Dining and entertainment are flourishing in the U.S. as most of the country have re-opened for business. Yet, there are lessons to be learned. One of these lessons is the relationship between restaurant owners and restaurant employees.
Service industry workers have experienced some of the most severe repercussions of the pandemic. Line cooks, for example, had the highest mortality rate from COVID-19. Even though restaurants may have been closed for walk-in business, these workers were still preparing meals for take-out, un-vaccinated, and often in close quarters.
It is widely reported that a significant number of restaurant employees have moved to more stable and less arduous work. Some claim that generous unemployment benefits keep these workers home. Yet, the reality is not that simple. When restaurants only had take-out or operated at reduced capacities, tip income would have been negligible. With children at home, childcare was an issue for many restaurant workers. Yet, some restaurant workers volunteered their time at the restaurant that furloughed them to help ensure that the business stayed afloat.
The hospitality industry has always provided a low-barrier entry into upwardly mobile opportunities with the possibility of the ultimate reward – restaurant ownership! For others, it is a temporary stepping stone to other careers. Perhaps it is time for restaurant owners to establish new policies that reflect their employees’ paths. They may want to consider equity participation for their most skilled and ambitious staff. After all, family-run businesses are the norm in the restaurant business. Why not create your own “family” of competent and loyal stakeholders?
For those complaining that you cannot find people willing to work in your restaurant, perhaps it is time to see what kind of organization you have. Is it a factory where the staff are a cog in the wheel or are they part of your family?
We have a great lineup of articles and features for you this month!
This month Penny Weiss visits the Mosel region of Germany in our Appellations section, where some of their more iconic Rieslings are produced. Hear from the estates of Fritz Haag, Maximin Grünhaus, Dr. Loosen, and Weingut Zilliken, where centuries of wine expertise have a wide range of excellent wines.
Back in the U.S., Melanie Young profiles Commander’s Palace in New Orleans. Commander’s Palace is where leading New Orleans chefs Emeril Lagasse, Tory McPhail, the late Paul Prudhomme, and Jamie Shannon practiced their art. She interviews Commander’s Palace’s Chef Meg, the first woman to lead the kitchen in the restaurant’s 128-year-old history.
In our Provisions section, Melanie indulges in the aromas of a 125-year old bread-maker, Leidenheimer’s. They are New Orleans’ largest bread producer with national distribution and legions of fans.
Melanie also reports how New Orleans leads the charge in dealing with a post-pandemic world and keeping restaurants open. The NOLA SAFE certification program sets the standard for maintaining safe dining with transparency and NOLA SAFE badges that businesses can display.
This month we introduce a new section, Chef & Mentor, because behind every great chef is an inspiration. You will be touched by the story of how Frank Brigtsen was groomed by Paul Prudhomme to become a new bright light in New Orleans’s constellation of restaurants.
Drew Beard also launches Straight Up!, a new Santé segment focusing on leaders in the spirits industry. We will interview brands, both big and small, to explore their professional backgrounds and the lesser-known stories behind their products. He is kicking the section off with Four Roses Master Distiller Brent Elliot, whose candor actually gave name to this series. Before the interview began, Brent said that he would let Drew know if he was “shooting from the hip” on any response to his questions. He assured him that if he were confident, he’d answer “straight up.”
Don’t miss Deborah Grossman’s piece on Father’s Day Wines with Special Heritage! From sunny Santa Cruz and Mendocino to Europe and the Middle East, vintners share their best wine and Father’s Day wisdom.
Santé is also introducing the new Craft Spirits Spotlight this month, highlighting top spirits craft brands. According to Research and Markets, the craft spirits market has ballooned. It is expected to have a compound annual growth rate of 32% over five years. There are currently over 1,800 craft spirit distilleries in the U.S., so watch this page for regular updates on this dynamic market. We’ll be featuring makers and introducing delicious cocktail recipes for your enjoyment.
Don’t forget to visit Marketplace, our curated collection of refined products that will delight any discerning person in food and beverage. You will find tableware, tools, and books to attract both the hospitality pro and the food and beverage enthusiast. Father’s Day is coming up. Perhaps your man will enjoy a complete Cocktail Kingdom Barware Roll-Up Kit? It will certainly help to spice up those summer barbecues or camping trips.
Finally, I’d like to wish Roger Morris a delightful birthday as he celebrates on June 2nd. His Weekly Dozen and May I Quote You? sections are popular favorites of our readers. May the “ink” continue to flow for years to come!
I’d like to remind you that you can read Santé Magazine on our website, the Apple News app, the Google News app, and Restaurateur Connection. We also post updates daily on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn. So, follow us wherever is most convenient to you and continue receiving our Insights in Hospitality™!
A Votre Santé
Emiliano De Laurentiis