OpenTable Advocates for Gender Equality and Inclusion in the Restaurant Industry

Today we unveiled our “Open Kitchen” initiative at SXSW 2018. The PSA-style campaign spotlights the need for the restaurant industry to make a shared commitment to put an end to an exclusionary, abusive culture and refocus on creating safe and respectful workplaces in restaurants. OpenTable collaborated with prominent restaurant owners, GMs, and chefs to release a public service announcement in which they advocate for professionalism, inclusiveness, and equality.

“No matter who you are or your role in a restaurant, whether you work in the kitchen or front-of-house, everyone deserves a safe seat at the table,” said Christa Quarles, CEO of OpenTable. “It’s on all of us – chefs, managers, restaurateurs, leaders, and more – to call out and stamp out inappropriate behavior and hold offending parties accountable. Together, we can bring about real change to ensure a positive and safe work environment for all.”

Quarles debuted the Open Kitchen campaign and PSA video at her SXSW presentation today in Austin entitled “Silicon Valley to Restaurants: The Path to Equality”. The PSA stars chefs and restaurateurs who have committed to Open Kitchens in their restaurants, including Tanya Holland (Brown Sugar Kitchen, Oakland), Mary Sue Milliken (Border Grill, LA and Las Vegas), Edward Lee (Succotash, DC), and Nicole Krasinski and Stuart Brioza (State Bird Provisions, SF).

“We as an industry put a heavy emphasis on quality and service when it comes to our guests, yet great service begins within, in the way we interact with one another and treat our staff,” said Mary Sue Milliken, Chef and Restaurateur, Border Grill. “Moving forward, we must continually engage with our employees, lead by example, and emphasize respect and diversity to cultivate a healthy and more hospitable culture.”

To underscore a restaurant’s commitment, OpenTable has also released a ‘pledge poster’ that restaurateurs can display in the back of house asserting their restaurant to be one where everyone has a “safe seat at the table” and pledging to an Open Kitchen where they: 1. Uphold a zero-tolerance policy for harassment of any kind; 2. Treat one another with the same hospitality as they treat their guests; 3. Listen to one another with care, compassion, and respect; 4. Grow the team with a focus on diversity and inclusion; and 5. Cultivate a professional environment always.

To commit to an Open Kitchen and learn more about the campaign, visit: https://openkitchen.opentable.com. To read more of Quarles’ thoughts on this important topic, visit https://medium.com/@christaquarles. Join the conversation with #openkitchen.

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