Bay Area restaurants improving working conditions

Historically, working in a restaurant environment for young people meant
exposure to all sorts of flames – hot pans, splashing grease, harassment and volatile
egos of chefs looking to create and perform.
The culture ofthe restaurant industry has been one of respect established through fear
in an effort to maintain efficiency and a distinct culinary hierarchy.

Restaurants are facing a grave staff shortage as a result of competition in the labor
market with tech companies who offer employees comprehensive benefits and better pay
along with amore humane and pleasant work environment. However, particularly in the
Bay Area, the restaurant industry is experiencing a gradual shift in culture towards
more optimal working conditions in order to attract and retain employees.

With a multitude of options for workers, restaurant owners are working hard to re-think
the ways in which they manage their staff. According to the San Francisco Chronicle,
changes in policy are being implemented across the city. For example, owner of Hi Neighbor
Restaurant Group has recently enacted an expansive benefits program for employees, which includes:

  • company-wide medical and dental insurance
  • paid vacation
  • pre-tax commuter checks
  • field trips and classes
  • customizable monthly benefits for each employee

Since October, Cole has experienced zero turnover in his restaurants.

Cole represents one of many leaders in the industry striving to attract workers
back to the kitchen with better policies, but there is still more ground to cover.
Restaurants are continuing to move towards greater transparency in handling
complaints of harassment in order to make the restaurant kitchen a safe and
humane place towork for all.