It’s been really interesting to see chefs who are normally concerned with running a restaurant suddenly lobbying Congress, all in an effort to show how restaurants tie the whole nation together, economically and culturally. Today we discuss the fight for the survivalof our industry and our planet with one of the chefs leading the charge.
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- How Rick started in sustainability
- Rick has always been a “greater good” person
- Working together for the future of community
- Willing to sacrifice for the greater good
- To be sustainable, a restaurant needs a difference economic model
- organic/ethical produce is more expensive
- Most restaurants break-even or lose money
- Rick’s restaurant loses money
- Ways Rick is redefining his restaurant
- Commitment to local producers
- Revising pay structure
- 20% service charge on all checks
- Use service charge to pay FOH & BOH staff
- Hired back staff at a slightly lower hourly rate
- Split additional gratuity between FOH staff
- Is the industry ready to reopen?
- Have we had enough time to reflect?
- Issues need to be addressed before reopening
- Open-book management
- All staff know the business financials
- Having a strong culture
- Being open with staff about anxieties and fears
- Frontera has long-term staff
- Retirement age staff
- 50% split men and women
- Independent Restaurants’ Coalition has a weekly summit
- Speakers to advice on different issues
- Advocating for the Restaurant’s Act
- 25% of unemployment comes from the restaurant industry
- Less than 8% of PPP loans went to restaurants
- Restaurants’ Act would ensure a cash grant for independent restaurants to survive
- More loans are not helpful
- 30 senators & 160 House of Reps cosigned the bill
- Rick’s success is fuelled by desire to introduce Americans to Mexican food and culture
- Lived in Mexico for a long time
- Rich, complex cuisine
- Most Americans think of tacos, burritos, nachos, and margaritas as Mexican food
- Nachos considered American food in Mexico City
- Spreading the word
- TV work
- 12 seasons of long-time TV show “Mexico One Plate at a Time”
- Advice to young people graduating from culinary school
- This will be tough
- You have shown you are not afraid of hard work
- The whole world will be redefined
- Create your own model
- Interactions with guests are important to BOH too
- Frontera went to a takeout/delivery model
- Rick was sad as there was no interaction with guests
- Pivoting during the pandemic
- Transformed Topolobampo into a private dining library space