A Word from Chad ~ July 2016

Summer is officially here and we have some great things happening: in addition to our 20th anniversary celebrations, we launch our Iconic menu experience this month, and our new summer menu includes dishes highlighting local, organic produce. We are also building a patio for El Gaucho Seattle, the deck is in full swing at AQUA, and El Gaucho Bellevue’s signature wine event, POUR on the Plaza, is on July 9th. As much as I’d like to talk about our events and other fun activities, I want to take a moment to explain some of the challenges that the restaurant industry is facing right now.

There has been a fundamental shift in the way local governments treat restaurants and it is impacting the way we conduct business, affecting both our guests and our team members. Our shift to service charges in Seattle is just the beginning of what we face in every city we currently operate in except for Bellevue. We didn’t ask for these changes, and we have made adjustments and moved forward, while keeping in mind the best interests for everyone, including our family business values, our guests and team members.

The latest regulation is called predictive scheduling – also known as restrictive scheduling. There are more details in an article I wrote (click here), but the overarching theme is that the City of Seattle would like to regulate how we schedule employees, and essentially micro manage our teams.

I care deeply about the quality of life of each of our employees, and when I talk to them about this, they ask “Why are they doing this? We have a great gig, why are they messing with it?” or “I’d rather not work if it’s going to be slow, why would they get rid of on-call shifts?”

From time to time I share information with you that isn’t specifically about our restaurants, but this is an extremely important issue that everyone needs to understand. We employ 400 people and treat them as the professionals they are. The proposed legislation is simply bad public policy and puts at risk the incredible environment that we, along with many other terrific companies in Seattle, deliver every day.

We need to protect the vibrant restaurant industry that our guests and team value. Restaurants do well when their employees do well. Just because it sounds good, doesn’t mean it does good.

“The most important single central fact about a free market is that no exchange takes place unless both parties benefit.” ~ Milton Friedman

Happy Independence Day!

Until Next Time,
Chad Mackay | President & COO

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