Meyer Reversion, Onda Breaks, Mid-Market Pavement, and more...
Family Meal - Tuesday, July 21st, 2020
Quite possibly the shortest, most straightforward Family Meal ever this morning. You’re welcome? (Or sorry. TBD.)
Let’s get to it…
The Big Tipper – Headline in the NYT: “Danny Meyer’s Restaurants Will End Their No-Tipping Policy.” Story from Julia Moskin: “Mr. Meyer told his staff that Union Square Hospitality would abandon what it calls its ‘Hospitality Included’ policy as its restaurants reopen for outdoor dining, starting on Thursday with the flagship Union Square Café… and extending to the nearby Gramercy Tavern in the coming weeks. (Some of the group’s other businesses are already open for takeout and delivery, and all will shift to tipped wages immediately.)… Mr. Meyer said in an interview that he still believes that tipping contributes to inequitable pay, wage instability and other problems, and that he is collaborating with the national One Fair Wage campaign to eliminate it.”
Meyer tells Moskin that in time of crisis he’s “unwilling to deny any extra compensation that might be available to employees.” Presumably, USHG is eyeing cash flow savings from the tip credit too, though on top of this, the “group will institute a revenue-sharing system for back-of-house employees, and their overall compensation will go up 20 to 25 percent.”
There’s a bit of a backlash to this backtrack on Twitter (shocking), but he’s (mostly) right here: “‘Until the law allows all of our workers be paid a fair wage, tips are the only way to make the system work,’ Mr. Meyer said.” Right?
Maybe more accurate: Tips are the system.
P.S. - Here’s Meyer’s full statement on LinkedIn yesterday. Don’t mean to brag, but we’re 3rd degree connections.
Meanwhile… some are taking this “opportunity” to go the opposite direction. Per WCP’s Sarah Cooke: “Since they’ve reopened, three D.C. restaurants have changed how customers settle their bill with the aim of providing employees a better quality of life at a time when anxiety is running high. Seven Reasons, Thamee, and ANXO Cidery & Pintxos Bar have all instituted service charges in lieu of or in addition to tips.” We shall see.
The Departure – Feels a bit like public confirmation of old news, but Gabriela Cámara posted on her Instagram this weekend that she was out at Onda in LA. In response, her erstwhile business partner Jessica Koslow told Eater LA’s Mona Holmes that nothing has changed, but that may just confirm the old news part of this news.
The End of an Era – “Historic New Orleans restaurant K-Paul's closes after 41 years in French Quarter…. Paul Prudhomme, who died in 2015, oversaw the charming Chartres Street restaurant for decades.”Details via Maria Yagoda in Food and Wine, including an opportunity: “According to the restaurant's statement, the K-Paul's building will be for sale.”
The Suits – “The coronavirus, combined with sprawling tent encampments in San Francisco’s Mid-Market, has created an untenable situation for the neighborhood’s restaurants that the city needs to fix, argues a lawsuit filed Thursday in federal court. Several Mid-Market residents and businesses, including Roman-style pizza restaurant Montesacro Pinseria and local Greek chain Souvla, have sued the city of San Francisco over negligence, alleging the city has facilitated an unsafe environment on the streets.” Janelle Bitker has those details in the Chronicle. NB: “It’s similar to a lawsuit that residents and business owners in the Tenderloin filed earlier this year, which the city ultimately settled in part by agreeing to remove 70% of the Tenderloin’s tents.”
Pre-pandemic, anytime I posted about a restaurant closing in mid-market, I’d almost always get a reply saying, “You know why, right?” and it was always about the sidewalk out front…
And last but not least – ICYMI, the New Yorker’s Helen Rosner re-posted some fake food magazine covers she did for Eater a while back, and… they hold up. If you can’t wait to read, “Dining Alone. 3000 Words of Desperate Personal Essay,” or have also thought, “Turkeys kind of look like people doin’ it, huh?” You’ll love: Gout.
And that’s it for today.
I’ll see you here Friday for next Family Meal.
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