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Morgan Lanier or Destiny Thompson
Melissa Libby & Associates
THESE FORWARD-THINKING ORGANIZATIONS ARE MAKING ATLANTA A GREAT CITY FOR FOOD SERVICE WORKERS
Local Restaurants and Organizations Are Creating Opportunities and
Positive Working Environments
ATLANTA (June 28, 2019) – For all its many rewards, the food service industry can be a challenging field in which to make a living, let alone forge a career. Low wages, minimal or nonexistent benefits, discrimination, a lack of professional development opportunities—every line cook, server and front-of-house staffer has heard or shared countless horror stories.
Fortunately, the Atlanta dining scene is filled with people and businesses actively working to improve working conditions, foster career growth and create positive, progressive workplaces. Here are just a few of the restaurants, hospitality groups and other organizations striving to promote a stronger, healthier restaurant culture.
One of the greatest examples of Atlanta’s growing financial and emotional investment in its food service workers is Giving Kitchen, a nonprofit that provides crisis grants to members of Atlanta’s restaurant community facing unanticipated hardships. It also connects workers with housing, transportation, mental health, medical and other needs with social services organizations that can help. Giving Kitchen is offering ongoing, free suicide prevention training to restaurant industry personnel in partnership with QPR Institute. thegivingkitchen.org
5Church Atlanta works to foster a happy, healthy and engaged workforce by providing gym memberships for all staff members. The restaurant also encourages staffers to pursue personal and professional growth via outside schooling, provides lunch and dinner daily, and holds daily staff meetings to share best practices and motivate staff with encouragement and praise from client reviews. 404-400-3669; 5churchatlanta.com
Agency Restaurant & Bar, the first Atlanta outpost from Savannah-based Daniel Reed Hospitality, puts a focus on keeping its employees healthy and fit for its high-energy restaurant and lounge in Phipps Plaza. According to general manager Sarah Olmstead, "I'm actually working with the LA Fitness across the street from us to get our staff members free sessions and discounted memberships.” 404-900-7799; AgencyATL.com
Murphy’s in Virginia-Highland prides itself on serving as a playground for emerging talent. The restaurant is known for reimbursing servers the cost of sommelier certification, to cite one example. “We’re always actively looking for ways to help our employees create careers, not just restaurant jobs,” says owner Tom Murphy. “We want to incentivize and retain good people, but we also see such actions as helping to lift the Atlanta dining scene as a whole. Investing in passionate, dedicated professionals benefits everyone.” 404-872-0904; murphysatlanta.com
Seed Hospitality Group, which operates Doug Turbush’s Seed Kitchen & Bar, Stem Wine Bar and Drift Fish House & Oyster Bar, is committed to treating its employees as valued participants in the company’s success. “We like to promote from within and encourage our team members to grow,” says managing partner Jason Raymond. “We’ve promoted 14 managers from line-level positions since we opened.” The company also pays for all industry-related certifications, provided the staffer passes the appropriate tests, and management conducts “quarterly conversations” with each staff member with an eye to furthering his or her career in the company. Full-time employees receive paid vacation, staffers who work more than 30 hours a week receive health benefits, and managers receive a year-end profit-sharing bonus. And all employees enjoy access to a true human resources process, with anti-harassment training for all managers and staff. “We have a chain of executives a staff member can call in any harassment situation,” says Raymond. Seed Kitchen & Bar and Stem Wine Bar; 678-214-6888, eatatseed.com, stemwinebar.com. Drift: 770-635-7641; driftoysterbar.com
Buckhead’s popular Italian grocery store and restaurant Storico Fresco Alimentari e Ristorante believes in motivating and retaining staff through competitive wages, accessible and compassionate management, a consistent work environment and a culture that emphasizes respect for everyone. 404-500-2181; storicofresco.com