Josh Kopel | Award Winning Restaurant Consultant

Restaurant Ideas: Food Fight Series Featuring Chef Danielle Leoni

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Restaurant Margins

LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE! I can think of few times in my life I’ve walked away from a conversation so fired up!

Today, we had the opportunity to chat with Chef Danielle Leoni, chef/owner of The Breadfruit & Rum Bar, who’s fighting for sustainability in both the food we eat and the industry at large. Chef Leoni has been a food fighter from the beginning. Her positions on responsible sourcing and a holistic approach to hospitality have garnered her attention from prominent organizations like the James Beard Foundation, but it’s the pandemic has brought her message to the masses.

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  • Beginning in campaigning for the hospitality industry during Covid
  • Breadfruit and Rum Bar closed due to safety
  • Decided takeout model wasn’t suitable
  • Sent a letter to Governor with suggestions to help independent hospitality businesses
  • Over 1000 business owners signed the letter
  • Ideas put to the Governor
  • Stop all penalties for sales tax payments
  • 24month payment plan for sales tax
  • Waive fees for liquor licenses – this was accepted
  • Moratorium on commercial evictions – this was accepted
  • Clear guidelines for reopening of hospitality businesses
  • No intentions of reopening soon
  • Covid has given us a lifetime opportunity
  • We shape our food system
  • Hospitality workers are not respected
  • Seen as having “jobs” and not careers
  • The “paid help”
  • Hospitality shouldn’t be valued any less than other industries
  • The cost of reopening
  • What is the cost of giving team member fair wages?
  • Raising prices
  • The restaurant has no value is customers won’t compensate
  • You can’t retire on a James Beard award
  • Profits are minimal
  • Most restaurants are treading water
  • Initiatives for change
  • Seafood sustainability
  • Equity for women
  • Health of the oceans
  • Getting funding for the disadvantaged
  • Everyone thinks it is really easy to be in the restaurant business
  • It is not our sole responsibility to fix the food system
  • Speak up for inequalities
  • Pick up the phone to politicians
  • Now is the best time to ask for systemic change
  • Goal for the future
  • To be seen as professionals and be paid equally and fairly
  • Advice for restaurateurs
  • Put thoughts and beliefs on paper
  • Allow patrons and other business owners to support
  • Find a representative and demand change

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