The Daily Rail: How One Chef is Using Food to Talk About Mass Incarceration

STAFF: Why Restaurants Should Offer PTO Sick Time to Staff

Providing your employees with paid sick time is a complex issue involving the well-being of your staff, protecting your guests from illness, and shielding your restaurant's reputation and bottom line.


Chicken Dinner

It's a common story. A group of colleagues go out for lunch and one of them is a slow eater, taking his or her time to finally clear the plate while everybody else watches on. In many countries, taking your time over a meal is pretty normal, according to data released by the OECD. People in France tend to spend the most time eating and drinking per day on average at 2 hours and 13 minutes. Here’s how the USA and Canada stack up.

Infographic: Where People Spend The Most Time Eating & Drinking  | Statista You will find more infographics at Statista

Are You a Ramen Head?

Ramen Head is a new documentary about noodle obsession and the art of Japanese noodle soup. It debuts today in LA and NYC, but if you’re not in either city you can tantalize your senses by watching the trailer here.  Director Koki Shigeno spent 15 months speaking to Japan’s top ramen chefs about their work.

Extorted for Cocaine

Former ESPN president John Skipper says he was extorted by cocaine dealer, leading to resignation from ESPN in December. Skipper said his cocaine habit rarely interfered with his work, and was usually careful in his dealings. Not this time, apparently.


What it means to you: Mass incarceration is a problem in the US, and one chef is using food to bring the discussion to the table.

Food has always been a unique way of expression. Every culture, every region, every person or people have their own way of cooking up a meal. And you can learn a lot about what matters to those people and how they live through their cuisine.

Kurt Evans is using that power to talk about the mass incarceration problem in the US through his End Mass Incarceration dinner series. Held throughout the Philly area, multi-course meals are a wide variety of dishes, including chi chi (dish typically made by inmates of ramen noodles, some hot water, and crushed up puffy orange doodles) and some soul food. There’s also heavy discussion facilitated by a formerly incarcerated Black man meant to engage and educate the diners about issues related to the US criminal justice system, which incarcerates black people 5x higher than whites.

We’ve been a big proponent of the Purpose Economy. It’s all well and good to make great food and provide a great experience for your guests, but should it end there? We’re in a particular strong position in our local communities and have a platform to do some good. What’s the purpose of your restaurant? What does it stand for? How can it make a positive impact on our community outside of food and drink? If we can answer these questions, maybe we can start making some real progress.


Why it matters to you: What can we learn about Taco Bell’s redesign effort?

Taco Bell has been re-imagining its brand over the past few years and seem to have found a formula that they really like. Instead of having a singular prototype and then carbon copying it all over the US (as we tend to see with franchises), they’re relying on “kit of parts” to create unique and personality-driven décor.

The brand now relies on four base designs — “modern explorer,” “heritage,” “California mid-century Modern” and “urban” — and modifies them depending on the site and location.

While most of us don’t have multiple locations to worry about, we can still learn a trick or two from Taco Bell’s redesign effort. For starters, break out of the box what is expected of your restaurant and start looking for décor that really tells the story of who you are. Secondly, keep it simple. Taco Bell stripped anything it considered “extraneous and didn’t have a function from an operational perspective.” It also allows for future updates without huge alterations to constructions.