Wahaca co-founder reflects on walk-out policy debacle
Mexican restaurant chain Wahaca, co-founded by Thomasina Miers and Mark Selby, came under fire in June for its dine and dash policy, which charged staff for tables that left without paying. Now, the restaurant chain has introduced a tipline for staff who are concerned about the company’s practices, although the policy will retain its clause about waiters being held accountable if believed to be “complicit.” Co-founder Selby said in an interview with Big Hospitality that “the buck stops with me, but I haven’t thought about that policy for ten years. I assumed it wasn’t happening. But if it is, now there’s a way to let me know.”
Selby also said that “In this case we couldn’t explain the situation and I think it was assumed that this was happening every day in all our restaurants, when it wasn’t. But we do appreciate it being brought to our attention.”
As with the initial response, in which co-founder Thomasina Miers responded directly — and at times, sarcastically — to former Camden Labour councillor Sarah Hayward, who reported the issue at the chain’s Kentish Town restaurant, Selby’s remarks suggest that a fundamental failure to communicate throughout the company, as well as an outdated policy that Selby himself has now described as “undefendable,” led to a situation Wahaca could not control. Changing practices that would be described as concerning might be a better solution than introducing a way for staff to describe them as concerning, but at least something has been done. [Big Hospitality]
And in other news...
- A reminder that the U.K.’s favourite ice lolly, the Magnum, is not an ice lolly, whatever lies you may tell yourself.
- Suya’s trifecta of grilled meat, volatile, aromatic yaji spice mix, and raw onion makes it one of the world’s great barbecue traditions.
- JKS Restaurants — owner of Gymkhana and Brigadiers and backer of Bao, Lyle’s, Sabor, and Flor — intends to open a gastropub in Fitzrovia.
- A documentary charting Elite Bistro’s co-founder Gary Usher’s opening of Pinion in Prescot will air on Channel 4 this autumn. Usher is behind the celebrated Sticky Walnut, Burnt Truffle, Wreckfish, and Hispi bistros in Hoole, Heswall, Liverpool, and Didsbury respectively, as well as the newly opened Kala in Manchester. He threatened to pull the documentary earlier this year after taking issue with a Times profile that once again lazily characterised him as an “intimidating” character. [The Caterer]
- Beyond Meat is going to try and make fake bacon from plants. [The Takeout]
- Good tweet: