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Celebrity Chefs in the (Bad) News

June 25, 2013

ramsey memeMy son loves the Food Network and can name quite a few of the celebrity chefs. Two of his favorites are Giada De Laurentiis and Paula Deen, the latter having made some news recently that I’m not sure how to broach with my special son. Ms. Deen’s controversy erupted after comments she made in a deposition defending herself in a discrimination lawsuit by a former employee. Another chef in the news for reasons even more relevant to this space is Gordon Ramsay. I’d never heard of the guy, but he’s facing a class-action lawsuit brought by former restaurant employees because he allegedly, “failed to pay minimum wages for the hours they worked as well as meal breaks, overtime wages and more.”

As a public service from a supporter of fine restaurants, and because my son may like the guy, I’d like to recommend our cloud-based Workforce Ready for Mr. Ramsey’s 27 restaurants. Existing Workforce Central customers may want to consider our Attestation Tool Kit to help with this type of compliance issue. Either will help them stay compliant with wage and hour laws, but I’m not sure it will help Mr. Ramsey be any nicer. I’ve never been to one of his restaurants, but I do wonder how his treatment of employees translates into the customer experience.

Anyway, speaking of customer experience, Kyle and I had one in NYC a few years back. We were in Manhattan to see “Mama Mia,” and had dinner at Felidia, a recommendation in one of those hotel books. Oooh, it was fancy Italian, and I couldn’t find anything on the menu for Kyle. The waiter, understanding my plight, went into the kitchen and returned describing a simple rigatoni with marinara. Beautiful. About a week later, we were surprised to see their Executive Chef, Fortunato Nicotra on “Iron Chef America.” I then realized just how “fancy” Felidia was, but the experience we had wasn’t just about the food. The experience at Felidia was created by leadership, an empathetic and empowered employee, a great product, and great service. And that’s a good recipe for any business.

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