Investing in Talent Has Been Key In Tupelo Honey's Success

Investing in Talent Has Been Key In Tupelo Honey's Success

On this episode, top executives from emerging brand Tupelo Honey share with Foodable valuable insight on building an engaging lifestyle brand. Tyler Alford, Vice President of Operations, believes it all starts with hiring the right people and he attributes this philosophy to Tupelo Honey’s CEO, Steve Frabitore. Eric Gabrynowicz, Vice President of Culinary and Corporate Executive Chef of Tupelo Honey, is an example of this philosophy. He brought over to the brand tons of experience when he joined the team in 2016, having worked at Danny Meyer’s acclaimed Union Square Cafe in New York City onto eventually opening his own restaurant, and becoming a four-time James Beard Award semifinalist.

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Sexual Harassment Allegations Cloud Over Danny Meyer's Restaurant Group

Sexual Harassment Allegations Cloud Over Danny Meyer's Restaurant Group

There are reports denouncing Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group for not properly addressing dozens of employee complaints involving sexual harassment.

The incidents involved a couple of chefs including, Eric Korsh, the former North End Grill executive chef and Junsoo Bae the former Gramercy Tavern sous chef.

Soon after Korsh took on the position in 2014, there were instances when he allegedly made inappropriate comments about female customers that he found attractive, gave unwelcomed massages to female employees, and, in various occasions, lost his temper at the restaurant staff. Additionally, as far as Bae is concerned, the sous chef allegedly groped a server at a company party, according to “Eater.”

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Danny Meyer Is Looking To Invest $220 Million In Culture-Rich, Innovative Companies

Danny Meyer Is Looking To Invest $220 Million In Culture-Rich, Innovative Companies

Is your business built upon a genius idea? Does your brand have a great culture and consumer following with a proven record that can sustain expansion? Are you open to receive a monetary investment and advice from a top restaurateur to grow your business?

Those are the parameters Shake Shack founder Danny Meyer and his team will be evaluating in his next venture.

Union Square Hospitality Group (USHG) has raised $220 million for a private equity fund that will invest in 10 to 15 fast casual restaurant concepts, hospitality-facing technology companies and other businesses that share the hospitality group CEO’s employee-centric values.

“Employees first, customers second, community third, suppliers fourth, then investors fifth,” said Meyer today in a “CNBC” Squawk Box interview, as he defined the concept of— enlightened hospitality.

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Lawsuit Accuses Danny Meyer and Other Top Restaurateurs of Conspiracy

Lawsuit Accuses Danny Meyer and Other Top Restaurateurs of Conspiracy

Danny Meyer, along with other renowned operators in the restaurant industry have been on the forefront of the no-tipping movement.

This is a policy where employees are given higher wages instead of relying on tips.

Meyer, in particular, is known for putting his employees first. He maintains that happier employees foster more enjoyable guest experiences and this mentality has attributed to his success in the industry.

Meyer’s name is often in headlines celebrating his industry efforts, but yesterday it was reported that Meyer, along with other big names in the business are being sued over their no-tipping policy.

The lawsuit claims that Meyer, Tom Colicchio founder of Craft Hospitality, and David Chang of Momofuku conspired to implement the no-tipping policy as a way to overcharge guests, while also stealing tips from their employes.

“The conspiracy is in its early experimental stage, focused on developing and disseminating best practices for switching to a no-tipping, “hospitality-included” business model. The no-tipping movement is the most significant issue in the industry today. One conspirator predicts that “ten years from now we’re going to look back and go, ‘Oh, God, do you remember when we used to tip?’” according to the complaint. “The ongoing conspiracy unlawfully transfers millions of dollars from customers and servers to restaurant owners in violation of federal and state antitrust laws. Participating restaurants and a compliant media have portrayed the no-tipping/higher prices movement as intended to promote social justice and equality, while the real aim and effect is greater profit at the expense of workers and consumers.”

The plaintiffs are seeking class-action status.

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How Restaurateurs Can Help Close the Gender Gap in the Restaurant Industry

According to data from Glassdoor, male chefs earn an average of 28.1% more than female chefs. 

This is partially due to the fact that pregnant and new mothers can't take extended unpaid leave because benefit packages tend to be limited in the restaurant industry. 

Danny Meyer has always been ahead of the game, first with establishing the no-tipping policy, and now he has announced that new parents, whether they be women, men or domestic partners, working for his restaurant group will be given an extended benefits package to cover paid leave.

If other restaurants adopt a similar program, this will help close the gender gap in the industry. Since women often have to pick between advancing their careers or having children– this has inevitably created a male dominated restaurant world. 

But with industry leaders like Meyer paving the way, other restaurants are bound to follow suit.

So what does the extended benefits package by Union Square Hospitality Group offer employees at the group's 14 restaurants?

"All full time employees in the front and back of the house with more than one year of employment will be offered 100 percent of their base wages for the first four weeks after their child is born or adopted. After that, all employees will be offered 60 percent of their base wages for the next four weeks," writes "Eater."

The package will be available to employees who qualify starting in 2017. 

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