Where is Guy Fieri’s sympathy for the restaurant workers?

Guy Fieri has spent the entire pandemic working to save the restaurant. He a. partnered with the National Restaurant Association to launch $21.5 million relief fund, offering a $500 grant to hospitality workers. He fed firefighters in Northern California. He Jeff Bezos called for not donating. He’s used his popular, beloved, near-indestructible Personal As a populist hero for shining a light on small businesses across the country. But he also has a confusing message about the return of restaurants: Bad workers are holding the industry back. “You can’t sit on your ass and expect it to come to you because it isn’t,” he told Kara Swisher about that new York Times podcast sway.

During the interview, Fieri rightly chastised legislators for giving large-scale handouts to airlines and other large industries, while maintaining a restaurant revitalization fund. running out of money. “How about everyone who is in law who likes to go to restaurants?,” he asks. “How about you just ask your local restaurant what you can do to help them stay afloat?” He also specifies that, although he brought up Bezos’ failures in the past, he is “not into shaming people.” He just wants to save the restaurant.

But what about the people who make them possible? Fieri is taken with the idea that workers aren’t coming back because they are too comfortable enjoying federal unemployment benefits, comparing their reluctance to back down – driven by concerns On low pay, lack of child care and sick leave, and still the risk of contracting COVID remains, especially as the delta version spreads across the country – from snacking on junk food all day long to healthy dinner To the child in denial: “Why would you go and eat broccoli if you got to eat Doritos?,” says the man who built his empire on serving Burger Mac and Cheese and Fried Cheese Steak Topped with Spring Rolls.

In this analogy, unhealthy-but-desirable snacks are unemployment benefits, or perhaps implemented exclusively through the federal Epidemic Unemployment Program. Cares Act Lakhs of workers lost their jobs due to the pandemic. Meanwhile, broccoli — good for you but ineffective — is getting back to work. When Swisher points out that, despite the pandemic, the restaurant industry is providing workers with the same low wages and negligible benefits as it did in 2019, Fieri counters that “the restaurant business is too great” to work, and Inadvertently talks about a friend’s son who works at In-N-Out, infamous an outsider Regarding working conditions in the fast food industry.

“So to me, no, you can’t sit on your ass and expect it’s going to come to you because it’s not there,” Fieri says, referring to either money or work. They suggest that there would be a domino effect, where a shortage of workers would translate into a lack of work. “If we don’t move beyond that and we don’t fix it, we’ll get into a situation where everyone wants a job, and you can’t get a job.”

Fieri means, in other words, that restaurants will now die – not because restaurants had to fight for even the most modest financial relief, not because we didn’t cancel fares, or implement better pandemic protections – because workers stay home. and collect unemployment instead of going back to work. It has been a common refrain as America opens back up, with Republicans reportedly cutting profits to use it as fuel. save the country’s economy. but that’s the story largely a myth Maintained by trade organizations and fast food corporations. As the workers themselves explain, the jobs are not worth the risk of fighting with customers about COVID, low pay, low tips and safety protocols, especially if they have family to take care of at home. “I haven’t been back since [early 2020], “A Line Cook told to eater“Because I can’t really trust any restaurant owners to provide a safe environment for their employees.”

Many hospitality workers are also not eligible for extended unemployment benefits, which Fieri’s reasoning presupposes. As states ease or do away with stay-at-home orders, Many refused to pay benefits For workers who did not want to return to work for fear of their health and safety, some state officials asked employers to report those workers to the state. and yet, new York times is ReportedWhere jobless benefits were cut early, people are still hesitant to return to work:[Workers] More likely to point to child care and continuing health fears less than half the population Fully vaccinated. Nor should it be surprising that the country’s road came back from the harsh barrage of the pandemic, with millions of jobs missing and More than 600,000 people have died, it’s bumpy.”

Fieri says wages, especially for back-of-house workers, should increase, but it’s unclear when and how much. He avoids Swisher’s questions about the $15 minimum wage, unionization and terms at his own restaurant; Asked about the workers at Guy Fieri’s Pennsylvania location of American Kitchen + Bar + Allegations of unfair pay and racial bias, he just notes that it has been “resolved”. When it comes to falling into the trap of relying on third-party delivery services to stay a restaurant, he takes a tough anti-regulation stance. High Commission Mercy and hidden fees. “I’m not a big fan of the rules. I think all of a sudden [the] government jumps in and makes [it so] Some groups can’t work together and all that kind of stuff,” he says.

As a solution, Fieri believes it “would be awesome if a huge philanthropist could say, ‘Hey, you know what? Here’s what I’ll do. I’ll make it so we’re a nonprofit distribution. company. And we’ll make sure the drivers make money and the restaurants make money… I’ll put that together, and it’s going to cost me $50 million to make this work.'” A lot of things would be awesome, but our Billionaires seem too busy to go to the moon. Fieri has just signed $80 million contract With Food Network though, so maybe he can give it a shot?

Fieri is right when he says that restaurants “can’t take money out of their pockets that they don’t have.” There is no benevolent billionaire in sight, ongoing support One of the industries hardest hit in the pandemic will have to come from elsewhere – especially as the government continues to shoulder responsibility for restaurants and their employees. But at the very least, it needs to be understood that the workers should not settle for the crumbs they were getting, especially from someone who has built his image and empire on being a man of the people. . Unfortunately in this instance, Fieri’s empathy has hit a wall when it comes to the few people he can help the most. By comparing concerned, alienated workers to lousy, spoiled children, he is showing his hidden elitism and distancing himself from the real people who make up his beloved industry.

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