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Read Georgia Chef Hugh Acheson’s Post-Election Memo to Employees

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The 'Top Chef' judge penned the letter on Friday

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Following Republican Donald Trump’s election as the next President of the United States, progressive minds in the food industry have been grappling with what it means for their employees and customers. Danny Meyer, the man behind Shake Shack and New York’s Union Square Hospitality Group, sent a letter to his employees and admitted the election was "tough."

Now Hugh Acheson, the Top Chef judge who owns four restaurants and a coffeeshop in the red state of Georgia, is giving his team a pep talk. Acheson distributed a memo to employees on Friday, encouraging them to "hold our heads high and be proud and authentic about what we do every day." He made the note public by posting it on his Instagram account.

"There will be problems," Acheson wrote. "There will be incidents. Sadly, the country just empowered some hatred and gave it credence. It is a small percentage who feel this way, but the vitriol cannot be ignored. The customer is always right, until they are wrong. And when they are wrong with epithets or cruelty they will be asked to leave. This is not me giving you an aggressive power to wield, but rather making sure you understand the ethos I have in protecting what I believe in, and what I do not have the patience for."

Reached for comment, Acheson declined to further expound on his post-election thoughts. Read the memo in its entirety below.

Hello people,

First let me say that I am glad you are here, working in the place you do, doing the fine work you do. It makes me proud to be an employer, more proud than anything else I do professionally. That said, let’s talk over the current environment a little bit and I will give you my perspective. This is not a political screed, rather a humanist one.

The world just changed a fair bit and a lot of what lies ahead is uncharted territory. I want you to know, each and every one of you, that when you walk into the restaurant you work in, it is a place of respect of you, no matter your race, your gender identity, your political beliefs, or your religious convictions. Sexism, misogyny, bigotry, and ignorance cannot and will not ever be allowed to fester in a place that I have control over. We have to be more vocal and empathetic of the importance of what a restaurant truly is: a place of respite for everyone, whether you are a customer or an employee.

There will be problems. There will be incidents. Sadly, the country just empowered some hatred and gave it credence. It is a small percentage who feel this way, but the virtiole cannot be ignored. The customer is always right, until they are wrong. And when they are wrong with epithets or cruelty they will be asked to leave. This is not me giving you an aggressive power to wield, but rather making sure you understand the ethos I have in protecting what I believe in, and what I do not have the patience for.

Hospitality to me means we hold our heads high and be proud and authentic about what we do every day. We project that pride in who we are and what we serve. We welcome. We are that place of solace and comfort.

I am a leader and I have a duty, but in this current climate my role is to unify as best I can and clear the stage for voices that need to be heard. That is what I can and will do.

If you need me in any way at all, email, call, pull me aside. Happy to talk. Happy to listen.

Thanks for all you do.

sincerely,

Hugh

Read Restaurateur Danny Meyer’s Post-Election Letter to Employees [E]
All Hugh Acheson Coverage [E]
All 2016 Presidential Election Coverage [E]

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