The Tasting Panel magazine

June 2016

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4  /  the tasting panel  /  june 2016 One of the most daunting and persistent issues affecting restaurant management is personnel. Finding and keeping competent staff is an on-going challenge for restaurateurs nationwide. This problem is particularly acute in markets with a large number of quality restaurants competing for the consumer dollar. In New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas, Miami, Seattle and San Francisco, the competi- tion for quality servers and kitchen staff is intense. Finding the best people and then keeping them is a fulltime job. In most of the markets mentioned above, there just aren't enough good people available to fill all the positions that are needed. Many restaurateurs are forced to raid the staffs of competing eateries. Often they have to compromise and hire people who don't quite measure up. So what is the solution to this serious problem? A few weeks ago, in San Francisco, I went to an amazing res- taurant called Cala. It is a remarkable upscale Mexican place offering unique and creative food. As a result of its excellence, Cala is extremely popular and always extra busy. In addition to great food, I was impressed by the smooth, seamless service as well as the professionalism of the staff. Imagine my surprise when I found out that 75% of the staff of this hot restaurant are ex-convicts. The operators of Cala have solved the personnel problem in an efficient and creative way. It turns out that ex-cons make excellent employees. They can be devoted hard-workers who take their work seriously. They also, because of the opportunity they have been offered, show their appreciation with loyalty. Another benefit is that the government offers special tax incentives for those who hire ex-convicts. If you're interested in taking this road to solve their personnel problems, there are a number of organizations and websites that offer assistance. A few of those are: The National H.I.R.E. Network,, America Works and Delancey Street Foundation. If you have a problem finding competent employees, give some consideration to this solution. I'm sure you won't regret it. —Anthony Dias Blue Editor in Chief A Convincing Solution A LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

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