Chef Overcomes SF Staff Crisis with Profit Sharing Business Model


Running a restaurant is about profit and loss, inventory management, marketing, and of course food, but managing people is something that can prove to be anyone’s biggest challenge. You would think that this type of profit sharing model would boost staff morale and encourage loyalty.

“It’s hard to say what the effect has been so far,” says Moriarty. “I think the real benefits will be felt in the long run, like at the end of the year when the profit share comes in, we’ll see the effects as we go along. As for the way we used to do things, everyone earns more than before, except for the captains, who earn more from tips. So everyone is making more money, from managers to cooks, everyone is getting more benefits and I think there is more stability in that. It really increases the “team feeling”.

Hospitality is not an easy career, and those who stay in it need a passion for it. For Moriarty, these people are worth the extra dollars.

“In the hotel industry, you also have to take into account that it’s a very difficult job, I think we should pay them more, but we can’t afford it. It’s better than it was, but there is also room to move forward. I think everyone should be making an extra 5,000 or 10,000 per person, but we’re not there yet. Everyone earns a living wage, that’s for sure, and that’s good, but it has to be the bottom floor of things, not the final step. “

This type of experimentation requires buy-in, first from the staff, but ultimately from the customers. So far, Moriarty says, there has been no setback, even if it forces the customer to abandon the culture of tipping.

“We haven’t had a single complaint or even a comment on the new system. I think people understand, there was a service charge before, we don’t allow tips, there isn’t even a tip line on the credit card bill when presented, it doesn’t There is no operation for people to tip but they get it. “

“I think at first there was some positive feedback and people were like ‘oh I saw this article, that’s great ‘, but now it’s normal for customers, people come just to have a good meal. We had a client who came with his friends and got all the extras, and he came back two days later to tell us we should charge more. Maybe one day.”

Moriarty understands that it can be easy to lose sight of the fact that restaurants are all about hospitality, and just like in a home, it’s hard to be hospitable if family members are unhappy. “Everything translates into a good experience. You can’t have good hospitality, a good standard of food, if your staff hold a grudge.

And after several blocks, he’s happy with the way things are picking up.

“Overall, it’s going very well. Financially, it has been surprising to see how the region has rebounded. I expected to see more hesitation from customers, but we were full and I have heard this from other restaurants.

It seems Moriarty has found a new way of working, a role model for other restaurants to follow, but the chef says other restaurateurs should be wary of embracing him unless they are fully convinced it will work from there. of them. Not everyone will be able to do this.

“You have to start realistically with your sales. That’s why we kind of started lower, we wanted to see how much business we were doing now being sold every night, I feel comfortable hiring a little more. We started off a bit more naked than we would have been.

“From a cooking point of view, we had to really think a little more about the menu. “What can the five of us do?” … And as we go along we got bigger, and now we can think about what we can do with seven and that opens things up.

“So we had to work a little harder to both simplify and at the same time elevate the menu to fit the workforce system. Has the new system affected the menu and the cuisine offered? It is, but not necessarily the way you think. “

“It’s been a transition on my part, but there are some things that I have that other restaurateurs don’t have. One is that I own it 100%, I don’t have investors that I have to appease or involve in the decision I can give half of the profits if I want.

As for plans for the future, aside from an idea to open a wine bar a little further away, Moriarty is just looking to try and be in the moment.

“We’re just focusing on being better,” he says. “It’s been a dramatic year, I just feel lucky to have a job.”


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