Monday, May 25, 2020 - Dignified Hospitality

Video Subtitles:

you're on one of the best restaurants in
Las Vegas of course there's treats right
hi everybody
happy Monday seal them
so far it's just you guys yeah we'll see
people started popular and I just I just
started it so this is fresh fresh yeah
yeah we got a we got a three for one
deal with you guys that's good that's
really good sorry she says really loud
that's okay we show me yes I would like
a pineapple cake but how do i acquire a
pineapple cake is this going to be a
digital a digital pineapple cake no I'm
not my office oh thank you Betty that's
sleep I can I can kind of taste it from
here oh great good I'm glad that you
guys enjoyed that experience dirty and
good go to go get some some nice
Taiwanese comfort food Jenny is sharing
all of her treats that's you know that's
very much like her
what is those that's another tea set you
got is that gold
oh nice
is it like porcelain I don't know yet
yeah I don't know yet I'm just gonna get
started you have the purpose of today's
session is to talk about something very
specific and you know it's good that you
guys are all here all right I'm meeting
you guys you guys have too much of a
party going on over there but I think
what I'm gonna do Oh someone wants to
come in maybe it's Joe is this Joe hi
hello welcome hey what's up man hey
thanks for making it in cool you're here
yeah yeah yeah no problem we got a lot
of awesome Vegas foodies here this is
great yeah
IIIi mute i muted the other the other
the other party there because they're
they're having a lot of fun they're
eating eating and sharing with each
other you know Jenny and Sheridan with
right now they're also I think she's
trying to show us her food make us
envious they just recently like before
this whole pandemic they opened up like
a quaint lunch spot called every grain
on Charleston and Marilyn okay yeah
really great food
yeah it's near you are you still living
over there and like hundred area yeah
cool yeah you should definitely go check
it out you could probably even just walk
over there it's over near the hundred
theater oh yeah yeah okay yeah they do
like Taiwanese comfort food lunch food
but have a couple of food people there
that are that are hanging out oh now
their camera went out you know because I
invited Jenny to come because I thought
it'd be good to you know cuz I know
these are all like kind of subjects that
Jenny has been dealing with with fat
choice so they also own fat choy and
Eureka Casino got it okay Sheridan yes
yeah sure sure it is okay yeah so dinner
I know loosely I met him once or twice
and run in the same circles and stuff
but yeah yeah yeah so you know that's
something that Jenny and I have been
kind of staying in touch while this this
whole thing is going on and she's been
doing a lot of numbers crunching and
re-evaluating the menu and I'm sure
there's so many factors that keep adding
on now but even from day one she was
already considering you know the revamp
right that is really important note here
Sheridan let me unmute them now I can't
immutably meted themselves hi chef I
think they can still hear us
hi Chad yeah well you know kind of you
guys you guys definitely came rolling
for sure oh it's alright
are you guys like just information for
the public are you guys open again are
you guys offering you know pickup orders
are you doing dine-in what's the what's
the situation Jenny maybe when they're
ready they'll come they'll come back and
tell us
so yeah Jeffrey I've just been like this
has like been a topic that I have been
talking about and it's really just been
kind of an informal conversation but
over the past week I've just been
reading these like really heartbreaking
articles about rights you know chefs
coming up so I just have three here
three major chefs so we have Eleven
Madison Park Daniel humm in New York one
of the top restaurants in the world he's
publicly come out and said he's not
opening again at least as as how he was
running before now he's actually running
his kitchen like a soup kitchen for the
community which is kind of a whoa yeah
and and then today this morning I read
an article about a very prominent
restaurateur in Portland David Machado
he's permanently closing all of his
properties not just one you know a lot
of restaurant wars are like saying
they're gonna like close a few of their
spots and and try to work out the other
ones but you know now people are
straight up saying no I'm not opening
and there's some pretty impressionable
comments here in this article this was
just in the Portland eater magazine he
says there's no pathway back to a viable
business and there's going to be an
increased labor because of all the
safety sanitation preparation moving
ables and chairs opening duties closing
duties hosting everything's gonna change
it'll require more labor but we
anticipate revenue going down 50 to 70
percent you know so it's like these are
realities right yeah and oh yeah and
this one last one the the first one to
come out the most prominent one was
Gabrielle Hamilton with in New York City
she wrote that very eloquent and
beautiful article titled my restaurant
was my life for 20 years does the world
need it anymore so yeah it's time that
we like you know we don't need to stop
having these conversations but I you
know I'm always like a big fan of like
putting a positive twist and and and
trying to like see the bright side of it
and use this opportunity to talk about
how was the industry prior to pandemic
and how can we move it you know to a
progressive future after the pandemic
right mm-hmm yeah it's a yeah it's been
it's been interesting a just crazy we we
pretty much stopped going out completely
for food I mean we would we had kind of
a routine in a budget personally in our
house and we would go out for sushi once
a month and then Baha Mar tacos once a
month those were like our - okay we're
gonna eat out the rest of the time we're
gonna you know eat at home and this was
prior this is prior to pandemic prior it
was about yeah we had been we kind of
changed our eating habits about two
months prior other before that we went
out pretty regularly but now we I mean
we haven't we haven't eaten at a
restaurant outside of actually at all in
two months
pretty much yeah so that's a that's a
huge change for us and I haven't you
know our restaurant I was working at hex
at the Paris bartending over there
and it went from you know one week one
weekend being one of the busiest
weekend's we'd had on record and really
looking towards a few months that were
gonna be just insane due within two
weeks shutting down and laying everybody
off so and I haven't heard anything yet
and I spoke to one of my managers a
couple weeks before May the end of April
and she was saying you know maybe May
first we might start to reopen but I
told her I'm like I'm not holding my
breath but you know mm-hmm and I haven't
heard anything since so yeah we're just
kind of it's it's gonna be interesting
to see what comes back what the policies
are gonna be cuz I mean I was so I got
an email recently from servsafe are you
familiar with servsafe yes okay so last
year I took part in the service a
manager's training so now I get updates
from them and they sent out their
recommendations for reopening
restaurants and hospitality and some of
the stuff that you know was in that
document it was hard to imagine how it
was gonna work you know how that yeah
how to make those those changes work so
it's yeah and they're important changes
not something to be taken lightly not
like just because of the science itself
of the safety but also the marketing and
kind of like the consumer perspective
you know because people are skeptical
that it's safe to be socializing and
it's just weird I mean I'm not really
afraid of the things myself right but
like as I started to like dabble and
socializing it just feels weird like
there's this weird psychology going on
so from a marketing perspective I think
it is really smart for a restaurant to
be super proactive to to build that
and ease with the consumer feeling like
it is safe yeah absolutely and I mean
that that it was important before but I
mean you know it seems like prior to
this I mean we had we had a health
inspector that was kind of baked into
the restaurant group so she worked for
the Health District for many years and
then the restaurant company was you know
brought her on to do kind of oversee all
of the health regulations between their
restaurants and she was awesome but
every time she's behind the bar or in
the restaurant you know it's just all
groaning and all complaining and you
know it's it was it was already hard to
find a balance between really busy
service and some of those health
standards like washing your hands after
you touch money every single time
washing your hands after you touch a
card picking up dirty glassware all of
those things that come with just basic
bar service even yeah and to keep up
with the volume that we were dealing
with like pre-pandemic that was already
definitely a challenge to try and to try
and balance those things so to imagine
people taking those parts of it more
seriously I imagine that people will
have to I mean you have to get used to
longer waits for things because hey bye
guys Jenny and Jason you know I I do
honestly want you guys a part of this
conversation this is a very serious
conversation but hopefully maybe it's
like I plan on doing this series every
week so hopefully I can I can peg down
Jenny to give us you know a little bit
of perspective of what they're doing
as a business owner right so lecture I
was thinking it was really cool to start
this conversation with operators like
with staff and operators to show their
perspective and then evolve to a point
where where the actual owners and
managers are part of the conversation
because their viewpoints are very
different very yeah right and the
viewpoint I feel from like the managers
and the owners at least what's
communicated through the press and and
through the stories that we read and
what we hear of their social media or
whatever is that like their top priority
is getting their staff employed right
which is great you know but I think it's
also important to involve the staff in
that conversation of like do they want
to be employed yeah are they happy with
how things are working pre-pandemic
and then also post pandemic you know
because a lot of service staff are
starting to go back to work yeah the
past week week and a half you know a lot
have started going back to work and I've
talked to a few unfortunately they're
working right now so they can't come on
here and talk but yeah kind of the the
viewpoint that I'm getting from them is
that it's worse than it was before
specifically around the toxic
environment issue because the owners and
the managers are working around the
clock like crazy to figure all this
stuff out that you're just talking about
and then once the staff gets involved
there's anxiety there's you know just
kind of that toxic relationship so so
far what I've heard from my friends that
are working in service is that the
patrons are great that like people are
really just grateful
to be out dining and being served and
they're tipping really well so like that
was a little bit of my concern as we
started opening up was like yeah how are
the tips gonna work cuz now in order to
make it work for the service staff to
actually make a good living like we need
to be tipping like at least 40 percent
now to make it work for them right cuz
they're at limited capacities and they
have less customers less tips so it
needs to be more and so far what I've
heard from my friends of course it's not
like the biggest pool of data but you
know just limited anecdotal evidence
that patrons have been very patient
they've been very nice and kind and
tipping well the issue is more so with
the organisation and kind of the anxiety
that's there um
so getting mindful of that you know if
you're you're in a rush to like reopen
so that you can employ your staff and
then you're just like throwing them into
this like aggressive angry environment
you know you're not really doing them
good right and and I've and I know
somebody that's gone back to work and
basically the entire kitchen staff that
was previously employed were offered
their jobs back but at a lower rate than
they were getting paid and that was the
only option and they said well we can't
live on that and the owner was like yeah
sorry and hired a whole new staff yeah
at though at the rate that he was
willing to pay so you have that element
to where you know you've got it's it's
hard to and my my employer kind of said
something similar not not in that kind
of coal and not so cold but just like I
don't know that we'll be able to bring
you back at the same rate that you were
at but I do want you to be part of the
opening staff so you know that that's
that was that's a conversation that we
would have upon reopening and whatnot
but yeah yeah you're right there is that
you know do you want to come back to
work and if you do get back and the
environment is not it's
not just the toxicity of relationships
but its us standards you know if you
don't feel safe being at work you know
what are your options either get fired
or quit and then not be able to apply
for assistance again or you know
everybody's kind of in a vulnerable
position yeah yeah oh that was something
else that my friends have said I'm
making more money on unemployment right
now than I've ever made in my entire
time working in service and there is
like a finite into that assistance it's
not like oh yeah it'll just you know
fuck it forever
right but you know there's at least
another four months or you know three
four months left to give people time to
think about it and and to figure it out
so it you know I think some of this like
hurry to open up for the sake of the
economy is not that's not authentic it's
it's kind of an ego thing you know for
for the owners to fill that need to open
up and and you know they are offering a
service to the community people do
legitimately want to dine out and
obviously they're appreciating that you
know by being kind and in patients and
and tipping well so that's good like
that yeah I'm really good that the
public is supporting the industry in
that way but you know this is ultimately
about the workers and that's why they're
already saying it's about the workers we
got to get them back to work we got and
and you know like I just kind of wanted
to first lay out what what was the
status quo going in I've never
personally worked and serviced myself
ever the only thing I've ever done is
uber driving that's the closest thing
I've done to to working in any kind of
service position never worked in a
restaurant I've worked in the food
industry but not not a restaurant so you
know I'm not really in a position to say
these things which is why I wanted to
open this platform up you know and and
in the Articles you know those three
those three chefs that have been you
know kind of making headlines with with
their statements
that that is a recurring theme that the
service industry is based on tips and
not like a dignified you know living and
and dignified I don't mean that as like
money like it automatically means that
you got to make more money it's the same
conversation I have about the tea farm
workers too it's not a matter of money
it's its autonomy it's an independence
it's like an empowerment position
because you know if you're a server even
if you're making good money on your tips
or whatever like are you is that
position inherently you know mobilizing
position that like is is built to you
know elevate your skill set and elevate
your your position within the industry
so that's that's a dignifying factor
right right yeah and yeah what's your
take on that like generally you can you
can generalize as much as you want I
think I think in general it's I think it
really depends on on that work culture
like I have talked to two servers and
bartenders who are in positions where or
pre-pandemic where they were you know
they were acknowledged for the
professionalism that they that they
presented you know it was clear that
they had a passion for food and and it
yes they would I feel like there are
places that really hold those things as
valuable and it shows in you know how
long those companies keep their
employees and like turnover and stuff
but it I think it really depends on the
place that you're at there there are
places where you know you can be really
devoted and professional but that
doesn't mean that you're ever gonna see
a raise
you know it's just gonna be you know a
good job glad to have you
kind of place you know it's your you're
replaceable so I think pre-pandemic I've
seen both sides of it I've seen places
that really value their employees and
and give them that sense of belonging
and also have like a roadmap like if you
want to do more you know there's more
here for you and we want to assist you
in that if you're good with where you're
at and we want to just like you know in
rich and rich that aspect of it is that
kind of what you were exactly that was
exactly I'm saying so it's good to hear
that there were positive models yeah
yeah yeah I think again I think it a big
part of it is who you're working for and
unfortunately I don't I don't think that
there's a nut there has ever been enough
of it and it does come down to I think
from a managing perspective having to
juggle human relationships with kind of
bottom lines and I don't think that I
think managing well is really hard to do
and the people that get it right I think
are on the same page with the owners and
know how to translate the bottom line
and the value of their workers and they
can they can make that that transition
in that tie you know yeah but there's I
think that that's I see I've seen it
work and I've seen it really not work
and the the ones that don't work there
they may be trying to make it work but
they haven't figured it out and they're
always going to err on the side of
caution for their position and so
whatever the owner or the the bottom
line is is always gonna be at the end of
the day what's going to save them from
getting fired so they're gonna air tour
that in my my experience anyway yeah
okay so yeah you're you're giving me
lots of good ideas so you know perhaps
offline outside of this conversation
unless you want to you know to say now
it would be great if you could give me
some examples of those positive bottles
so you know actually have like a
baseline to work off of
so yeah offline maybe I'll message you
and and ask you to give me a short list
of some of the examples of that are that
positive model because I'd like to know
like what was their their human
resources position what was their
product and their value offering and how
did their employees work within that you
know cuz there are some other models
that were like relatively new maybe like
two three years old in San Francisco
mostly in the Bay Area was like where a
lot of this was getting played around
with was you know models where all the
employees were being paid like
respectable salaries there were no
tipping so late you know that
respectable pay and lifestyle was built
into the business model you know there's
been that that's been a major theme that
people keep talking about is how can we
evolve away from the culture of tipping
and just like let the the value package
be in the product that's being offered
to the customer versus letting the
server spend for themselves but then
things like health insurance you know I
know that that's another hot button in
the service industry you know an
argument of oh there was even a
restaurant that was like transparently
communicating a premium on the check oh
yeah to say this is going towards health
insurance which is is one solution you
know I don't know if there's enough data
to like be able to definitively say this
works or doesn't work sure you know and
in this manifesto that I'm hoping to you
know compile here through all these
conversations does it mean there's like
one solution fits all
but it's like just the overarching
concepts of empowerment and and like I
said the word dignity because like with
the the thing with the t farmworkers
that you know everybody's always asking
me about that like Fairtrade wages and
that's such a hard conversation to be
had because every community is different
every person is different so you know to
say some dollar amount per hour wage is
the right one restless that's something
that maybe could be left up to each
business and each you know employee
within that business but dignity is
something that could be you know applied
across the board and so what does
dignity look for look like you know in
the restaurant industry and that's not
just for the servers you know I think
that extends you know to the the supply
chain of the ingredients you're working
with so something something else that I
draw upon to in this conversation is
that this was the 2014 so this is well
back I was at this tea conference this
international tea conference and there
was an NGO like a non-profit economic
analyst group that was talking about the
Sri Lankan tea industry so it was like
specific to the show aankhen industry
which is completely unsustainable they
had found that this was 2014 that for
every kilo of tea that was sold into
market like from the producer
there was a 25 cent per kilo loss so
that bottom line you're talking about is
working in that way and so the
government is subsidizing it like
they're just trying to figure out how to
how to keep it flowing and so this
economic group was hired to figure out
you know do all the modeling to figure
out what would you know the commodity
market price increase have to look like
to make these things work out so and
then also factoring in the dignity part
for the workers and everybody along for
the commodity this is commodities so
this is not you know applying across the
board but this is like Walmart products
you know commodity products would
require eight-time price increase Wow to
make it work out you know so yeah so we
gotta think about this in the
restaurants you know contexts what kind
of price increase would need to be
necessary to fix that bottom line issue
that you're talking about to allow the
OP the the managers and the owners to
make the right decisions they probably
want to make the right the bottom line
is is pushing them from making yeah well
and it's interesting too because right
before it maybe six months before this
we had a conversation at the restaurant
about minimum wage going up which during
the conversation was okay minimum wage
is gonna go up up to twelve dollars an
hour in it takes effect in two years so
this month you'll be seeing a price
change on the menu and that's because we
have to give you more money so if
customers you know you'll notice at
least a dollar more on every item so two
years in advance of this minimum wage
there was a discussion like ok next week
you're gonna see the changes and I'm I
can't help but be a little bit I'm like
a little bit cynical sometimes in those
situations so I kept thinking to myself
way every because we talked about it
during pre shifts before before service
you know for a good week and a half and
every time it was being said I couldn't
help but hear it's gonna cost more for
food and it's your fault and and even
though they weren't really framing it
that way ultimately that's what it came
down to is like it's gonna cost these
people more money and it's your fault
because you want or the people the
government wants to give you more money
as a base pay yeah well so in you know
like I'm sure that they didn't want to
give you that feeling but that's just
rice you know what they're out the
so and in this conversation that you're
talking about is like a dollar increase
on on on plates that are you know let's
say twenty dollars so that's a five
percent increase right this commodity
increase price and I told you eight
times more that's eight hundred percent
increase I don't think that that
increase is as big for you know luxury
you're like fine fine quality you know
experience or products like you know
where you were working but um maybe
twice maybe twice as much that's what
I'm like Rhonda anywhere between two and
three times that's like my intuition of
what I'm feeling would be need to be the
price increase to make things work out
yeah hi Adam at least you get everything
situated it seems that way good minute
there thank you for the patience and
then and then that and then you both
froze so I rejoined okay cool so I think
I think we're all good yeah Jeffrey this
is Adam Adam Jeffrey hey Adam I do it a
really great bartender that's the term
now right bartender is that good term
okay right but yeah bartender is still
still probably the most common term yet
well for a little while there and it's
kind of off subject but for a little
while there in like 2012-2013 I remember
there was some stigma you know around
the term bartender that it was kind of
you know we're we're elevated from that
not to say that you ever gave me that
speech Jeffries and I heard it others
and so I got into the habit of saying
you know mixologist and then that became
passe and and then you know what was the
the late the latest one when I went to
Chicago I've got a friend but then and
then he was like no it's just bartender
we're back to bartender now so all right
but yeah Jeffrey is a really great
bartender here in Vegas and we met
because he was working on some very cool
tea cocktails
yeah here in town and and an atom is uh
has a long experience and in hospitality
as a wine sob and but he also has a
strong passion and experience and tea
yeah yeah and we were just talking about
ya employees like the product profit
margins and minimum wage and all of them
and and I also had told him that this
morning I came across a new article in
the Portland Eater from a restaurant
where they're named David Machado that
made a big public statement about
closing all of his restaurants
importantly I think he's got five very
poor and their restaurants there yeah
that's I mean just reading article
coming across headlines and articles
like that it's sobering to me I mean
it's it's kind of like you know it's
gonna happen to certain people but when
it hits it when I see when I see it
happen to summer some of the ones to
whom I see it happen to might see it
happen that it's I don't know sometimes
I'm taken aback
I don't know anything about this person
but when if they're successful enough to
run five restaurants in Portland then
the you tend to think they're doing
something right and that hopefully they
can keep one or two of them open yeah
yeah I didn't quote this earlier but
I'll quote it now he says
he's not feeling optimistic about the
future of Portland's restaurant scene as
a whole
due to the pandemic he says I think more
of what I'm telling you is going to
happen in the next 30 days it has the
potential to wipe out the owner/operator
class the mom-and-pop independent place
is owned by one or two people all the
business has grown from passion and
creativity it leaves the corporation's
the highly capitalized with more space
Portland is built on the entrepreneurial
spirit it's what's made this city great
and you know I think a lot of those same
sentiments apply to here in Las Vegas as
well um if I may add kind of hot take on
that I think Portland on as much as I
love Portland and I love most I think
they have a very very fun and intriguing
and in many ways innovative food scene I
think Portland there's a lot broke out
right when he got to the climax of was
gonna say oh that's a bummer that's
technology well let him jump back in add
a me back can you hear me yeah you're
back now so yeah you you are about to
climax on your Portland it was yeah the
last part of what you were gonna say you
think Portland and what well know right
before that what did you hear me say um
that you know you like it but you think
Portland yeah I think there's a lot I
think in the Portlandia series there's a
lot in there that's very accurate and I
think Portland as as much as I like it
and I think it has an interesting and
innovative event and fun food scene I do
think it is kind of saturated and it's
kind of a caricature of itself become a
caricature of itself and
and can be kind of pretentious and I do
I I think there's a degree to it but
what he quoted is accurate and I do
think a lot of restaurants are going to
end up not making it through but it's
kind of like put it this way so this is
an analogy that someone gave me years
ago when there were what in the middle
of wildfire season he says like you know
sometimes the wildfires are kind of out
of control and there are too much of
them but at the end of the day wildfires
are a natural thing and the way in which
human beings continue to settle closer
and closer and within areas that could
be prone to wildfires coupled with
climate change that's just putting them
more at risk so if you if you're
encroaching on an area that's it's
natural for some of the forests to burn
down every year yeah so if you've got
Portland's which has too many
restaurants at a certain point they're
now whether they're all gonna die at
once or they're all going to die in or X
number of them are gonna die in course
of two years is kind of an open question
but yeah III mean I don't I think
there's an extent to which my impression
is that the restaurant scene in Portland
did not seem entirely sustainable
pandemic or no pandemic yeah that thing
the pandemic if your business is not
sustainable in the long term than the
pandemics going to make it not less
sustainable the short yeah oh you're
you're absolutely right but I think that
this is not an isolated case it to just
Portland I mean in Vegas for sure is
like that you know an oversaturation and
also a dependency
on outside market to support that which
we're not gonna be seeing that outside
market for a while like the tourism is
gonna be slow for maybe a couple of
years now yeah I just think he what he's
saying about killing the the
owner/operator class I don't think it's
killing the owner and operator class I
think the owner and operator class is
being forced to reassess how they do
business now that's just fine
I I do think some of what you like I was
almost going to jump in like when I
joined the meeting of saying something's
an effective but you know increasing
prices on the menu is only one thing
there has to be like an approach from
all sides in terms of how what will make
the businesses more sustainable and
something that is beyond and to with his
point some of that is beyond the control
of the owners and operators some of that
there really needs to be support from
the general public and and support from
the the system a more systemic
institutional support that will help the
restaurant and food industry thrive I
mean for exact
you know you you mentioned in passing
like the supply chain like farmers are
operating on just as much if not more of
a should like independent farmers who
many of these owner/operator restaurants
especially in Portland are trying to
leverage and support they're operating
on just as much if not more of a
shoestring than the restaurants are and
that is I think also a travesty inmate
and if they have additional support then
that that can allow them to like work be
able to work with the restaurants in a
way that it's that you know that they
have that the margins are more workable
on both sides
yeah ya know it's a very systemic thing
and it it's the consumer culture then
that's the basis of that is the culture
of that is the system that that's
working with so you know I'm a strong
believer that and you know Jeffrey the
fact that you guys had even before
pandemic had only gone to dine once a
month you know at your favorite places
is an example of that like you guys
really value to that experience and you
know even if the prices of that
experience gone up three times you guys
would probably still practice that
monthly ritual to go and appreciate that
value majority of the consumer market is
not valuing that it's a commodity thing
like dining out even if it's a fancy
restaurant is very like passive
commodity type of experience that
they're gonna be having you know five to
ten times a week you know yeah so yeah
how do we how do we increase the
perceived value and appreciation of the
hospitality experience that's that's the
the not the million dollar question
that's the billion dollars we are not
the the u.s. is not is not a culture
that values our food in the way that say
with the exception of um you know if you
follow me on instagram you'll see the
posts that i posted today kind of at my
my take on Memorial Day I made a cajun
chicken and sausage jambalaya today like
I say with the exception of Louisiana we
are not a country that values food in
the way that say that say France does or
Peru does or I could name many other
countries around the world where their
perspective on food and the consumption
of food and sharing of food
is very different than here and until
the seeds are growing in people's mind
in a way that they are valuing it where
they're really thinking about the dollar
where they're thinking that they're not
thinking about the dollar value but they
aren't thinking about a much deeper
intrinsic inherent value that justifies
any dollar value yeah I don't I don't I
mean I don't know the pandemic could be
planting those seeds it could be but I I
had sight
what's your cynical eye well I think you
I think you're right it's it's it's that
you my I've been talking with a good
friend of mine and we've been discussing
like okay how has our perspective
changed on the day to day whether it's
going out to eat socializing at the bar
meeting up for coffee in the morning for
a meeting whatever it is for for me like
I remember I love to get away and if I
could you know go and sit and read at a
coffee shop or work on my laptop or
whatever I think that was a valuable
experience and taking it away it becomes
even more valuable and those social
interactions you know you start to
realize how important they are and I
don't think everybody's thinking of it
that way I but I think that it's I think
that's the experience of having to be
away from those things is at least
cementing the people who did value it
before into valuing it even more so and
solidifying and then hopefully waking
some people up to realize like wow like
I totally took this for grant
and you know not just in in that food
industry hopefully in all of our aspects
of life but importantly that social
aspect and there's always gonna be just
you know there's always gonna be an
element that is you know mindlessly
consuming and that's not awake I I've
been there I know people that have been
there and you know it's just you just
hope that the pendulum swings in the
direction of more people caring and more
people being ready for that and if
that's the case then you have to have
the businesses on the same page and be
ready to give those people the kind of
experience that they're gonna think that
they've been looking for yeah a lot of a
lot of you know hopefully you know you
know it's like a good relationship like
meeting the right person at the right
time being on the same page as them you
don't find that all the time and when
you do find it it's special so I think
you know as far as this situation goes
hopefully a lot of people find things
it's impossible for us to force that
serendipity that you're talking about I
mean in our in our own small ways bye
sorry Jeff I was going to say in are
always by the kind of care that I assume
you take when you're when you're
preparing and serving cocktails and
spending time with your customers and
they kind of you know here during this
pandemic I'm taking another another wine
course further my credentials on that
side of things and a
the passion with the passion that we
bring to the work that we do and trying
to live these values that we believe in
this to me that's kind of the best that
we can do at this point of it perhaps
other than I think and it's not I'm not
saying I've been good about this but I
think the other side of it where we
could conceivably push the needle
further in a certain direction is by by
getting involved in various forms of
advocacy such as like volunteering and
petitioning for um for in group for
living wages for restaurant workers
abolishing as benefits for people in the
restaurant industry farmer subsidies
things like policy to act like getting
involved in advocacy for policy changes
that's where but in terms of but that
but that while it does occasionally
bring tangible change it doesn't speak
to the kind of spiritual cultural mental
changes that I think really are what's
necessary it's kind of like you know you
have to give another analogy I'm you
know you have the Civil Rights Act
passed in in the 1960s but and we had a
black president elected in 2008 but it
didn't eliminate racism didn't eliminate
the systemic problems we have with
racism in this country so it's a matter
like changing people's minds is is a
really is a profound challenge that I
can't it's hard for me to speak to how I
would have more than a small an impact
on that other than just living my
Dolly's yeah
so yeah you're just one person I'm just
one person Jeffrey's just one person and
so it may seem futile that that we as
individuals would have any kind of
influence on making this huge cultural
change but I think two million people I
forget the exact number of hospitality
employees exist in this country
you know to to create a movement for for
all those folks to and it would it be
hard all they have to do is share their
passion right isn't that what you said
you just share your passion and let
other people you know understand your
passion for that food or that product or
whatever that you you are passionate
about and and and that could be the
change you know in addition to that
advocacy which I wrote down you know
that's an important thing and you know I
think in another and another one of
these series we'll go deeper into that
like what would the actual policy change
need to look like to support this but
I'm just thinking about that figure
that's like New York numbers and and the
one guy's article the the guy from
Eleven Madison Park was something like a
750,000 service employees and predicted
that 70% of them are gonna be out of
work yep the problem here in spite of
these numbers Elise mm-hmm that
unilaterally across the board people who
are part of those statistics and people
who are outside of those statistics this
this perhaps speaks to the heart of the
matter do not view a career in food and
beverage for the most part as like real
work at best it's viewed as a stepping
stone it's viewed as a lifestyle it's
viewed as like work for lower-class
unskilled people okay you know it's
that's what's
the irony right now is that the people
in that world are considered essential
workers but they're still not treated as
essential workers and think at the end
of the day they and everyone else still
feel like this is not a career it's not
anything to do with career and that's
not how people think in France or Spain
or you know anywhere where food is taken
more seriously than it is here the like
working in food in some respect and very
easily can by and large be viewed as a
as like a serious career and I don't
think that's Jim that's the general
perception here yeah so that's that's
part of that dignity thing and that be
part of that work is it's not only
changing the public's perception of the
food dining experience and the value
behind that but also the people serving
you who are viewed as legitimate
professionals dignified legitimate
professionals because you're right yeah
and then how shitty is that you have
this job even if it's washing dishes and
you get you get stuck washing dishes for
15 years of your life that's a friggin
career is like and that's valuable work
that needed to be done but then that
entire 15 years of your life you're
feeling like lower than other people
yeah I can't I can't tell you how many
times like just just overall like I
wasn't always in the food and beverage
industry but throughout my life I've had
this persistent pressure to like to be
more too you know because I could
because I could write well and I love to
write I would see you know it was
instantly ingrained in me that I had to
be a novelist a poet that was nationally
recognized as a skateboarder you know I
had to be sponsored by a company I had
delay do that and if I didn't get a
sponsorship then I wasn't really a truce
later I think that you know impostor
syndrome that that idea that you're
never living up to your full potential
because you're settling is ingrained in
our culture and when I found when I
found bartending you know I was
surprised that I was as passionate as I
was about it I was surprised that I had
this interest in you know the history of
spirits and tasting it's it was all very
you know strange to me I'm like wow this
is really cool I didn't see this coming
but I really liked it and I'd really
settled into it and eventually it helped
me realize like you know what maybe this
is just comes with age or something but
at some point it's like you know what I
am a writer I am creative but that
doesn't mean that I have to be doing
that all of my time full-time to be
meeting my potential I'm engaging with
people over the bar I'm creating these
experiences and some of it is very
surface and some of it it's a lot deeper
but nonetheless like I I'm I'm being
fulfilled by it and I know people are
enjoying themselves and I had somebody a
few months back and this girl came in
she's like she's like so what do you
really wanted to do with your life I
mean you're like bartending but like
we're having this like cool converse
more than I like more than I like but
and that and it was like you know no I
really like this she's like yeah but you
just said you were a writer so like you
need to quit your job and go right and
I'm like you know what I used to believe
that I used to believe I had to drop
what I'm doing to succeed but so I think
I just I guess I'm just pointing out
like that I culturally we have this idea
that you know if you have these artistic
talents or you have these other things
that are kind of nagging at the back of
your mind like being in the food
industry is settling it's gonna get you
by but in actuality like you know being
hospitality and food industry can be
really rewarding and you have some
stability that allows for allows you to
pursue those other things that maybe you
wouldn't be able to pursue yeah and and
kind of jumping as a segue down to that
little last point that you made sort of
flip side of it is how did I want to
work this to some of those other you you
talked of how the being in the food
industry provides stability and in terms
of those other you know pursuits in the
arts and you're settling well I mean
some of these pursuits in the arts you
know we also have a problem with not
valuing those pursuits in this country
and you know to use acting as an example
of like 96% on people who are doing it
or artists writers in terms of being
able to have steady work which like it
generally is what people want to have
you it's not everyone is capable of
having that I mean there's notion of
having to to do to to do something else
to make money and somehow carve out a
little bit of free time to do something
that doesn't make any money that you
really live up to do full-time is
another you know a lot of a lot of the
people who are in this industry are in
it because they you know they're in a
they're in a thankless industry that
doesn't that where the money is
not stable compared to everything else
because what they really want to be
doing is even worse you're right you're
right yeah absolutely
absolutely yeah so yeah a lot of these
topics that we're going over in the
goals of this manifesto that I want to
put together are things that could be
applied of course to other things
exactly what you're talking about arts
especially because yeah that's a that's
a huge issue but it just seems that the
restaurant industry is just really on
the hot plate right now because there
are that was considered like the staple
thing to fall back on if you're an
artist and now that's even you know oh
yeah you know bumping questions so
that's why I want to tackle this first
and then also the business that we do
here is directly related to restaurants
and you know I want to like build that
sustainable future so that you know our
supply chain can can continue continue
to thrive and find its empowerment's but
yeah that's it's really valuable that's
that I think that probably been the most
valuable thing that I've taken from this
conversation is the viewpoint or the
perception of what service employees are
from the public's perspective and then
also from their own internal perspective
of themselves that's huge
and that's nothing to do with money
right everybody will play into it you
know cuz we do purpose money is money
money is very much at the forefront of
it but I think yes - based on what we
were addressing about it yet and it's
core it doesn't have any I think more
than money we could say that it's more
connected to like financial security
right yeah yeah so and that's something
that you know is like community to
community and business to business you
know we can't say that there's a you
know this minimum amount per hours is
what every restaurant in the country
needs to be hitting for their employees
in order to reach this level of dignity
but this is a
important you know like build that pride
and that respect in the community for
people that work that work in service
even the dishwasher you know what I mean
yeah absolutely
so yeah I have to let you guys go I'm I
got some stuff to take care of cool
thank you so much Jeffrey like you've
added so much value and I really
appreciate that you have made yourself a
part of this conversation no yeah that's
good good to talk and really nice to
meet you Adam yeah absolutely yeah keep
me keep me in the loop of what's going
on I'll keep I'll keep looking out for
more conversations awesome Thank You
Jeffrey and enjoy your work and hope
you're feeling inspired and creative oh
yeah all right I guess
take care yeah so we just got a comment
from cat on Facebook saying I think we
are facing the end of post-industrial
economy we must create a new model that
fits our values so yeah you're right and
that's the whole purpose of this
conversation now but it's like what are
values we have to first establish that
you know there's another billion dollar
I would hope it's dignity you know so
that's why I decided to use that word
attach that word to these types of
conversations that like that's the
ultimate thing like dignity you know not
not just like oh I'm just doing this to
get by and and you know this is my
position in the world so you know I grew
up in this this status or I'm within you
know I work in the service industry so
you know I'm lower than others like
that's not dignity yeah I had a
conversation with a friend that is here
in Vegas and I had hardly been talking
to him during the pandemic but he
reached out to me to you know update me
on what he had going on
there ended up being a little bit of
contention about you know I felt like he
was unnecessarily gossiping and you know
honestly in the past I would have just
like turned my head to it and and but
you know now I feel like such a
different person now I'm like that's so
unnecessary like get rid of and and I
said yeah I'm a different person now
like it was no hard feelings you know I
said that to you just you know express
to you how how I'm feeling no hard
feelings but you have a different person
now this trend emic has changed me and
changed my values or maybe it did change
my values but it just brought to the
surface the values versus you know like
burying them under this you know culture
and I thought it needed to be said - and
he says I'm a laborer now I'm like
taking whatever work I can get and I'm a
janitor and a laborer now before he was
always an artist and you know always
doing something creative and I said
that's great you know like I I'm focused
on building a system that will provide
dignity for you for doing that work
because that's valuable work and you're
bringing value you know like it seemed
as if he said that as if he was coming
from a point of not shame but of just
like you know I'm different now - I'm
like a lower person now it's like no
you're not a lower person you're
actually a higher person because you're
doing what you need to be doing or
whatever you're feeling your need to be
doing and doing it with confidence and
hopefully with dignity - what are you
morgy Ocracoke oh nice is that this
year's harvest you got some from this
year already or oh I think this is this
is definitely from last year okay I'm
going through lots of tea that I have in
my stash when it's nice sunny weather
like this I tend to want Japanese green
tea so
cool so Geoffrey's based in Vegas he is
yeah and yeah I met him because he was
wanting to work on some tea cocktails
and he had heard about me this was years
ago this is like almost when I first
moved here to town he's run the cocktail
program a extremely gentrified you know
bar in town and yeah he made some great
cocktails actually with Japanese green
tea that was like his favorite thing to
work with
he'd make syrups with it yeah really
nice drinks but then maybe like two
years ago he moved to to the strip to
like a more corporate environment so
it's kind of good you know to have him
in this conversation because he's kind
of seen the spectrum from like the
independent you know up-and-coming kind
of gentrified like Portland model and
then to like the corporate model um both
of them unstable you know that was like
that's like my take on that that guy's
comments from the eater from Portland
his comment about how this is only
hurting the mom pops and the corporates
are gonna do fine I think both are both
are on the line you know yeah I do agree
and you kind of before we switch to that
which is kind of separate from what you
made me think of is your you were
alluding to gentrification which is very
which is a separate and very important
issue of what's going on particularly in
Portland but many of these places who
have saturated industry restaurant
industries is that it's gentrification
and when you have gentrification
normally that displacement so there is
like a sort of economic injustice that
that happens whereby you know for for
many of these Portland restaurants that
are going to be closing those
restaurants took over what may have been
like the bodegas and and the the
hole-in-the-wall taco taqueria is that
there before where a new landlord took
over the space race the Renton's some
some trendy entrepreneur I was able to
afford that rent and it displaced the
poor people who previously had space
yeah so there's I mean you know I I feel
for them I the the notion of a business
of closing down a business is just
harrowing and I don't wish it upon
someone but you know that's part of what
makes the model unsustainable or
unstable as if you're jumping into you
know a if it's built on greed where hey
where a landlord is jacking up the
rented something that's unsustainable
for people who have been running a
business there for years and you're
causing the margins to be that much more
thin and that much more fragile if for
whatever reason that the market declines
in that area in one given year then you
know you're you're fostering it it's a
an unsustainable and unstable model
that's being fostered there ya know for
sure but I think you know that whole
thing is all up in question now to
that's another thing that we're not
talking too much is like what's gonna be
the effect on real estate you know when
the businesses that were there as trendy
and in capital rich as they were you
know a year ago or two years ago or now
all of a sudden not so much so yeah it's
gonna it's gonna affect the rents and
all of that but I can't maybe can bring
a real estate person into this
conversation at some point to talk about
that Engel I don't think I would be but
there was someone else that I wanted to
bring up today he his name is he's from
Nigeria and
he does a lot of work of talking about
gentrification and how this effect
mostly migrants you know immigrants
businesses small businesses his
Instagram o Tunde we tuned a way is his
name I first read about him in my
friends book burned the eyes I think
I've told you about this book he he's
like an activist he was using food as
activism and you know he's done radical
pretty radical stuff so one thing that I
read about he's done that like I found
to be the most radical is that he set up
a hot chicken pop-up in Nashville
Tennessee and you don't know it feels
like famous for this hot chicken and
it's very contentious as far as like the
the appropriation that's happened in
that culture of hot chicken and in
Nashville anyway he's not from Nashville
but he went to Nashville and he made a
hot chicken pop up and you know made a
big you know a big promotion of it and a
big you know FOMO element on it and when
people arrived you know black people
were served for free and if you were
white you know you had a pay like $100
for four pieces or something like that
so he would do a lot of experiments like
that like social experiments to like
kind of tilt the the scale in the other
direction and just like bring these
these topics up but most recently I read
an article in The New Yorker about his
work earlier this month he's become
extremely like aggressive and he started
a film series called let it die were and
actually he had already started filming
this series before the pandemic and the
nature of that show was going to be
interviewing different chefs and
different you know businesses and the
food industry about like how the system
works and and and highlighting the
margins and highlighting the supply
chains and highlighting the issues
pre-pandemic and then pandemic happened
and now he's he's running this whole new
campaign of let it die the the
industries cuz a lot of the folks that
he's been interviewing and in the first
episode he interviewed a woman who
actually had the privilege of meeting
and dining at her place in Oakland she
is also an activist she uses her foods
as activism and she is pleading that the
government should bill out you know
bailout the restaurant industry be more
I think I think the government should
have bailed out the restaurant industry
like before the pandemic that the
government should be I don't view it as
a bailout I view it as subsidizing I
think the government should be like
throwing more runt money at the
restaurant industry be it's I mean it is
that's the way put it this way I love
you know love using France as a as an
analogy here if you want to make a movie
in France the government is required to
give you money to make that movie
they're not gonna fund the napkin like
provide 100 percent of your funding but
you will get money from the government
if you want to make a film in France if
the government took that approach with
restaurants here in the US you know just
that that alone says we value the work
that you do that much more so yeah I I
do think the government should bail them
out and I think they continue to be
throwing money at the restaurant
industry going forward and that they
should have been in the past they've
been they've been subsidizing the food
industry for years out of decades not
enough well in the wrong direction
yes okay I see
yeahthere's I think the number is like
70 billion dollars a year in in farm
subsidies but it's all like very
concentrated and in the corn in the corn
industry it's really bad that's that's a
rabbit hole if you really want to get
pissed off about subsidies that's that's
the biggest and worst one yes
no there there are families in the
Midwest that you know are making over a
billion dollars a year in subsidies from
the government yeah that don't need it
those are not the suffering once the
suffering ones are the small farmers so
there's definitely some work to be done
on redistributing how those subsidies
work and who they go to yeah but if
you're interested Adam I did want to
play the first episode of this video you
know just to kind of draw some context
here it's very interesting video so I
can screen share it and you can watch it
here if you if you don't mind you're
welcome to leave as well if you want but
I think it's definitely I thought I
loved it yeah how long is it I think
it's like 10 minutes
my name is Tony I'm an enduring
immigrant brightest chef I use my
cooking and writing to examine systems
of explosive power who is willing to be
a little bit uncomfortable to take an
extra bus they pay extra gas money extra
taxes so that communities are gentrified
in the fall of 2019 my friend do and I
decided to travel the country telling
food stories about topics that don't
make mainstream food shows we were
filming episodes and pitching to
networks and shit stopped the pandemic
disrupted our storylines and production
see you and I decided to put our
previous plans on pause and tell stories
about the impact of the pandemic on the
restaurant industry this is the first of
a few episodes or maybe this is the
first and last episode we'll see how
this thing goes in February of this year
I met with Rheem at a restaurant in
Fruitvale Oakland Rheem is an organizer
turned chef who was using a platform to
challenge among other things their
Israeli occupation of Palestine the
appropriation of Palestinian food and
capitalism weird how this works like I
thought that was gonna be the end of my
business but it actually helps my
business which is interesting to me I'm
like if I'm true to my values that's
what I'm the most successful as an
organizer now advocating from the
kitchen with her cooking
rheems business model began as
revolutionary she chose to pay workers
above living wages provide benefits
delivered politically charged messaging
and all the while offering have space as
a hub for community organizers to
mobilize from and as her success and
profile grew she continued to critique
racism capitalism and Zionism but Reem
status quo defying politics were in
vogue because mainstream food media and
the sophisticated dining public we're
looking to ride the wave of token
interest in diversity and equity
everyone wanted to be woke
we were sensitive to this sensitive to
her revolution becoming rhetorical and I
was curious
was it possible to be radical even as a
system that she was fighting against was
a system that she was benefiting from
the thing that I hear activists is the
famous and you can't that's what you're
trying to do I I don't think so actually
the Masters tools are available for me
to just make a living and to provide
jobs I mean like if we're gonna live in
this system we have to transact in some
sort of way right I think that that sort
of deeper consciousness-raising work
that I'm doing that's pushing against
status quo that's where that work
happened it's not in my business per se
incremental change is evolutionary right
and in fact incremental change cannot be
missionary yeah
evolution is just adaptation to the
changing environment and so we all have
to adapt
you all have to evolve and you'll have
to do that incremental II and if you
come in from and organizing background
so that understanding intimately what
the community is going to and what the
community needs still can't in this
framework deliver anything more than
important but incremental steps then it
is the whole project like a watch not
your business for the project of
organizing through business organizing
through the framework yeah absolutely
my brain is sometime is linear and I've
no nuance to reach only for the pool of
possibilities for me it is either
incremental ISM or revolution stay or
burn it all down and it's not because I
don't have an imagination but it's
because I believed reality ultimately
affords us limited choices despite our
complicated politics but ream who is
practicing our politics and not just
critiquing them from the sidelines
so things slightly different I want to
live in two realities at the same time
if that makes any sense it's like it's
like two pieces of the work
right what I hope my spaces do is
actually facilitate sort of building a
movement building an organization cuz
that's what it's gonna take
I mean I guess it is a little bit of
incremental change right because you
have to be reformist within the industry
you're in you gotta fight the system but
then you got to build a dual system over
here I hope your model in and out of
business works I hope so
but if you were to bet between the
well-funded capitalist and the radicals
were looking at hybrid models to
transform the system if you were to win
this game they're gonna contain their
status and run faster than we're gonna
go to our radical change that's what
you're saying right so long as we're not
on a level playing field we're always
gonna be last in line at the end of our
conversation it seemed we had swapped
emotional places I was feeling less
cynical Green was maybe more clear-eyed
that evening we had a fabulous dinner
Theo and me along with his parents a
friend and ream he laughed and talked
politics congratulate adream on her
fantastic food and celebrate in her
soon-to-be open second location in the
Mission District
I could see you can you just describe
what has happened since it was rough I
think we were in survival mode at that
point we're like we just have to survive
we have to make sure that our workers
are taken care of in one sweet stroke
the entire restaurant industry was
decimated and businesses like reams
whether political or not radical or not
fine dining or not we're left scrambling
to save themselves from this disaster
we're able to cover payroll just by the
hairs of our chinny chin Chin's but it
came at a real cost of our health we
were working around the clock all of us
were I wish I could show you
I have long sleeves right now but the
burns on my arms from working that oven
such a desperate pace we essentially put
ourselves at risk but in doing so we
were able to cover our staff I put out a
Hail Mary go fund me and we were able
with the help from community to cover
people sick time we were just trying to
survive I'm getting chills you know this
is crazy I was like how are we putting
our bodies on the line for this and then
our workers - my pride essentially
organized and demanded answers from me
as the business owner from us as a
management team about what decisions we
were making on their behalf and I felt
like we broke trust they're scrambling
they're in survival mode and we don't
have answers for them so we kind of
tried to do a model of case management
we had our catering coordinator who no
longer had a reason to work the catering
had dried up she you started to work
with each person to figure out how do we
access resources from the relief funds
how do we get money into the hands of
people that was like our primary focus
while we figure out the sort of
longer-term strategy
I knew that means could not exist the
way that it existed I mean even from the
conversations you and I have maybe you
just need to subscribe a better deal
with the devil maybe you just need to
get the one
how much the devil prayed to ask me to
strike this deal our restaurant the way
we were running in the writing was on
the wall right here right now and how
could we use this time almost like as if
time is frozen I'm gonna figure it out
with my workers right now what do they
want from all of this how do we use this
moment and so that was kind of an
epiphany moment for me in your business
the margins are so thin that anything if
yeah and then this is an extraordinary
event and so there's no way you know she
any way of coming back from it because
of this scale unless we make drastic
measures and I think that this pandemic
allows us to make drastic measures
rheems was gonna be at some point
worker-owned that my workers would have
stake in all of this like let me
fast-track this this is like a moment
and I've been allowed the time to not be
in the trenches so to speak let's get
off this hamster wheel if we don't
rebuild the systems now in this vacuum
I'm really afraid of what will happen
what do you think the future of the
restaurant industry should be first and
foremost reparations right reallocating
those like resources we need relief on
we need relief on mortgages we need like
a total sort of alleviation of those
burdens on student debt on loans we need
to start over so that there's a level
playing field so that we're not starting
with shackles on our feet I do think the
larger organizing has to happen around
shifting of our consciousness because
restaurants are organizations of people
just like anything else right I think
some people have to give up their
privilege in the restaurant industry in
order to make this happen
the people at the top have to give up
something do you think you were gonna
get more the same or do you think that
we are gonna get this consciousness
shift that that's that you have been
talking about for a long time I
oscillate Sunday like the pessimist in
me is like great you know like this is
the survival of the fittest and
capitalism always has a way of adjusting
right I mean I think the realist in me
is really scared of what's to come of
this all I know is that I have to be
part of the radical solution and if the
restaurant industry won't allow me to do
that I will exit
so here we are at the cost of something
different for where do we go from here
probably nowhere new because the status
quo is too powerful and our economic
reality to entrench to deny so yeah I
just wanted to share his perspective
interesting video yeah definitely a lot
of room for continuing his conversation
I hope he produces more that was kind of
interesting how at the beginning the
video he said this might be my last and
maybe that was because he's expecting
some backlash from the industry but well
it's also I'm impressed they got footage
of the of that restaurant the like in
action in the midst of the pandemic like
you see them all wearing masks like to
get a camera crew in there and still be
practicing social distancing this sounds
like complicated challenging to say the
least yeah so I've heard him say this
may be my last I thought it had more to
do with like the logistics of trying to
coordinate filming a documentary one
yeah yeah I will see you I mean trying
to just coordinate the logistics and
trying to be able to have the resources
to pay people when there's probably no
money flowing into a project like this
p.m. with that yeah yeah and to me it
speaks to or something like that but I
don't know how any The New Yorker yeah I
will I'll send that to you
yeah the article is good it's an
interview with him so it goes into a
little bit more detail about his
perspective because there this video is
kind of like him interviewing this woman
and giving that like anecdote of what's
going on but her story is so common you
know working working for minimum wage or
like working way more hours you know
that ends up making your salary less
wage and putting yourself into a
dangerous situation you know she was
like burning herself in the oven because
she's working so aggressively I think
that's like pretty much across the board
right now and like my few friends that
have gone back to work here that's like
been main their main commentary the
patrons are great so so far my friends
here in town have said that everybody's
tipping really well and people are being
very patient and very understanding
about the social distancing and working
with it they're just so grateful to be
out dining it's not really okay yeah I'd
love to hear more perspectives on that
but like the the negative feedback that
I've been hearing is more to do with the
relationships with management and
ownership because they're all super
stressed out and the work environment
has become very toxic and very stressful
and you're wearing a mask for you know
your whole ten-hour shift having to talk
to people loudly to get through your
mask to serve and so yeah people are
feeling faint and you know it's just
it's very challenging I don't know if
it's really healthy for people to be
wearing their masks while working like
well hearing so at least to kind of
expand expand upon that the way she
talks about her workers is kind of rare
for an owner manager restaurants work
house she's saying you know I was proud
of them that they organized an owl I
felt that because I didn't have answers
for them about what we were doing I mean
I'm not saying it there's no there are
no it's not unheard of to have a someone
in a restaurants leadership who like
really does view their workers in a as
human beings and wants to dignify them
and and thinks the world with them but
many of them do view that this plays
into the lack of dignity thing your
talking about many of them do view them
as cattle and that that toxic workplace
was toxic
even before the pandemic and the
pandemic sure makes it worse but um just
before I was but but this if it's toxic
after the pandemic it was toxic before
then as well just before this zoom call
I was texting with a friend on whatsapp
from the restaurant where we used to
work together in in San Juan and they're
about to reopen tomorrow and when I saw
the stipulations I texted with them I
said I am just cringing looking at what
you're gonna have to deal with when you
go back into the restaurant tomorrow he
said and you start sending me pictures
of how everything looks he says yeah
we're cleaning everything up right now
we had no instructions from the owner on
what we should do and we're trying to
find a way to hide the two round tables
and and the bar tops so that the owner
doesn't get any creative ideas on how to
try to seat people at them yeah that's
like that I mean dealing with this owner
is if it was a toxic workplace template
I I view that staff as my family so when
I say it's a toxic workplace I don't
mean to suggest that like but I mean my
mental health was in a really tough spot
I was just dreading it though less so in
that restaurant more so at the wine bar
but I was dreading going to work at the
wine bar every day and I was so grateful
to get this job opportunity on the T
side too to be able to get away from
that cuz I know I was gonna have to keep
working that job otherwise it was it was
taking a toll on ya and you're probably
not alone you know so that's the
relevance very confidently say yeah so
yeah I mean I took lots of notes today
and one of the main notes that I took
from when I
talking with Jeffrey that's in alignment
with what you were just talking about is
that there are some positive models that
that were in place prior to pandemic not
common Jeffrey was a lot more optimistic
that he hadn't he had interacted with
some businesses that were the positive
model and so I guess my homework that
I'm gonna do as a result of this
conversation is collect that list of
models and and the woman that was
interviewed in that video is definitely
one of them and my brother shared one
called black star co-op in Austin that
he says is really good called us it's a
it's a self-managed brewpub and so maybe
that's one of the commonalities is that
they're all kind of run like coops
they're run as you know yeah
collaborative empowering and yeah so I'm
gonna start you know kind of collecting
these and I'll reach out to our
community to to get other people to give
me recommendations of other cities you
know of these businesses that that were
providing dignity to their employees and
and starting to you know kind of write
out what are the parallels and and what
are the things that can be pulled from
this for this manifesto and-and-and what
are the things to avoid what are the
toxic behaviors to avoid like the ones
that you had mentioned in your story and
what does that mean for the employees
you know so yeah today has been a good
conversation thank you so much Adam for
your cool are you gonna are you gonna
enjoy yourself a nice big bowl of of
comfort food now I'm gonna take a walk
cuz it's gorgeous out and then I'm gonna
I'll either eat and I keep putting off
cleaning the apartment so I need to do
in some in one order it I don't know
what the order will be a list but I need
to clean the apartment and and study for
my wine class and and yet eat dinner so
then some open its in that or I don't
know in what order that's gonna happen
I'm gonna take the walk for a little
while and then come back and try to
tackle all that cool well enjoy your
walk enjoy your evening enjoy your week
and I'll talk to you soon Adam likewise
take care thanks to notify bye everybody
thank you

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