by Mikey Knab, Ponce’s Mexican Restaurant
On Friday April 5th, a group of 20 restaurant owners and operators got together at City Heights Coffee House to discuss strategies for improving working conditions for employees in the hospitality industry. The group included current Business for Good members, as well as others interested in taking a high road approach to hiring, training, and supporting our teams.
Owners of some of San Diego’s favorite restaurants joined the conversation. A quick glance around the room was quite an impressive list :
- Sam of The Station, Krakatoa, Live Wire, and Whistle Stop
- Mike of Fred’s Mexican Restaurant and Tamarindo
- Lauren of Kensington Cafe, The Haven, and Del Sur Cantina
- Brad of Nomad Donuts
- Drew of Social Syndicate
We were joined by Saru Jayaraman, President and founder of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC), an organization founded in New York after 9/11 in order to support restaurant workers effected by the attacks. ROC now has over 100,000 worker members, and almost 800 restaurant owner members across the country. Saru brought two members of her team, as well as a restaurateur partner from San Francisco to offer guidance and testimony on how changing our approaches, perspectives, and systems can improve the lives of our employees, while benefiting our bottom lines.
The discussion was lively and informative, and in the end, it was just really nice to have all of these San Diego restaurant heavy hitters sitting in the same room, completely committed to investing in our employees’ well-being.
There was a lot of interest in starting a chapter of RAISE (a part of the ROC work dedicated to high road employment practices) in partnership with Business for Good here in San Diego, with those in attendance acting as the vanguard of the movement here. Stay tuned for news on that front in the next few months.