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The newest threat faced by New York City restaurants isn’t high rents or the pandemic. It’s employees who use credulous media to air beefs that chefs and owners aren’t being nice enough to them.

A handful of restaurants truly were cesspools of misconduct deserving to be shut down. On-the-record sexual-harassment claims wrecked the Spotted Pig, owner Ken Friedman and his pal Mario Batali. A chef at Danny Bowien’s shuttered Mission Chinese, once praised for what Bowien called a “healthy” environment for cooks, hurled racial slurs at a black employee and deliberately scalded him with a spoon dipped in hot oil.

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At Vanessa’s Bistro in Berkeley, owner Vi Nguyen recently encountered a customer who stood in her kitchen doorway to yell at her after a server made a simple mistake. 

“Not talk, yell,” Nguyen emphasized, sounding increasingly exasperated as she told the story. “This was the beginning of the reopening, and we had a line of takeout orders. Her husband stood at the doorway and was like, ‘She’s hungry! She needs her food right now!’”

This wasn’t an isolated incident for Nguyen. Since California’s June 15 reopening of the economy, customers have gotten … a little difficult. Well, a lot difficult. 

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  • Restaurants are struggling to find staff more than other small businesses, a poll found.
  • 74% of independent restaurant owners say it’s harder to find workers now than before the pandemic.
  • Four in five small businesses told Alignable that their supply costs are higher, too.

The leisure hospitality industry appears to be on its way to recovery after adding 343,000 people payrolls in June, making up 40% of total US job gains – but independent restaurants say they still can’t get enough staff.

Seventy-four percent of independent restaurant owners say it’s harder to find employees than it

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A combination of dependency on tips and requirements to appear positive on the job — “service with a smile” — contributes to a culture of sexual harassment in the service industry, a new study says.

Ringo H.W. Chiu/AP


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Ringo H.W. Chiu/AP


A combination of dependency on tips and requirements to appear positive on the job — “service with a smile” — contributes to a culture of sexual harassment in the service industry, a new study says.

Ringo H.W. Chiu/AP

There is broad agreement that the restaurant industry is rife with sexual harassment.

More than 70% of

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Three former college roommates sipped cocktails on a recent evening outside Erté & the Peacock Lounge, where managers of the small French-American restaurant transformed a strip of sidewalk and street in northeast Minneapolis into a Parisian-style patio with white string lights and planters filled with flowers.

“It just fits right into the neighborhood,” Heather Barcikowski said as she waited for her meal on the pavement that formerly would have housed a few diners’ cars parallel-parked along 13th Avenue NE. “I feel like everyone’s gotten into outdoor dining since last summer — lots of people prefer it.”

Sidewalk seating and parking

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After San Francisco Bay Area health officials issued new guidance Friday recommending that everyone – even those who are vaccinated – should wear masks indoors, many restaurants are now reportedly requiring them again for their employees. 

And at least one employer has decided to lay off any unvaccinated employees just to be safe, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. 

“If anyone doesn’t want to get vaccinated, we will let them go,” Zareen Khan, owner of Pakistani/Indian restaurant Zareen’s, told the newspaper. “It’s terrible, but we need people to understand this is serious. It’s better to be cautious than to be sorry.”

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