I have recommended State Park in a couple of recent threads and, combined with this thread, some may wonder if I have a personal connection to the restaurant. My only connection to State Park -- which I suspect is true for many people on this board -- is that I have been a big fan of Rachel and Alon from back in the days when they ran Rachel's Kitchen (now Mike & Patty's) in Bay Village. I did make a donation to the fundraiser they ran back when they were looking to open a restaurant in Cambridge (which ultimately became the wonderful Hungry Mother), and became friendly enough with Rachel and Alon to say hello and have a chat with them whenever I encountered them in one of the restaurants. (I no longer live in Cambridge, and unfortunately have not run into them in quite some time.) I have no other connection to them or their restaurants.
I am on their mailing list, and received this email today explaining a price increase. I think what they're doing is incredibly admirable. Rather than getting angry at the increase, I think understanding and supporting the reason for the increase is reason to patronize their restaurants now more than ever. Of course reasonable people can disagree -- some could argue that the pay raises going to their employees should have come out of their own pockets -- but that's not the conclusion I have reached. Here is the email:
Happy March !
(Although sitting here writing this, it feels like January ... )
Let's remember our year of positivity - laugh at the storms and think about how much better spring will be when it finally arrives.
This month we want to share with you our shift in business model that we recently undertook ... In case you missed our announcement:
We are proud to announce that as of March 6, 2017, we have enacted revenue sharing among all of our kitchen staff. In addition to salaries and hourly wages, 5% of all food sales will be shared directly with our talented chefs, line cooks, prep team, bakers and dishwashers. This hard working crew is comprised of culinary school graduates, first time restaurant employees, immigrants, artists and creative, intelligent people all of whom work together to put delicious food on your plates.
There have been a number of questions regarding how and why we have chosen to do this.
The short answer boils down (pun intended!) to this:
- Restaurant profit margins are slim, so paying top dollar for a sustainable wage for our employees, although in our core mission, becomes unsustainable at some level.
- Kitchen workers are not allowed (by law) to share in gratuities, which could be construed as a fair way to raise wages.
- In order to sustain this plan we raised our prices 5% at State Park
- At Mamaleh's, we were overdue for a reassessment of accurate pricing since opening in July, 2017. It happened to line up with our revenue sharing plans, so we incorporated the 5% as we raised, and lowered, the price of some menu items. The bulk of the increase is based upon food cost and more appropriately reflects what we should have been charging all along.
- In place of a separate administrative fee (another method restaurants have enacted to raise kitchen staff wages) we opted to risk opposition to a price increase in favor of an expected faith in our customers that there would be understanding and support of this change, (the risk being that we lose you as a customer because we are "too expensive") .
We truly hope you will see our vision and support us in this mission, to provide excellent high quality food, drink and atmosphere, and sustainably employ over 100 workers in the Cambridge area.
Warm thoughts on a snowy day,
Rachel, John, Heather, Evan, Alon, Rachel & Tyler