind of a field test of my mindful
practices because you're involved in
such important work and that is knowing
how to navigate human need right someone
is coming to you with needs and how do
you actually meet them and how do you
meet them skillfully and gracefully and
when you have the ability to kind of
tune in to listen to and satisfy needs
that is a very powerful translatable
skill into other avenues of life and I
would say that a lot of the people that
listen to my podcast or follow my work
are not actually in restaurants they're
just doing their like maybe maybe they
have a Reiki business maybe they're
maybe they're a nurse in hospital
maybe they their job doesn't have the
word service in it but like they're
they're bank teller and they say that
the things I'm talking about are things
that would greatly elevate not only
their experience of their job but their
effectiveness at it so when you actually
do service
and you're and you think like how to be
of service and how to do it in a way
that's mindful and elevating then it
greatly increases your own power and
fulfillment in your job so so take that
translate it into literally anything
what specific things I guess we can
start to talk about some ideas and some
chips did you guys have anything to
offer there first before I run away with
the script I would like first of all I
think Stefan kind of put it in a very I
think you hit the nail on the head and
in a very eloquent way and if I would I
mean I would add just kind of in the in
the moment using more of the buzzwords
that one might use in a job interview
first of all I would bottom line is like
if you're transitioning from like that
line of work to something else I think
the bottom line is the sky's the limit
because if you're in that line of work
you the skills that you develop are the
ability to think on your feet constantly
the ability to problem-solve on the spot
the ability to work very hard long hours
when you are working in that line of
it is demanding on you mentally and
physically a very serious attention to
detail in in many many ways because an
ability your your handling money and
numbers constantly and Stefan made a
point about your navigating human needs
I mean you know someone might have a
gluten allergy someone might have a soy
allergy and then you need to communicate
that with when the kitchen staff that
might have a limited ability to speak a
certain language or might not be
familiar with a certain nut with a
certain allergy and you have to know
like all of those ins and outs in the
menu and you you learn how to just
some degree you may learn a certain you
may learn maintenance in in like keeping
an establishment running and if like
management's not there on one day or any
that's kinda I'm getting into like
problem solving on the spot if you're
working in the bar you are learning to
like create things that that are a work
of art of sorts and if not a work of art
there at least a craft so you're you're
developing creativity endurance you're
using your brain your body I mean
there's a whole slew of skills that that
could apply to any job whether it's like
in a completely independent
entrepreneurial pursuit or working at a
bank you can yeah absolutely yeah very
it's very it's a very inspiring kind of
catalog of skills that people I guess
maybe they take for granted doing that
kind of work but uh I wonder like I
wonder where to point people because I
couldn't speak to like who will hire you
you know out of the restaurant industry
I don't know like the escape routes so
to speak but I would say what are you
like what are you qualified for any
sales job so you've been sailing you've
been doing sales the whole time not only
that and you know like sales jobs aren't
just gonna hire people because they have
a certain amount of education they hire
people based on like how much like how
much Verve and Moxie are you bringing to
the interview and and if you like kind
of can propose and also bring to your
job the same amount of hustle you bring
on a busy Saturday night you will crush
any sales job I mean you will do
fantastic at it given the amount of that
combined with your ability to have
relationship developed which is uniquely
prioritized in hospitality of creating
like a safe the nurturing environment if
you're doing it right if you're not just
processing people if you really are
somebody that wants someone to feel good
and comfortable where they're eating and
drinking bring that into sales and you
will be a cut above for sure so any
given sales job and that's like working
for somebody right there's plenty of
other jobs or you're working for
somebody where where these skills can
map on but I guess I mean my own work I
can I can basically say and I think not
a lot of people think that they are
actually able are skilled enough to do
this but starting an online business is
really easy place we're in a word of
time where it's strikingly easy to take
a thing that you love and put it online
and put some energy into it and learn a
bit of technical stuff take a take a
business course take an inexpensive
online business course by by a
well-established thought leader that's
good at getting every day people started
with online businesses and you can turn
something you love into a business
without any business savvy at all
you've already developed service and
sales skills and you know how to
actually show care to the people and
actually serve your market and actually
any of these business people that are
teaching like how to actually start an
online business and like get into a
market and establish yourself what
they're saying is they're saying serve
them like like actually find out what
they need and be extremely giving to
them and you already know how to do that
like really really well your that's like
a second nature to you if you are a
hospitality person so um so I would say
like start exploring that I couldn't
exactly say where I don't know what you
do and what you love and what you're
passionate about it could even be
something food and beverage oriented who
knows but whatever that is whatever that
threat is that really kind of lights you
up just start pulling on it and and
seeing what where it leads you and and
you'll find that you don't need to be
Gary Vaynerchuk to start an online
business you do you just like literally
just start clicking and you'll be amazed
at how how easy it is to actually
actualize this so this is incredible
this actually wasn't the direction that
I thought that it would go into but it's
a it's inspiring because it's real and
you know and I think actually something
that could be composed sooner rather
than later
is as like a guide a guidebook for the
service industry exit you know here's
some some talking points for your resume
I mean how intimidating it must be if
you have an entire career of hospitality
and and now I've got to make a resume
for a sales job I've never done before
that could be a very useful you know
guidebook to have some resume templates
and and all those points that you gave
Adam that was great I mean that that was
a great resume right there what you just
listed off and pretty much any server
could use those points yeah I think I
think I put that together so I'll take
all the transcript of what was just said
here and kind of make maybe like a two
or three page you know guidebook that
all posts online i know ii that's
something that your listeners would be
interested in having access to something
like that
quite possibly
quite possibly yeah um yeah I think um I
think it can be tremendously
intimidating cuz you're I think you're
you're confronted you're confronted with
capability performance and like value in
yourself when you don't have service
work suddenly and you have to jump into
something else and I think that's true
for anyone making a career change
there's tremendous self doubt and so
tools like this I think would be like
really really helpful along with of
course practices and whatnot to carry
you through it that's my specialty
but I'm yeah the more um the more you
can give someone to feel like they're
armed better cuz I don't feel like
people are they're so vulnerable like
they're not armed there are a lot of
basic things that I think people in the
service industry are that there are a
lot of basic things that professionals
do that people in the service industry
just don't are completely unfamiliar
with doing like the first thing that's
coming to mind is like they're not a lot
of people in the service industry who
make use of LinkedIn and and it's just
it's a very basically build a LinkedIn
profile yet get connected with some
people online and and that's like a
very useful tool for for like working
professionals to find other
opportunities to work and so many people
who are just in the in the bartending
and serving world they don't even have a
LinkedIn account yes so it's like things
like that like in that yeah I mean in
this guide if you were to put together
something like that at least like
they're they're just like easy hacks
that I think could arm many of these
service professionals to to make a
transition that they they don't even
think about yeah because yeah I think of
all careers in all industries that one
is the most at risk right now because of
pandemic of and maybe things will
recover and those jobs will be recovered
over time but I don't think so too
because it was really oversaturated that
was something that was agreed upon even
before pandemic was that you know the
the restaurant industry was
oversaturated and there was there'll be
a kollene anyway now it's just gonna be
more extreme and I've always been
thinking about in the perspective of
like how how could we empower these
newly unemployed people you know to
continue working in food service and
serving food many of them will and many
of them may become entrepreneurial and
may figure out a way you know and that's
that's where I get really enthusiastic
about like street food and like really
like low overhead high value food
experiences but another big portion of
you know that that new community of
unemployed people is new careers new
pathways and and yeah there's a
challenge there of taking that on so
yeah I appreciate you guys taking the
conversation in that direction because I
wasn't I had never even thought about
that perspective but that one's like
probably even more important and more
urgent to address than kind of this pipe
dream that I have that you know people
in hospitality could find other more
little risk ways of continuing their
career and food yeah without having to
drive an uber but do that if you have to
you know yeah
just get
by and honor that fear and actually I
want to go back to I want to go back to
what you were saying
Adam about kind of looking at like when
you look at like the the tip line and
you're like you're struck by like oh and
you're like you know immediately
represent 'fl and feeling hon rewarded I
think that is something to honor you
know and just say like you know let's
just honor this fact that I need to feel
secure and that I can get by you know
and and that I can support myself and
everyone has these really fundamental
needs in life and there is an
opportunity though to go farther than
that and run away into like total
anxiety and paranoia and you know
potentially like starving to death and
before and I thought that was fake like
before I thought like someone doesn't
get tipped well there's this basic like
like mammalian thing where like you're
just you're getting like you're you're
some of the carcass pulled away from you
right it's like oh I'm not can't heat
well you'll still get by ultimately but
now we're in a legitimate place where we
can't get by and maybe you're feeling a
lot of you and I still think that this
fear is a lot more real and honoring it
and kind of bringing awareness to it and
just say like yeah you know I'm I'm a
human and I have this need to survive I
think is important to just first start
with accepting of that and you can then
build from there and begin to look at
your options because once we get
uncomfortable we tend to like not want
to like look at why we're uncomfortable
and just kind of like maybe do something
to make us feel better but I think right
now it's important to really just feel
feel this fear and anxiety and and kind
of move into it as a way that can
potentially push us into new
possibilities rather than just kind of
freeze us in place because some people
are freezing in place and I've heard
this happening they're just like I just
I don't want to feel this I'm just good
play video games all day no no like go
go go towards go towards this fear and
anger and see where I can say yeah well
because you have the unemployment bonus
is going to be ending relatively soon
with end of July as of right now it
might get extended which would be nice
but even with an extension there is
going to be an end to it at some point
and yeah I I'm seeing a lot of my
friends I know I don't understand it I'm
like even with the tea business right so
my tea business pretty much just dropped
epic singing this pandemic and it really
hasn't picked up and so like I've taken
it as a sign that I've got to work extra
hard to like innovate and create new
things like that's why I'm doing things
like this you know you know to keep
myself relevant to keep myself connected
and and you know to keep things going
but I have some friends that are just
completely comfortable with with not
doing anything and not worrying about it
I would be so worried not just about the
money but just about you know the future
and my energy investments and the value
you know maybe you can't create value
right now but you intentionally create
value and manifest that value to be
created so yeah I want to encourage
people and inspire people to want to do
that and not just rely on well my job
will come back with this pandemics over
and I'll go back and it's like yeah well
maybe there would be less jobs gonna be
more competition for them they're gonna
be paid less so I heard that's one thing
that's happening is the people going
back to kitchens now are actually
getting paid less and the shots are
telling them all right will you accept
this or don't hire someone else and so
that's that's why there is kind of a you
know work force issue in restaurants
right now even at you know not full
opening yeah I just like want to see
people with dignity
you know be in the restaurant industry
or not you know how ever they they
pursue their life yeah chefs are really
I mean I don't have like it's not my
realm of expertise but I know that chefs
really you have always been getting
screwed I mean the amount that they work
for that for that kind of money is just
it's criminal actually but you know
they're they're kind of following a
carrot of like professional growth and
to potentially have in their own kitchen
but like but with
they have to crawl through is
unbelievable and now in this industry
like you know if a restaurant doesn't
pay you the clientele will but like have
a rest if you're a chef the restaurant
doesn't pay you you are screwed in a way
yeah so um so yeah it's I feel for chefs
and in anybody anybody really um I think
it's really I think it's it's also good
I I'm hesitating to use that word a
constructive a valuable time to reflect
you because service will do nothing but
complain about their jobs and act like
bits like they're imprisoned in them I
call it obligation consciousness it's
like you obligation mentality you
actually like you feel like you're
chained to it like you have no other
options when in fact you have infinite
options this is just simply the choice
you made based on the consequences you
foresaw and but everyone's like no I
have to to get by I have another choice
and I hate it it sucks and now no
they're out of work they're kind of like
sad and it's like why you hated your job
no it's gone be happy it I mean the
paradox you're describing is on a more
micro level if you're working a server
job day in and day out is there's always
at least one usually more people on a
given shift who they I'm trying to
remember that exact way to describe this
they it's such a drag to come in they
want to get done within and they are
they want to be the first one to get cut
to go home with their shit but then
they're constantly complaining about how
little money they have yeah and and then
and it's like you know you you get a
shift you need the money you should want
to stay there as long as you possibly
can and rake in as much cash as you
possibly can
you don't want to be the first one to go
home this you're gonna make less money
if you're the first one to go home it's
very common among servers they don't
want but many of them they just don't
want to be there they want to work as
few hours as possible but the
they show they know but they show up
they're wanting to make as much money as
it's this dichotomy I want to make I
need money I want to make as much money
as possible but I don't want to be here
yeah so now when you remove the
opportunity to work entirely it can can
certainly bring a certain amount of
gratitude and appreciation that it would
that's a good place to start
you know like okay so I can now be
grateful to work and I can now be
grateful for these opportunity not be
resentful of them cuz that's utterly
pointless to be resentful of any
situation you're in I mean that's the
situation you're in claim it own it see
what you can do with it to make it your
own and and so now people are in a
situation that you know they they do
have to claim an ohm or they're not
gonna get by and so this is really good
territory and I'm feeling the same
pressure I have to I have to monetize
more than because before hospitality was
there as a very cozy little subsidy to
everything I was doing I can certainly
do a lot of giving away of of work and
and contents and monetize in an industry
that doesn't exist now but um so there's
you know this this pressure is this
pressure is potentially valuable so um
yeah it's that willingness to to to just
go at least on the other side of
resenting it like resenting the
situation go go into like go into
something else into more like readiness
and acceptance of it cool well hey guys
we've been we've been going at it for
two hours now I think we've we've had a
very productive conversation
I truly appreciate Stefan thank you so
much for coming on and I'm gonna
continue to share the link to your
podcast make sure that people listen to
it as well as like are aware of your
services you know so as this
conversation does start to formalize and
and and in restaurants and service
providers are truly seeking out help you
know you're gonna be the first person
that I'm gonna recommend for them to
engage with because
you know all the points that you speak
on I know they don't come from the same
intention of like why I'm speaking on
them but they're so parallel with each
other you know like bringing dignity and
finding your own mindfulness and your
own purpose are like hand-in-hand you
know so I just yeah and Adam thank you
so much for always bringing such good
good insight and personal experience and
stories with this conversation course
yeah yeah so I do these talks on Mondays
I took last Monday off because I was you
know I did a little vacation I finally
did it you know I've done over a hundred
of these videos so I needed a little
vacation good for you yeah we can't be I
went to the mountains which actually
we're on fire yesterday so I'm glad I
got that out of the way but yeah every
Monday I do these 2 p.m. Pacific and if
you guys have any ideas of other voices
or perspectives to bring into this
I'd love to love to hear from you yes
Stefan Rock City are sure you're linked
do you want to give any other contact
details or information before we sign
out well you said you send a link to the
home page yeah great email me as well
should I just put my email in here
yeah well yeah go ahead and then I'll
put it into the I'll put it in even only
to and I'm just like I like hearing from
people in kind of what they're
struggling with and just generally
connecting so you can also write me
anytime any questions you have that's a
good way to find me and I have been
nurturing my LinkedIn profile so I think
who I am mostly yeah you if you're
running an online work that you're doing
I would be very surprised if you weren't
there's been a wonderful source of
opportunities and usually social media
is a hustle and a grind and in fact
amazed at what it's yielded from you
know just come in it's showing up a
little bit not like not really working
at that hard it's been really linked ins
a really great place to be
mm-hm cool so and that's just through
your name on LinkedIn
awesome yeah everybody can see your name
on your video so yeah Adam any any final
remarks you want to throw in I love your
shirt this one yes it's yeah it's a very
sophisticated mr. t yeah except for he's
drinking he's drinking a tea bag I'm so
ashamed of that I wish I could like you
know I I don't think that has anything
specific to add at the moment I pleasure
to meet you Stephanie I'll probably
reach out to on LinkedIn really really
enjoy talking to you me as well thanks
yeah look here for me I'd love to
connect more yeah
TPB night alright guys have a great rest
of your week and I'll see you soon
all right

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published