Helping Miami’s Helpers
I woke up this morning. I suppose that is a good start. After a few too many vodka’s last night while listening to @dnice on his live DJ session on Instagram, I need to admit I was offensively dancing with my dogs – and simultaneously using my new favorite app called House Party where I had a three way International video call with my girls Gabby and Tayo. And then, there were those new WhatsApp chats I managed to create that were rather humorous as I took a look from bed as I opened my eyes. Oops.
The purpose of this post (which as you know are far and few these days) is a result of having received an email in my inbox shook me to the core. Food for thought, indeed.
Naturally the type who worries about others, even if I do not have – I give. Today my gift is sharing this with you. Usually a private acts of kindness I commit on my free time and do not share, well – with the current new life we are living as a world (for example, DJ sessions at home alone and dancing with dogs is not something I would normally do while getting beyond c r u n k e d by myself), has left me wondering what would happen to the truly needy out there and I can not stop thinking about a woman who I met along this journey called life. One year ago I worked in hospitality at this very fancy hotel in their membership department as a manager. I met such wonderful women and men who, without their checks du minimum wage, would likely be homeless. But instead, they scrub toilets. They are also my friends. My mind will not stop running with images of this one housekeeper that I met at Faena who has cancer and without her insurance, realistically may not survive. Well, there are a lot of people out there like Ninoska who similarly to Ninoska lost their jobs. And, after reading this email, I feel the need to share it with you for a multitude of reasons. Firstly, maybe you did not know these acts of kindness are locally going on. Secondly, maybe you want to donate.
Let us serve the servers who have no protections – from hotel staff to restaurant servers, and beyond.
Here you go in hopes that it will inspire you to help out however you can. I also encourage you to learn more about what Felix Bendersky and Brad and Soraya Kilgore are doing (aside from making wildly fab video’s on IG teaching us to cook) to help local waiters, bartenders and kitchen staff at many Miami based restaurants. You can find that information about the grants for their program and which restaurants are participating.
From John Joseph Lin, I opened it up. ‘The Standard Stands Together.’ This letter, ever so eloquently written by the CEO of the Standard puts the darkness we are facing into perspective.
Yesterday was a sad day. We made the unavoidable decision to close our two New York City hotels, The Standard High Line and The Standard East Village, The Standard Miami and our first international hotel, The Standard London. It was gut wrenching because hotels, and our hotels in particular, are anchors of their neighborhoods. Unlike restaurants, we never close. Ever. We are the places where people feel safe. Where people come together. To eat, drink, stay, play and enjoy each other’s company. To live life to the fullest. Where locals mingle with visitors to our remarkable city. And where our staff makes it their job to take care of all who come, to welcome and delight them.
Our job is to make you happy. And we love to do it. In fact, we live to do it. Our livelihoods depend on making you happy.
Day in and day out, almost 17 million hospitality workers in this country (and some 266 million globally) take care of you. Housekeepers, front desk agents, concierges, bartenders, security guards, cooks, servers, bussers, maintenance crews. Many unseen, most uncelebrated. They work in a 24×7, 365 day a year. Nights, weekends, holidays. Always. All the while smiling. Because this business attracts people that love to take care of people. That is why I love it. And they are why I do what I do. And that is why I am writing this.
One of our team members reached out to Amber Asher, the President of our company a few days ago. To remind us that in times of trouble, The Standard always helps our local communities. Whether the East Village explosion, Chelsea pipe bomb or the California wild fires. It’s true. And I loved that helping the community during this crisis was his first thought. It speaks volumes to me about the culture of The Standard. But my only response to him was, “I wish we could do something, but this time, we are the community in need.”
This time we need to be taken care of, by you. Today, by you, our government. Tomorrow, by you, our guests. Will you allow us to cash in the loyalty points we have earned?
Despite the big brand names you see, most hotels are owned by small companies or individuals. Hotels are operations that employ lots of people. They have very high fixed costs to operate, and competition is severe. Profit margins are thin, and have been getting thinner even before this crisis. What that means is modest drops in revenue from things like weather hurt profits. Big drops like the financial crisis, bite hard. Epic drops like the past week, kill. As Arne Sorensen, CEO of Marriott, said in his beautiful message to employees, “Covid-19 is having a more severe and sudden financial impact on our business than 9/11 an the 2009 financial crisis combined.” We simply cannot pay all of our staff if we have no guests.
Our employees, like many others in the service industry, tend to live paycheck to paycheck. Most are hourly, often relying on tips. Many are immigrants without family infrastructure here. Few have savings. Most will not be able to pay rent next month. Without relief, many will leave our cities in a few months altogether.
The government needs to step in now for them to survive on a human level, and for us to be able to reopen when this crisis subsides. This past week the UK government announced measures to cover 80% of employee wages for businesses forced to shut down because of the Covid-19. Our government should follow suit with similar quick, clear, decisive action. If they do not, not only will the personal family tragedies be severe, our ability to reopen our hotels for our communities when this subsides will be impaired.
When, god willing, we do reopen, we also need you, our guests, to step back in. Through our doors. To bring back the spirit of travel, exploration and adventure that makes life richer. The human connections that make life worth living. That bring us closer together in this, more obviously than ever, interconnected world.
Today, Amber announces Standard Stands Together, an employee relief fund she led the creation of to support our employees displaced by the crisis.
What do you say, can we cash in some of the loyalty points we have earned?
Amar Lalvani, CEO
Miami Restaurant Employee Relief Fund
(the information below was taken from the MRERF Go Fund Me page)
F+B Hospitality Brokerage, led by Felix Bendersky, has teamed up with the community to support those from the Miami restaurant industry who have been impacted by the Covid-19 closures. Felix is a local Miami business owner who runs F+B Hospitality as a brokerage that caters to the restaurant community. He recognized his clients, their employees and community as a whole quickly closing down leaving many individuals suddenly with no income.
Together with the insights of notable Miami-area chefs led by Brad Kilgore of Kilgore Culinary and joined by Michael Schwartz of Michael’s Genuine, Michelle Bernstein of La Trova, Michael Beltran of Ariete and Zak H Stern of Zak the Baker they are raising awareness and funds to provide grants to full-time restaurant workers in Miami-Dade County who are dependent on hourly wages (plus many who rely on tips) to cover basic living expenses and provide for their families.
The goal is to provide $250 grants to as many qualifying grantees as possible with 100% of donations (less GoFundMe standard fees) going directly to those affected. Operating costs and management are being covered by F+B Hospitality and added efforts and time provided by restaurant committee members listed below.
We are asking for those who are able, to consider making a donation to support the thousands of individuals and families that need financial help during this time. F+B Hospitality Brokerage will distribute evenly on a 1st come, 1 serve basis $250 gifts to those out-of-work restaurant employees meeting the requirements.
Our goal is to help as many people as we can. Help us Help Others by making a donation today! As funds come in, they will be dispersed to those in need as quickly as possible.
If you are looking to apply for one of these Grants CLICK HERE !
To qualify for grant assistance, one must satisfy all of the following requirements:
– Completed Application Form
– Full-time employee (Minimum of 30 hours total per week, can be multiple restaurants but must be in Miami-Dade County)
– Employed for 3 months or longer at the same location
– Worked in a restaurant, bar, cafe or nightclub located in Miami-Dade County
– Submit the last two pay stubs received
*After submitting your application you will be notified by an F+B Hospitality employee regarding your approval. After approved for a grant funds will be paid via grantees choice of Zelle transfer or check in the mail.
Miami Restaurant Employee Relief Fund COMMITTEE MEMBERS:
(comprised of those restaurant owners who have supported by actively spreading the word to customers and employees)
+ David Morales of Morales Legal PA
+ Andy Giambarba of @andymiami
+ Jaguar Sun
+ Stephanie’s Crepes
+ Panther Coffee
+ Hometown BBQ
+ Plant Miami
+ Phuc Yea + Pho Mo
+ Jojo Tea
+ Broken Shaker, 27 Restaurant
+ All Day
+ Pinch Kitchen
+ Gorilla City
+ Counter Culture Coffee
+ Beaker and Gray
+ The Silvester