I write to address White Management’s expectations of employees as it relates to discussions of politics and sensitive subjects in the workplace.
First, I want to thank you all for, in general, staying focused on providing fast, friendly guest service to our loyal guests through a terribly disquieting time – Covid-19. Coronavirus hit us all in similar ways, yet it also brought us together around the goals of staying safe, being smart about exposure, and ensuring everyone’s health.
The current national discussion on racism is more fraught – with personal experience, political bias, and uncomfortable truths. Our individual perspectives are informed by our individual experiences. For some, racism is a constant that has for years defined how they move through the world. For others, the issue may not have come up in their experiences. Regardless, our personal experiences have shaped the lens through which we process this national discussion, and it is imperative that we, as thoughtful community members and voters, area able to have a dialogue with friends, family members and community members to understand and process these issues.
How then, do we deal with racism, and the discussion of racism, within our restaurants?
First, racism will not be tolerated under any circumstances. Employees who demonstrate racism do not have a future in our organization. Nor do customers.
Second, there is a time and place for these discussions. As Americans, we need to talk these issues through. We need to understand how these issues effect our community. But these conversations shall not happen within the workplace, but in your homes, with friends and family, in letters to our representatives, and in formal protest movements (wearing masks and social distancing!).
Third, I expect all crew members, while in uniform, to focus on guest service, and to serve all guests with speed, kindness, respect, and enthusiasm.
Fourth, I expect all managers, while in uniform, to model and maintain a workplace culture that is safe, inclusive, respectful, and free of harassment. Managers shall remove team members for not abiding by these tenets.
We are just beginning to discuss how we can improve our operations to be more inclusive of and supportive of all minorities. If you have ideas you’d like to share, please contact me directly.
I am not religious, but I close with a message from the Bible—the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.