Last Wednesday we were proud to celebrate two individuals that mean a lot to us here at the Restaurant Opportunities Center at our annual (ish) Diner’s Guide Release (sort of).
Ok, so we had our first first dinners guide release in December of 2012 and the next one in January of 2014…just over a year later, so not exactly annually.
Additionally, we did not “release” any diner’s guides. We have decided to not publish them on paper because they are expensive and bad for the environment. Still, we did premier a new list of employers who have chosen to take the high-road to profitability.
Our list of good guys this year includes; Fergie’s, Grace Tavern, Monk’s, Nodding Head and the Belgian Cafe. If you don’t know, all of these places are at least partly owned by Fergus Carey, a well-known and respected restauranteur. These restaurants get a thumbs up for paying their tipped workers a wage of $5/hour in addition to any tips that they are given from customers. Though they don’t get any points in the Diner’s Guide for it, Fergie’s donates space for us to host all of our server training classes. They are awesome, for sure.
The Random Tea Room also gets accolades for paying its tipped workers more than $5/hour, serving on that employer round-table that I mentioned earlier and because they offer career advancement opportunities. Be sure to stop in their and tell them that you care!
Tequila’s Restaurant is also an exceptional employer. They pay their front-of-the-house workers $5/hour and their kitchen staff at least $10/hour. They get a triple star rating for also serving on a nation ROC committee about employer practices. Congratulations, David Suro, the owner of Tequila’s, and all the people that work there.
Another new addition to the Diner’s Guide this year is The Quick Fixx. The Quick Fixx is on South Street across from Bob and Barbara’s and they not only focus on “Chef Inspired” fastfood for the health conscience but also on running a truly sustainable business. The Quick Fixx get’s good marks from us by paying their tipped workers more than $5/hour, serving on that employment practices round-table and for offering paid sick leave.
At the party itself, we honored Pete Ellis, the owner of El Fuego Mexican Food. Pete is such a good employer, he is literally ranked beyond what our scale offers. Of good places to work, on a scale of 1-10, El Fuego is like an 11.
At El Fuego, all of the workers are paid at least $10/hour, benefit from a paid sick leave policy, internal promotions policy and work for an employer who is committed to promoting good employer practices on our national round-table.
From this week Al Dia newspaper, “ “Alguna vez me ha llamado algún trabajador para avisar que está enfermo. En ocasiones yo he trabajado en su lugar, pero creo que es lo correcto”, dijo Ellis. TRANSLATION, “Sometimes a worker will call in sick. I will have to work for them (they get ½ days pay). I think it is the right thing to do.” says Ellis.
Pete also started a 401k plan with a 3% match this year, a benefit that is unheard of in the restaurant industry.
We were proud to celebrate El Fuego at this years party.
We were also excited to praise Zulekia Ellis (no relation). Zulekia as one of our most active members. She is an energetic young woman who signed up for our serve classes last year. After she finished Fine-Dining Table Service 101, she went on to complete 201 and Bar-Tending. Zulekia could have moved on from there, but instead she joined a committee to improve and market our training programs.
Zulekia is a fantastic example of grassroots leadership. That is why we were glad to make her our nominee to the National Bruce Herman Fellowship, a new fellowship created to build the leadership of restaurant workers.
We had a great time. You can join in the fun by downloading our free Diner’s Guide app at your Apple or Android app store (no Windows version, sorry) or by printing yourself an old-fashioned paper version from our website.
I encourage justice minded individuals, organizations, unions and union law firms to host meals, events and get catering from all of these good employers. You too can help pave a high-road to sustainable work places by doing business with these restaurants. Be sure to let them know that you are purchasing their food because they treat workers right!