A new and necessary restaurant guide has the goods on local worker treatment
That's just not cool in a town that nominally protects workers against all these things by law. Liu says CPA would like to publish a guide similar to Dining With Justice to reward responsible restaurants but has run into cultural stumbling blocks. Law-abiding businesses didn't want to be singled out as such because, owners said, it would make their neighbors look bad. "Everyone knows minimum wage in Chinatown is $1,000 a month," says Liu. "They didn't want to be known as the goody two-shoes."
There are clear challenges to improving the lot of the person serving you your brunch, burritos, and dim sum. But everyone has a part to play in making it happen. "At this point, we're just asking consumers to be aware," Liu says.
Efforts like Dining With Justice are a real step in the right direction. YWU plans to expand its scope next year into other city neighborhoods. "Surely there are more than just nine restaurants treating their workers right in this city. We want to know about them," YWU organizer Tiffany Crain tells the room of students assembled before her. Crain added that if anyone in attendance works for a good employer, they should call her — just as they should call her if they are getting cheated out of wages or a healthy working environment.
"You want to make money?" Liu asked SF restaurant owners. "You're going to make money if people think you're a good employer." In San Francisco, diners like to think they're eating sustainably: organic, local, and fair to workers. Also, a chef who is happy in his or her job makes for a better dining experience.
Here are restaurants that scored four stars in Dining With Justice.
1331 Ninth Ave.; (415) 566-3117, www.arizmendibakery.com
384 Hayes; (415) 626-1211
2199 Mission; (415) 875-9258, www.thecornersf.com
590 Valencia; (415) 863-8272 and 581 Hayes; (415) 864-7654, www.frjtzfries.com
2901 Mission; (415) 282-1500, www.missionpie.com
4072 18th St.; (415) 252-9325, www.poesiasf.com
941 Cole; (415) 564-5332, www.zaziesf.com