Chef Scott McGehee of Yellow Rocket Concepts, the restaurant group that owns ZaZa, Big Orange, Heights Taco & Tamale, Local Lime and Lost Forty, made a post to Facebook today in support of the greater service industry community — an underappreciated community that has worked throughout the pandemic facing a mostly unmasked public while still having to enforce sporadic mask rules. People in the service industry have worked long hours, dealt with labor shortages, been yelled at by customers politicizing masks and been deemed essential but are mostly uninsured and underpaid. Many have left the industry. Read McGehee’s message below.
Speaking up for service industry employees — Please read and consider if you can.
My employees and other food service employees around Arkansas have been on the front lines for over 18 months. They have been amazing. They deserve a huge amount of respect and appreciation for what they have endured, and what they continue to endure.
They have been patient and resilient with a high volume of uniquely mean guests above and beyond the usual… they have showed up to work during the worst days of this pandemic to help feed people around Arkansas… they have enthusiastically helped me execute food donations to food insecure children and students… and to teachers, nurses, and front line workers… even when it meant adding some additional work to their shifts.
They have been asked to enforce state rules and regulations to grown people who often want to take their political frustrations out on them.
Literally I’ve had 16 year old hosts working at my door with grown men screaming in their faces for simply doing their job. NOTHING infuriates me more, and if you ever see this happening anywhere it’s all of our responsibility in our communities to protect these young people. I don’t tolerate it. None of us should – please. Call them out for me when you witness it.
I plead with you to continue to be understanding and kind and patient — more so than usual. This pandemic is not over and in many ways it’s more difficult now in this industry than a year ago.
I ask that you wear a mask when in close proximity to my employees, even though it’s not currently mandated, at least while this Delta variant rages. They are most likely vaccinated and masked up themselves, but understand that they are in close proximity to hundreds of guests a day, and that every layer of protection they receive is extremely appreciated.
I ask that you tip beyond what is considered exceptional when you can. I take pride in taking care of my people and paying them very fairly… but any extra money they make beyond the usual allows them to reduce the stresses away from work by getting ahead on bills or saving for well deserved vacations.
Honestly I have a ton more to say but I fear if I keep typing people may not read it.
So please —- my message since day one — #takecareofeachother
I know we are all frustrated and over this pandemic —- but let’s all take a deep breath and try to get through this next phase with mutual respect and appreciation.
Thank you and I love and appreciate you all.
McGehee’s recently delivered food from Big Orange to frontline healthcare workers at UAMS and the Arkansas Heart Hospital.
Others in the service industry have been showing appreciation to hospital workers as well. @ The Corner has been using its Cinnamon Roll it Forward campaign to deliver cinnamon rolls to hospitals.
Want to #cinnamonrollitforward to share gratitude to our healthcare workers? Venmo $5 to our account: @thecornerlr or our cash app $ATTHECORNERLR. We will then deliver cinnamon rolls to our healthcare workers!
Trio’s recently delivered 80 “Health Care Hero” meals to Arkansas Children’s Hospital. Trio’s delivered 75 meals to staff in the ICU units and triage at UAMS today. If you or your business would like to donate Trio’s meals to area hospitals, go to the restaurant’s website and select online ordering. Each meal is $10 with tax included.