Top Managers Quit Charlie Hallowell Restaurant Amid Sexual Harassment Allegations

Top Managers Quit Charlie Hallowell Restaurant Amid Sexual Harassment Allegations

In the latest chapter of harassment allegations in our industry, three managers and chefs from Charlie Hallowell’s Boot and Shoe Service have resigned over alleged “serial harassment” from the owner.

Last year, 17 former employees of Hallowell’s Pizzaiolo, Boot & Shoe Service, and Penrose restaurants accused the restaurateur of creating a demoralizing work environment where his "indecent propositions and about of his power were the norm," and that the workplace featured a "near-constant stream of sexually explicit language."

An ultimatum was proposed earlier this month when a group of seven top managers threatened to resign from the Oakland restaurant if Hallowell didn’t divest from the restaurant. This weekend, protests were staged outside the restaurant over the alleged harassment and the way Hallowell and his company have handled the allegations.

Crisis consultant Larry Kamer, who was recently brought in as a spokesman for the restaurant group, said that the protest was peaceful and that the picketers would not lose their jobs as a result. Staff from the other restaurants were brought in during the protest, and he said the company is hiring people to fill jobs of departing employees.

“We know there are a number of people who feel strongly about this,” Kamer said

This protest came at a time when hundreds of women marched across the country as a part of the Women’s March and the #MeToo movement.

By Sunday, three managers and chefs had resigned from Boot & Shoe Service after their demands that he divest from the company were not met.

“I feel pretty sad. I feel like I really had some measure of hope — maybe I was naive — that this was going to work,” said Emily Hayward, who resigned as general manager along with pastry chef Jenny Raven and brunch manager Stephanie Chevalier. However, Hayward added, “I feel very confident in my decision. The lack of response really told me everything I needed to hear as far as my value.”

Boot & Shoe Service chef Gregg Cashmark, sous chef Matt Fishman and cafe manager Greg Francis told The San Francisco Chronicle they are also planning to quit in the coming days. Top staff from Hallowell’s two other Oakland restaurants, Pizzaiolo and Penrose, did not join them in the action.

After the original Chronicle investigation was published Dec. 27th, Hallowell responded by removing himself from his company’s day-to-day operations while an outside attorney conducts an investigation.

Read more at “The San Francisco Chronicle.”

Read More

The Magnificent 10: Restaurants That Changed American Dining

The Magnificent 10: Restaurants That Changed American Dining

By Adria Valdes Greenhauff, Editor-at-Large

There are great restaurants and then there are iconic restaurants. The latter do more than just serve up delicious food, they dare to be different and give permission for others to follow their lead.

In his new book, Ten Restaurants That Changed America, author and historian Paul Freedman takes readers on a journey through the culinary melting pot that is American dining, exploring the most influential restaurants, that each, in its own way, played a part in changing American culture, society, industry and even politics as we know it.

From chronicling the rise of America’s obsession with Chinese food through San Francisco’s legendary The Mandarin, to outlining how Sylvia’s, a small Harlem eatery, pioneered the concept of American soul food, Freedman uses each restaurant to tell a bigger story of race and class, immigration and assimilation. 

Read More

Training Mentality: Focus on What You Should ALWAYS Do, Not What You Shouldn’t Do

Training Mentality: Focus on What You Should ALWAYS Do, Not What You Shouldn’t Do

By Andrew Carlson, Foodable Industry Expert

Over the last couple months, I've had the opportunity to open a few restaurants and build a training program from scratch. I’ve also had the opportunity to work with some of the hardest-working individuals in the business.

Some of these people have never had any restaurant experience, while others had an abundance of experience. But when it came to training, they all had something in common — this concept was brand new to all of them, and there was a ton of information getting thrown at them in a short period of time.

The thing we must remember is that people all learn differently. Some are more visual, some are more hands-on, and some even learn best from sitting in a lecture hall. At the end of the day, if they don't know what — as a restaurant— you always do, then your training program has failed.

Read More

Tips on Improving Your Training Program

Tips on Improving Your Training Program

By Brian Murphy, Foodable Contributor

The methods of training new and existing employees vary as much as the vast types of establishments, from the pseudo-interview and immediate hire to the month-long, corporate-style onboarding program. There can be success in all of these styles, though some are a roll of the dice. Quality training is as important from the top to bottom of the org chart and is one part of the business that can’t be overlooked or taken for granted.

Is Training Really That Important?

Yes. Incredibly important. The risks that come along with handing a new hire a copy of an outdated handbook and setting them up to shadow a trusted employee (or one that happens to be scheduled that day in some instances) are too great to continue that practice.

What are the most important parts of the handbook? Are they being discussed with new hires? People need to know why they should follow the policies that were chosen to be put in place, and opportunities to discuss them, or at least assess, that they are understood at a deep level should happen early and often during the onboarding process.

Read More