Marcus Samuelsson is the acclaimed chef behind many restaurants worldwide including Red Rooster Harlem, Red Rooster Shoreditch, and Marcus B&P. Samuelsson was the youngest person to ever receive a three-star review from The New York Times and has won multiple James Beard Foundation Awards including Best Chef: New York City.He was tasked with planning and executing the Obama Administration’s first State dinner honoring Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Samuelsson was also crowned champion of television shows Top Chef Masters and Chopped All Stars, and served as a mentor on ABC’s The Taste.View the profile
Katie Button (born in 1984) is an American chef and restaurateur. She holds the title of Executive Chef and CEO of the restaurant group Katie Button Restaurants which includes Cúrate, Button & Co. Bagels, and Nightbell, all located in Asheville, North Carolina.View the profile
About the talk
How we work, maintain company culture and serve the community abruptly changed in March 2020. While technology has helped foster virtual gatherings, it has not replaced the need for great leaders to connect with their communities. The hospitality industry has been hit particularly hard as operators were forced to close, re-think how they conduct business and serve the public. Learn how some of the most dynamic leaders in the hospitality industry have changed their tactics to adapt to the ever-changing health and wellness regulations and lead, motivate and engage their employees, colleagues and communities with empathy despite restrictions to gathering and physical proximity, which can only be described as antithetical to the warm and welcoming ways that this industry conducts business.
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I welcome. My name is Hunter Lewis, the editor-in-chief of Food & Wine magazine and it said it to talk with a of a group of wonderful leaders. Today to tell Dentistry like few others, it was like a giant wave that washed over every boat and every business big and small, everybody that could be course when was completely new rules and protocols. No safety is the new Hospitality in this Brave, New World of uncertainties where a succession of smaller waves continue to batter and threaten. Every
both big and small trust has become the most important thing in business. How do we maintain trust with our customers and our employees? We do that by being more vulnerable and showing more empathy. And doing that more than we've ever done before I must be clear. This is about covid. Stats us about a social justice and racial Reckoning that was long overdue. But as leaders were all still, we're also going to have to manage the younger generation of workers are demanding more from us emotionally that we did from the generations of bosses above us. Be more vulnerable in a pathetic
requires us to fill our own Wells, so we can show her show up to work everyday and lead with the level of empathy and vulnerability that our employees demand of us. And as we look to the future of hospitality important consider whether the customer will be expected, to show the same kind of entity that we're showing her employees. I'm grateful to share this conversation today. We both are considered considered friends in the hospitality business and their courage. During the past year has helped them to move their businesses. Ford us supporting their industry in their
Community. Please meet them. Katie button is a CEO and co-founder of Katie button Restaurant Group in Asheville, North Carolina, which she started with family. When they open the flagship karate in a claim, Spanish tapas restaurant, furoshiki open the market, La, Bodega by karate, lunch offerings and specially Provisions, including Spanish, food and wine that ships nationally. She and her husband Felix. Also open and launch karate, Spanish wine, a long-time dream, Katie's a four-time James Beard Foundation Award nominee, and what a Food & Wine magazine, best new chefs 2015.
She's very focused on sustainability human rights, and a living wage for employees. Please also meet Andy Chabot, the vice president of food and beverage at Blackberry Farm and blackberry mountain in Tennessee and he's responsible for all aspects of managing, the award-winning bourbon to Blackberry Farm and blackberry mountain in his Direction, blackberry wine cellar, Grew From 17,000 bottles 166000 and less than 60 years. I think he's in The Wine Cellar right now. And during his tenure, black reforms are in multiple nominations and three, James Beard
Foundation Awards, Results of meet my friend Marcus Samuelsson, who's the chef in the owner of the Marcus, Samuelsson group with restaurants, worldwide, including Harlem, Montreal in Miami. Marcus was the youngest person ever receive a three-star review from The New York Times and he's won multiple James Beard Foundation. Awards is a TV personality and the author of multiple books including his latest. The rise Blackhawks in the soul of American food, which you can see right behind him and his podcast. This moment with Swedish rapper, Timbuktu, is out now as
well. Marcus and his collaborators of recent created the black businesses matter matching fund, helps, families, employees and businesses in crisis now. And through the post pandemic recovery, Please join me in welcoming Marcus and Katie, and Andy is going to be with you each. Thank you for having us. Absolutely, absolutely Katie. You're a Nashville today in your office and you've been making hundreds of decisions about how to keep your guests in your employees safe. How do you communicate care and Hospitality to your team right now? To let them know
that safety matters as much for you as for them as your guests. The biggest thing, you know that we have realized her I have realized over this past year is the importance of communication. And it's two-way communication in the past. I think, you know, we would think about things makes decisions and then explained the decision to our employees and I really have learned how important it is to involved in the discussion before I just resent, all signs, share financial information, things it previously, I never would have probably share with.
We started doing monthly Zoom meetings are open to every single employee of this week we employed before the pandemic and we had to close their dining rooms. Now, we can force her way back to over 70 and still like 14. Do you know? It's led to improvements in our direct guess communication. So that our staff isn't receiving the front of problems. You know, when when just come in frustrated with having an open conversation where people can share their concerns and faucets and really important coupled with an one meeting. So I've set up time
for employees to schedule a one-on-one meetings with me. And in those meetings, we literally like just talk about them and their personal life as well as like, what what things are going well at work and what things are not going and it's been eye-opening to just get there first. It's a political change. Yeah, I think that the transparency now more than ever in that communication is super important and a network. The workforce is looking for that from us now, who now more than they ever have. Candy with a culture Blackberry Farm, you've talked about
communication being super Kiki. How has, how has the way you've communicated with your team change? Yeah, so you know, that the whole thing really change change for us. I think back in in March, were all trying to figure out how to handle these new challenges and I know it in in food and beverage you were going to be very, you know, face-to-face had a set of departments in in the hotel here. And, you know, so we had to figure out how to communicate to each other, from from distance
already searched it up. For our company, our company has a thousand employees through challenging ourselves, how to communicate. Use a product called up, workplace. Facebook, healing meditation system for a members and managers to be able to post schedules able to talk to each other, to be able to post. Congratulations, that type of thing. We are fairly heavy, an email here in this company for those people that have access to computer and email and on their phone to post. Bulletin, send it, we still have lineups. You know,
and I think something would really try to make sure we did was make sure that the leaders of the senior team and in those managers that work with them were very visible and very communicative throughout all of this. And very honest, I think, you know what Katie is said about being very transparent and maybe sharing more than we ever had. I think it's not everyone expected us to have the answers and he noticed that we didn't have all the answers but we're working on them and we were changing the exercise. We were, we have to follow
and I think that, you know, just being on top of those Communications need to get him more and more and more through as many different Outlets as we have available to us. It is real. Try to do, we're just really have to ramp it up throughout all of this to keep everyone feeling in the loo and in safe. Really when there's a void of information, it gets filled with opinion, I think. In Marcus, what about your culture has changed in and what about your team culture did? Did you double down on and reinforce in and
You know what it is input Ford, over the past year. Well, my business looks very different, right? We're eight different countries. So just like the United States have different laws per state. Tennessee, might be different than New York and is different than New York, but it's still about Hospitality, right? So, I have to like operate very different in Scandinavia because there's a welfare system there. So for knowing someone in Stockholm to Gothenburg both the feeling I'm doing it. But also
on the technical aspect in vastly different than letting someone go in Harlem, right? And the choices that have it, right? You know, we are there is a system in Sweden that we pain into owners of a business but also something like this happens. 80% of my employees salaries guaranteed the right there. I knew that my Swedish staff and most Canadians that they would be okay. No one is happy about what's happening, but there would be okay, right? And that simplified the process Canada where in Canada Montreal as well.
It's a blend between America and and Sweden. But again the staff would be okay. So I just felt like how we operated in Harlem and how we open our the hearing over time due to the model of fast that I decided and committed to work with the are restaurants Harlem and Nova Johnson African-American areas in. Tom Lee, where covid have been hit the worst in the in both New York ending in Miami-Dade. And it's also in areas of poverty. So I had to really both have empathy but also navigate in a very different way. So what happened to us was in Red,
Rooster in Harlem, with tuna 54 people before I leave for the pandemic and an overtime where would 90 people? Well, 30, 40% of them. I can keep in Harlem, 25%, I can done navigate to new business opportunities, one in New Jersey. But also turning streetbird around to virtual business and I can I have some people work on that. For me it was really as a business leader. I really have to be an entrepreneur and a manager at the same time with the team communicate quickly. In order to restore some of this is us but to restoring
jobs and that was the first. I would say that was between March 15th and in a way into the summer also having partners like World Central Kitchen, helped us tremendously were able to put that we were able to survive in Harlem but I also great provider jobs, right? So I would say Never has it ever been more important for us to be part of a community? I could call her say I'm dressed up I could partner with Independent Restaurant Coalition the by the way didn't exist before this, right? So I have to say in the worst of time
our community would wear with everyone. Here is part of I've also done some of its most important work and it came out of true leadership out of desperation but we have each other and we have empathy and we have a half out here that we didn't even take for granted and a business-like. Blackberry Farm or Blackberry Mountain. It's in the same room as a mom-and-pop because of this has never happened before. So I find there's a lot of Great collaboration that we didn't have
that actually. Hopefully our I know we will keep during and post. There's also some positive sign that come out of this year and I'm extremely proud to be part of that. Be a restaurant work and be part of our community. Demarcus something I was thinking about when you were talking about your international business and the different waves that we've been seeing of of covid in the different pressures from country to Country. How, how did you take the information that you were learning from your people in Sweden or your team in Canada and apply
where you able to apply some of those lessons to your overall operations and Messi stats is actually a strength in being International and maybe better understanding of how local municipalities are dealing with us. But maybe also how culturally different people are dealing with it. I mean, is that we don't have a health care plan for our staff, for the newest member of the staff to pull back, right? This weekend, it's the office, it's maybe the top four answers don't make as much money but I know I never have to worry about. Where is my dishwasher
going to be able to get healthy. And Emil front right there. But guess what? This is the time we needed a government. So we were arguing with a quitter putting that into action and sailing at the same time, my prep Cooks, my dishwashers in Scandinavia, or in Canada. And he would truly have to have to say that, Because of the PPT and because of where we are today, let me do it ever stops going to be okay. But I've lost I'm literally lost them and In Overtown
along my snap also came out of programs post. Tails and things like that and some of those guys went back in because they didn't have a slice is vastly different. Somebody resume the brink of poverty that staring poverty or is it party and all restaurants the way out, right? And those are the reality is that I have to deal with and I'm still Extremely upset about the two specific young guys, that we lost because we couldn't stay open. well, I said that leads me to question for Katie
with minimum wage in in tipping being of a big part of the national conversation right now, you're forced to lay off your team and you step back with your your upper management to set everything and and what your company's values are tells how you changed your model and how did you make a commitment to paying a living wage? Yeah, we waited tipping happens in the US just before for many restaurants in to pay disparity, between basically at your workers, were allowed to receive
texts and how much more income they are making compared to those who are getting an hourly wage without getting any of this. And then surely, there are other restaurants where the workers can't even making minimum wage because they're getting the to 13-hour like sub-minimum wage and they can't even make it up to the 725 an hour. Minimum wage. We saw this moment we struggled to change out of the kind of classic restaurant model of chips. Only going to servers and bartenders and our dishwasher sink.
You know, an hourly wage that was okay but not in comparison to what our friend's house or before making through the giant disparity. I mean 70000 a year and Cooks making dinner 28 to 30 and it just a huge difference was a problem but we can never address it in the past. And then when I realized, I mean, terrible situation to have to lay off a hundred and forty employees in one night and we laid every single person off we thought we were losing everything, that's all our money
situation. What we looked at after we received PPP and we realize that we were going to reopen and bring our staff back and get them rehired, is it? We had an opportunity. All of a sudden we could offer them a new job at a different pay structure. So we chose to follow one of one Fair wages of the group that kind of restaurant, you drop the sub, minimum wage pay for tipped workers. Pay everybody over minimum wage and then you can see all of our hourly manager employees and
change overnight. I mean, literally changing lives are making more money than Realized we changed our pay structure and model for the benefit of everybody's our jobs. Now they're only as we moved for that capacity only going to see it continue to improve and I'm really excited about that. Asheville North Carolina. You just has a group called just economics which calculates living wage pay in our area. And they said it at $17 an hour. Just this January for Asheville, North Carolina
with 1580 being the living wage when you offer health insurance, which we do. So we guaranteed because we're tip-sharing, you know, where guaranteeing that everybody at least is making 1580 an hour. How much more I mean, on our employees are making $20 an hour Break break. Well, and I think this for our audience, to your every, Everybody in the audience has a is a restaurant guest and it will be in the future. And, and I think it's come to find all of us to be thinking more about the cost of goods and services because they have been
subsidized for so long on the, on the backs of of the people working behind the scenes, you know, something to think about, you know, I think one of the one of the few things that people actually want to talk about during this time as growth. There's only stay a survivor's guilt for for businesses that they have actually grown during this time. Not because of this time, but but they're growing because the model is smart, the culture strong, you know, for each of you, you know, an Indian particular to kick this off.
While you are growing and and why you and your, your team are going through a very difficult time during the pandemic personally or professionally. How do you know when to put your foot on the gas and to push your team in? And how do you know when to pull back a bit and maybe ship back into and 1/3 of second gear? Yeah, that is a really tough question to be able to answer because you're not as, as people that like to run successful business operations,
so to speak, to you. And you, and you tried to do it, you know? And often times, that means, you're your offer a senior, you know, you're with him or pushing them to you want to do more than I've ever done and then grow and adapt and change. And so it is it's difficult. You noted the day. I do we need to probably not take that business or not do this. But you know I I think you can really just feel you know, when, when to really push when not to push your
team, but very good at picking up more business at growing at changing, we've always really had a culture of change at blackberry and our taint, our team I think is really, really used to it and so is your face of the business and we're changing, it doesn't feel different and I think we're all getting just more used to the, maybe the weight of that or the way that certain changes. The way that can change your decisions are changes the timing that you can make decisions in
change to go to go this way. We can do this. It seems like every day goes now even more. So than ever did in this industry industry seems to be all about Evolution original point. You know, if it is almost guilty inducing to try to grow business, you know, and then to accept growing business in to make plans that, you know, there are others in the world that are struggling to stay open or haven't been able to stay open and we're making plans to open more outlets in grow more in the team. You know,
to me that that is an emotional challenge. I think that I wasn't expecting and I wasn't expecting Do you have to pee so bad, that emotional weight of two bad things are going well, so to speak. There's no baggage to carry it. Seems like there's just additional weight everywhere for everybody. It's Marcus this point. We're kind of all in this together and we're all feeling that. So there's this, robbery also that comes. I think from that end in, I think top to bottom in the
company. We feel that everyone is is carrying additional emotional weight and then they have people, they know that are struggling and I think there is a sense of one that that comes from that to some degree. It wasn't necessarily there before Marcus, you talked about how the business is beginning to transform and and, and the need to redeploy people to different areas Force. You as a leader to listen, Maybe in a way that you hadn't before, would it be more adaptable to people's
needs than before? Sure, but I think it was the year when the word we took away from 2020. I hope empathy is the word that we leave within 20 21, right? And I think that the infancy and thinking about First Technology privilege, right? We are everyone of this panel in the majority of people live in. Listen to this, we're privileged enough to be able to have access to some type with the traditional money, or some type of a well where we can go to friends and family
and navigate through that terrible triplets right in the restaurant industry, we're really three buckets. We are the huge chain restaurants that probably did better than ever because whatever they're fast with it. Then the roof. The bucket that we belong to, we have Brands, we are the highest that was meant to people. No from locally and Nationwide. Know, if people knows us soon, we have Privileges and opportunities to really Hold on, bro. So, possibly grow but they just not right cuz that's the mom-and-pop
immigrants or buy colored ribbon. For me. It's very important that No one should feel guilty about being able to grow because it grows also, great job. We have to have empathy for people the name and our country look like us and feel like us or take us but don't have access to the. Now, the question is, how do I bring that third Community into this world, either black or partnering with us rights to? Those are the type of things that the people Like all of us in the panel is really, but we need to dig harder V. Is there a black farmer close to Tennessee
or Asheville that I can now? Give my business to did? I cannot grow my business? Can I help her or him to become a nationwide business by? Maybe I can give my recent, big old belly to this partner, so they can also start selling an exempt, right? It's really about empathy and thinking about how do I bring my resources to this partner over here? That needs it and probably does not navigate through this. Put the number to, the numbers are important of all black and brown
business. Businesses were closed because of covid-19 The different groups in our country and our world are going to be hit extremely hard, vaccinator or not. But it's really going to be who I know you do for me. It's about hiring and growing hiding from the community and everyone here can do different things. But for me, it's really rough. This is the big reset button, right? This is the big reset button that happen of our watch in our generation. So now it's about to go back to my grandparents and he was
outside our comfort zone. So we all can move forward at 1. Well, and I think it's say, you're a big reset button for us as Leaders. As we think about how much is vulnerability. We should show our our team members, you know, whether it's in his one-on-one meetings, that Katie was talking about or in front of the entire team as a leader, is that I lose credibility. If I don't show more of myself now than maybe I did before we're maybe before a couple years ago there was a bit
of a wall up as a leader. We're okay. I'm the boss and you know what, there's a certain armor on in a certain wall on because that's the way you know that I was taught but now especially from our younger employees and Workforce. What I'm what I'm realizing that is if you don't show more of yourself as a human being, maybe that that trust isn't there any of you something? Yeah absolutely. I mean you know I ate when when when I started having these like monthly Zoom meetings with our team, I realize that there were a few things that
needed to be included, open discussion among everybody to talk about things on inspirational, kind of ideas and thoughts so that they could get in my head and see that I had a future pass and could get some sense of positivity, but also that vulnerability on my own side like before, opening up a discussion about something. It always works best. If I point the finger at myself first, by saying, I think, I remember a call that we had in November with our team and the group that helps
people who are struggling with the pandemic stress has been so extreme anymore worth Politics and our children, with whatever it is. The tensions are really high and brought in somebody from the, the best friends group is going to talk about that. Resetting, you know, that I had noticed in myself that says, March from, when things ended, this all of a sudden I was drinking, you no more wine and beer than I ever have in my life. You know, like just check it like every night I was coming home and one
for myself, a glass or finishing a works, and feeling stressed, and taking a toll, you know, and I knew that I needed to reset and sleep was a problem is openly talked about how I see a therapist, you know, and I know that I have the ability to see a therapist, but we offer a counseling services. Some things are just encouraging that it's incredibly stressful and feel less alone. Yo Marcus, you talked about this personal life and and going through the pandemic and and then there's a professional life and going to the pandemic and individually and collectively
we all hit certain walls during this time. I mean if you can't exactly literal year ago, we were on the verge of opening here in Miami and have to let all of that go I watch for week. I didn't pick up my phone because it was just Niger news. What are we going to do with your panic attack? And I was like, how is it first? I felt sorry for myself. So, upset over 25 years for this. How can you sing so bad for yourself? Right once. To my wife, and my son and my team members, we were able to work. Then I was like, now it's your turn to go back and give it
right. And I think there is so much underneath the year whether it's You can going to post traumatic stress. There's so many mental health issues, underneath all of this. And we haven't even gotten to yet. Because right now it's all about the vaccine and getting back into whatever The New Normal there. Calvert's going to be with us for the next 10 to 12 years in one aspect of shape or form. It will impact how we engage. It will impact in so many different ways, but that
emotional impact as a family of fear of getting out there, Should we should, we should know. We should know. It was, very, very difficult on the professional side and then Being professional in front of your staff or sometimes. I wasn't up for it and then understand it. Like, you know what? Someone else has to drive this meeting today because if you can't do it, and The Show Must Go On by step up and admit that and show that, and then come back tomorrow and say, hey, Yesterday, I was supposed to talk about that. I wasn't
mentally ready for that. They've never heard me at the shop say that, but I was like, I'm not here. I wasn't here, I wasn't ready. I was dealing with. friends of mine, who passed away my uncle, got really sick and eventually passed away and I'm still dealing with it and but I'm lucky. I have a team and tons of great leaders and you people are stepping up, but it, but it's it's not like I'm out of. It's not like we're still in it. Well, I'm in Marquez. I don't mean to make light of of what you've gone through. But you know what, their times when I think about it almost like the
during the 80s with with this cage match wrestling matches where you can tap out, you know, you happy now, she never comes in to fight this battle and I've even talked to my team about that, there's been a few days here and there where that one is okay, I'm stopping out in and I told the team to that you two look like they're they're going to be good days and bad days on bad days. I've got your back and my bad days. Hopefully, there are fewer down the road, but I expect the same, you know, it ain't collectively that that seems to be working. During during this,
this Evan flow What's the talk about what's to come? You know Dad's as we look forward and vaccinations are beginning to take hold and I'm so grateful that many states and local municipalities are seeing the need for restaurant workers as front-line workers to be vaccinated. And I'm encouraged by that roll out so far. What, what was change for each of you, as you think about? Your guess and are you going to ask them to step up to the table and maybe in a new way? Moving toward maybe to show more empathy in the in this house study equation.
Yo Hunter, I'll jump in if that's okay. First of all, very lucky that. I think we have some great guests at our hotels, in in in our restaurants. Safety and personal space are going to be going into the future. And I think space away from other people is the new luxury. If it wasn't already a new luxury ask for that long, after your things are back to with, you know, what you talking about the new normal whenever vaccinated. And you know, the government says, Matt, aren't the thing you need any more
lingering effects of the potential of something like this happening in the feeling or the I think our guests are going to continue to feel that and request that and I think we had operators need to respond to that in to make plans that Take me to account. You know I've always felt like hospitality is best when you anticipated and you don't make a guest request it. Now if you can if you can provide that but I know that that names for a lot of places United
operate in tight spaces and on tight margins like that, that will be a huge challenge that everyone faces. I think that is going is going to almost I don't know if you make things very difficult for a lot of people feel lucky. We have a lot of space here in Tennessee and we don't have the rent of a New York restaurants or San Francisco states that we can really spaced out. And I also believe that there's going to be a I think he'll be this pent-up demand for travel, but I still think I'll be a lingering effect. Some kind of safety is
IR in Noble and more kind of driving business, and I think we'll see. I think Mark has mentioned this one time when we were talking about how we will see more people staying closer to home. I think, for a longer. Of time, and in that might be a 10 hour drive, but still closer to home tonight. I think I'll be lingering I want to get to to, to what this means locally for business here in a minute. But if you could drill down a bit more about this, in the context of I'm going to make a reservation and then I'm going to
go out to eat what, what might I tell the host or what might that reservation app, require in terms of my feelings about what you call covers, the code of conscious versus? Like, you know what? That might look like when I come and stay at the resort and what am I being for for a hotel? But I can tell you she or you know one thing I mean are our hotel to the light on individual combinations and so that I can take care of itself a huge rise in the desire
for in our dining in that type of dining service. And I think there's something to offering more options in that category. Nice to drai's in the request for private life, private dining spaces. And so I see that request a lot. I also see the request to be seated as far away from us is possible which in some instances by the real challenge. Operational. You know, if you have 150 guests coming to the restaurant that seats. No, hundreds, you have to turn fifty percent of the restaurant. All you really
troubled by the table that's far away from other guests. And you know what? They offer your kind enough, private dining spaces in and things like that. But I wonder are some of the things that we see, you know, you're in Boulder and Tents outside a restaurant has continued and I think probably they will to offer the flexibility that a lot of spaces. There's there was a model when you put as much into a small space as you can and I'm not sure that that's a model to continue forward.
Hunter. I think, I'll send you if you, you have to think about it, almost like Consumer Behavior. December 2019. And today, in River Forest, it's almost opposite in the way by if you looked at a bar before said, that looks great busy and we used to walk in. Now, you might listen to what is that mean? What is the new luxury space is in your lunch break, right? But I also think we got to stay open for other ways of being social right in our outdoor patio, New Jersey. We had this in laws, we might keep them when we don't need them in the spring
because the new hybrid way of Entertaining, my baby. I do bring the laptop in to enjoy a comfortable with this planet, but I want to hang out after work with one online for like, this might be people in the room that we would be in her room and then we broadcast, we going to do event. As hybrid going to do private events hybrid, we going to do dinner differently before. Maybe you went through the along tasting menu, maybe you now have to communicate as a chef to stain sing through four courses instead because
you have to turn that table to say, hey, I'm only going to do 50 covers today and they're all going to have a 12 course, tasting menu. We have all the space in the world to do it. So there is not one model, you really got to study. Business and be like, okay, who are we, who are, we communicating to? And the answer, for the next eight to nine months is probably your only alone. You are a local business with a little bit of virtual and eventually you will get that convention business. Maybe maybe backfill, it's a 40-32 40%. Last, you will get the tourist business
back, right? And One Direction, 22 or 23 or 24? I have no idea to pencil. You are, we have to think about ourselves as a local business. And actually, that's not bad because Wherever You Are. That local audience and maybe couldn't afford you before it was touching talk to you before. Now you're forced to communicate with that audience in a different way, and I think that could be good. Soap before the pandemic happened, you know, we thought of ourselves as restaurant operators like we were opening a Restaurant Group different concepts and things in different locations and
that was the path that we were on the sudden. We realized that that's not who we are, what we are, is the brand and put people in a variety of different ways of educating them about staying giving me the exceptional experiences, but now we do it, not only through our Flagship restaurant, The Crusade bar de Tapas, but we have a retail shops, then we have our wine glass at home, which is my shipping, so we can ship, you know, our products and experiences direct people wherever they
are and our clients and customers. Always answer when I think about gross and things. It's our rebuilding is different. You know what I said before? We were at a hundred and forty employees and then went to 7740 number. He's going to look fastly different than what we looked like in February of last year. Well, I think about the way consumer Behavior has changed and some of the numbers I'm seeing for things like online, wine wine ordering, which is just
skyrocketing, it shows you that, that consumers are, are hungering for the experiences that they had in restaurants at home. And there is pent-up demand to get back out there and into dine-in to stay. But when it comes to Virtual, what will this mean for you? For your business, is down the road and in and how will you serve them? I mean, I think that virtual is now just a component of who we are and what we do, you know, with our wine club we do. I do bees like monthly cooking
demonstrations and bring people in my kitchen at home to make something casual. I don't know. I think they will always continue doing that. We're just adding ways that we connect with our guests. That never existed before. And it I think that's kind of excited. What in Marcus, imagine that being on camera allows you to be in in more people's homes, then maybe could be in your restaurants at a certain time. Yeah, I mean, first of all, it's fascinating, I mean, business studies can be done about this error, right? It just it's all new living in an
experienced. Virtual is Don't lie a chainsaw, do Julia Child's PBS when they drop the chicken and move on. Peopling Deli in San Paulo. And Harlem was speaking to one another, on a cooking class, I'm doing a free dose were not virtue in a weird way, and finding that balance, and we can also be much more I can do much, much more real. This is not something that if you call yourself with the bride, we all have different structural Family TV, show up. When you come up, this person that is so far away.
So I do things like we have to look at this again. Virtuous part of who we are today just like Cat kiss, part of who we are as businesses in some aspects, right? So we learned something quicker, probably, because of them never let up any way that we possibly can do. And I would say this is not just for celebrity chef or people with a great local or Nationwide brand that Mom and Pop that have that local following a virtual but they do it on Facebook, whatever the flag store in this actually become democra democracy. Instead
of the local restaurant in a way and I hope that happens when people always say, what can I do to tell? Guess what everyone has a skill. You have to set that up to set that up. So again, this cannot be the great opportunity for people like us and the death for the local restaurant. We have gained Nothing by doing that. Does it have to be an opportunity where we always can support each other and move forward? So I really hope that that's what's going to happen if there's
enough space, for all of us. We've got a few more minutes here. I want to. I want to get inside of your your Spotify playlist than you, can your podcast, in your bookshelf for a second here to better understand what you're reading, what you're listening to, what you're watching when you're not at work, the things that inform you. So Andy I'll start with you. What what are you reading or listening to or watching right now to fill your will? So you know what's interesting? I've
been watching the I-10 to watch, you know, things when I bite look on a stationary bike, is it to get in these videos while playing for change cuz he's really, you know, a great musicians from around the world. No playing song that is more famous song. And you know you see all these sort of happy people in it and all these different cultures and people being close to each other and it has really brought me a lot of Joy serve in escapists way possible again. And
then I spend great as far as you're watching and listening your two, two things for me has been great in that, I honestly French appointment at 10 to read a moment for me. Katie who you turn into. I like brene brown eyes from her podcasts and books and things and and they're helping me to be a better leader. When I go out my talk to my team, so they come, they come from. That's better place as for reading, and I also like nine hundred Pages taking forever. I've been reading it since July. I love it. The iPad beginning to think that brene brown working
is becoming Like Oxygen for leaders, you know, you need a couple, a couple of doses of it before you go into battle Marcus. How about you? You know, when I before I work with stuff like that. So early in the morning I very often and just start with the daily, let me listen to Sweet form. When your sister get both of BBC just to get you different aspect, go for a run, you know, I just heard about this new band us, like, might be the new OutKast Atlanta, so they call Earth and stop listening to them and try to understand what's going on
by Isabella Richardson. When she really talks about all the different is in between breaks down class and race in an incredible way helpful, for all of us. Thank you for that. We've got one more minutes here. One more question for each of you. One leader that you look to who's inspiring you. What's up with Andy? All right, that is a good question. I think you look around, you know, there's a lot of great leaders. You know how I would say that the president of our company is coming and giving me a lot of
confidence, going to the Saints met Alexander and a lot of moving Parts, but he's been there for it all. How about you, Katie? I'll just jump in and say Jose Andres. I think that he has taught me that you can be more and make a bigger impact than the food. Yeah, I will go. I mean definitely giving us a lot of strength. There is a woman in a Swedish woman. Alex baucom Kashi time. in the EU and the EU that was seven under Parliament members Not that many women, only four of them are women of color and she's one of them and the
battle that she's doing for equality. Look at Elizabeth so many different things and she always does this in any way, that doesn't make other person feel bad, so I really admire way of navigating through very, very tough conversations. Well, thanks to each of you for this hour. It's been a pleasure speaking with you. I appreciate your strength and your your courage, during the past year, in the vulnerability, and see that you're showing your teams at the new businesses and I cannot wait to see each of you, the restaurant sometime
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