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Adding Racial Equity to the Menu

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A practical guide to hiring and keeping an integrated workforce in restaurants.

Race Forward, the Center for Social Inclusion (CSI) and the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROCUnited) have released a new guide to hiring, promoting and sustaining an integrated workforce in high end restaurants. Most high end restaurants have an obvious segregation, with white workers at the front of the house as hostesses, sommeliers and servers, while the back of the house is all people of color. ROC United has documented this segregation, and its consequences for people of color in the industry, in multiple reports from across the country.

The guide features two employers who took their businesses through a racial impact assessment to see where they could make new choices. ROC organizes restaurant workers and employers nationwide. The three organizations worked together to create the assessment, come up with options and help the restaurants Alta and Homeroom implement them. They then created this handy guide with arguments for centering racial equity in business, questions, tools and formulas for assessing yours, and tactics for dealing with unconscious bias in hiring and promotion.

There are really inspiring examples and stories here about what the folks at Alta and Homeroom learned about themselves, their communities and their missions. I love this quote from Bryan Blair, the Alta Group's HR manager:

“We have the ability to fix a very broken system. With the help of ROC, we are completely reshaping our staff and our company culture to improve advancement opportunities that have historically been nonexistent to anyone of color... Building a culture where our team consistently works to tear down stereotypes associated with race and job positions and acknowledging the implicit/unconscious biases that exist in daily operations is challenging... but so far, our team is genuinely in love with the new mission, and we have a lot of truly incredible people on our team.”

Get the full guide here.

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