FREE Resources for hospitality staff

This is more meant for our american brethren, as it is a compendium of the legal questions that have come up as they reopen after COVID and how are they dealing with the legal issues like refusing work, testing staff or not, what happens when someone gets sick?.

Interesting read that can be a guide for Canadian and worldwide enterprises as well. We live in interesting times, and we may as well learn from each other.


Another valuable FREE resource focused on helping women and minorities with free wine education. With the idea of offering training and support for those that, although are a large part of the trade. they  rarely have access to opportunities for advancement and raises. In their own words:
“we provide tuition-free wine education, mentoring services, and access to a wider network of sommeliers and hospitality professionals. We believe education not only qualifies an individual for higher levels of employment, it empowers one to pursue endless opportunities for advancement” 
Their course is 12 weeks of FREE training and includes all fundamentals, taught by Master Sommeliers, Masters of wines and pros of the trade.   
We couldn’t agree more with their mission, and fully support their efforts. The best way to help people is to help them help themselves. 

Customer service is the lifeline of all enterprises, yet its a lost art that is difficult to quantify. We came across the work of @toreeah_ a young woman from Lagos, Nigeria. She has some very interesting and good insights onto what makes for great Customer Experience (CX), to improve the bottom line.
Not surprisingly it takes a little more effort from the staff, a little love and a little empathy, but the results will be striking and pay themselves many times over.
Check her out, and thank you for sharing your CX wisdom with us !


Gratitude is more than a hashtag. Gratitude is really the action of being grateful. Doesn’t have to be something earth shattering. We can start by aknowledging the little things that happen to and are done towards us in every way. Even bad times can be a source of gratitude, as we learn to enjoy the good times even more.

Gratitude is also healing, when we share it with others. By  giving thanks to the universe we can find our place with some more clarity. And, even better, takes nothing from us, costs nothing, and will NEVER go out of style.

How do one start? well, writing down the things that makes one happy, the things we are happy for in our lives, the fact that we are healthy and can enjoy what life has to offer, and also what others do for us. You’d be amazed how many things one can find to be thankful for.

The best part is that being grateful will also help heal our spirits in ways that nothing else can. Try it out,’go on, get drunk on the wine of the soul’ as Rumi would say.

GREAT INTERVIEW: Learn how the leadership of Alinea Nick Kokonas @nkokonas are handling the crisis via @timferris podcast. Tim has always been a GREAT resource for smart people talking about interesting things, this interview should be required listening for anyone in the food business. They of course had a lot of concern about the viability of their businesses, and a lot of sleepless nights. We all know that we sell food, but really it is emotional experiences that bring people back (the kayfabe varies from place to place of course). 
 Eventually they came up with an attack plan. 

Here is the tl;dl version (too long, didn’t listen version):

 Takeaways (ha!):
+ Management and ownership took no salaries or cut paid out to investors
+ Reuse the existing space for preparation, eliminates crowding
+ With enough volume sold you can rehire your staff and keep them happy
+ Flat rates of $15 given to all the working staff, regardless of position or experience, creating a team spirit. 
+ Any profits made above salary/payroll was distributed to the staff, after a small amount set aside for the reopening (we all know how expensive that can be) 

+ Food should be fun + delicious. Anything else is a fail. 
+ Comfort food will win the day. Also easy to make, affordable to make and to buy 

Kokonas says that
+ GCs and Gofundme will be more of a headache for balancing sheets. ‘its mortgaging the future’
+ Maybe try pre-paying to negotiate deals, along with bulk purchases (save against price increases) (also gives favourable terms) so think about them as futures 
+ Resist urge to expand when you see revenue. May be a long slog. 
+ Try alternatives to delivery services, their big cuts are not good for you

+ Humor will be key, along with safety. Have guests maybe do some kind of ritual before entering? 
+ Make distancing and masks an asset, not a liability 
+ Virtual experiences can still count, so think about virtual dinner parties or collective cooking classes 
+ schedule pickup times, think of them as derivatives 

Who will survive?
Kokonas thinks that only the scrappy and adaptable will win. So do!
+ Think about having an alternative model to your business. 
+ check out what @addo restaurant is doing, constantly nimble, over 20 concepts tested  for takeout!
+ Have and give staff a sense of purpose, It really is what we all need and want. 

Hope this helps everyone out there. If you need fresh and creative ideas don’t hesitate and reach out, we’d be happy to help.


Reviews matter and matter more than you think. Come check out another great interview with CBC and the Under The Influence podcast via @terryoinfluence. 
A very interesting look at what is the impact of reviews to the bottom line of many businesses and how they can be sources of both fun and profit.  There are even software companies that help you spot the fake reviews made by bots or malicious actors! really interesting times we live in. 

Click here for the tl;dl (too long; didn’t listen):

+ Testimonials are age-old, gladiators used to review swords 
+ Reviews MATTER A LOT. 90% customers really read and research before making decisions, be it restaurants or goods. 
+ Reviews can make or break a product or service + 2 star rating = no go. 3 maybe. 
+ 95% think reviews are fake if they don’t see any bad reviews. 
+ More reviews = more sales and better google ratings 
+ Fake reviews can get you fined 
+ Categories with most fake reviews: gardening and ‘marital aids’, ha! 

Poor spelling and grammar, very formal or too formal language 

ReviewMeta analyzes Amazon product reviews and filters out reviews that our algorithm detects may be unnatural.
Fakespot analyzes reviews to help you make better purchasing decisions

His tips from a law firm for how not to get in trouble legally when leaving a review (that is a thing too, you could be sued!):
1. Don’t assume anonymity
2. Give opinion and only facts that you can prove
3.Review product or service, not the character of the person providing it
4. Be truthful, not malicious or vindictive 
5, If you are angry, don’t. Wait.  

As always, not getting paid for this, not affiliated, etc etc Our thing is to help people help themselves, and the best way to do that is sharing knowledge. 

So now you know, and the more you know the easier a complex task like running any hospitality operation will be. Wanna get better insights? We can help. Click here for more information. We deliver peace of mind by giving you assurances of performance.
Do you know someone great, who does a excellent job? leave a review for them, help us help them get recognition. It’s simple, fast and free: CLICK HERE


As we prepare to reopen an issue occurred to me: While there are some guidelines about return to work, there has been little consideration to the financial repercussions of a potential infection while at work for hospitality staff.
Although contagion would be a strong possibility for anyone anywhere, as better models develop we may notice the unfortunate trend that contagion can be greater to restaurant / bar staff for the following reasons, regardless of ‘social distancing’ measures. Human interaction is unavoidable while working with food and people.

Disclaimer : I am not a lawyer, doctor, legislator, or member of the communist party. These are my opinions only, and should not be constituted to be legal or health advice. Agaru is about staff advocacy and education.



1. Volume of people handled.
This is the biggest concern. Even operating at half capacity, dealing with 10 customers x 5 nights quickly turns into a ballpark of 2500 guests a year. And this is assuming only  1 staff member.  Say a restaurant has 30 guests a night, this becomes a potential of 7500 guests a year, all of them with unknown health.

2. Cannot deliver experience  far from guests.
Delivering food to tables still requires some form of close quarters and interaction. 

 Close quarters indoors are also a cause of concern, particularly in the fall and winter season. Time spent on one location by customers = increased risk for contagion for staff 

3. Guest practices and vectors
COVID still has a number of unknown vectors of transmission, and one cannot eat with a facemask on. Food particulates, saliva and other debris in general will become part of the environment quickly. 

4. Unknown carriers / asymptomatic guests = risk 
This is one of the major challenges, even if we could screen at door for fever, due to lack of tests that are fast and accurate we cannot guarantee that anyone coming into the facility is COVID free based on lack of symptoms. This poses another problem for staff.

5. Contact with pathogen carrying food utensils = risk  
In the course of duties staff will come in contact with food and drink utensils that may have been exposed to the pathogen. Unless gloves are provided for every interaction, of cleaning a table or removing of spent dishes, there is another possibility for contagion 

6. Air quality supply = risk 
Particularly relevant in wintertime and height of summer, the indoor quality and transmission could be another problem for staff, as they are in one place, with potentially hundreds of infected guests in a year, with the air being recirculated 

7. No baseline measuring = no assurance for staff or customers 
Right now we can assume that staff is healthy and without COVID due to quarantine. Not having a baseline before returning to work means claims of contagion at work cannot be proved in any way, making seeking compensation if contagion occurs nearly impossible. This is a net loss for staff.
In the same manner, it would be advantageous to an enterprise to advertise that the staff is vetted, and that they offer a clean slate for customers as an invisible layer of protection. 

Given these issues and the current uncertainty of a vaccine being developed, I am led to believe that these could very well be reasonable grounds to request hazard pay for frontline staff of hospitality enterprises.

Another reasonable amelioration strategy would be to offer the staff private health insurance, so that in the event that they would fall sick while working, they would be covered in a way beyond what government can do for them, helping regain trust and building a better system along the way.

Without staff there is no hospitality. And healthy staff will pay itself many times over. 
So I would humbly submit this for your consideration and thoughts.