Young and Hungry

What Are D.C.’s Most Worker-Friendly Restaurants? (Hint: Not Clyde’s)

A national restaurant workers’ organization on Thursday unveiled a handy new dining guide. This one rates restaurants not on their food, service and decor but instead on working conditions: things like wages, paid sick leave, occupational segregation—appetizing topics like that. A number of D.C.-area eateries are featured in the guide, not always in a positive way. The local businesses earning the highest marks for their worker-friendly policies include Busboys & Poets, Ben's Chili Bowl, Five Guys, Jack Rose, and virtually every eatery under José Andrés' Think Food Group umbrella (America Eats Tavern, Oyamel, Jaleo, Zaytinya). One business not faring so well in the guide: Clyde's, which scored a big fat zero in every category but one (non-tipped wages, where it earns a question mark for unknown). Y&H has reached out to Clyde's Restaurant Group for comment. Read the guide for yourself here.

  • Chris

    My guess: ROC-United a progressive lobbying group looking to "unionize" restaurant workers under their umbrella. Sprinkle in some pro-immigration rhetoric and you've nailed them.

    Something tells me Clyde's decided not to play along and contribute to their shakedown and were rewarded with this review.

    Notice what all the restaurants who made the list have: extremely high profit margins for their products. $4.00 for a hot dog and half a can of Hormel? Bang! Ben's Chili Bowl. $7.50 for a beer? $13 for a sandwich? That'd be Busboys. Five guys: $5 for a burger (admittedly a good burger. but still a burger). So, what better way to "protect" yourself than by aligning with the left-wing organization? Contribute and ensure you're protected.

  • Joe C

    Almost everybody I know who has worked for Clydes has been happy with their experiences.

  • Trouble

    Chris - why on earth would you assume high prices mean "high profit margins" -especially in an article explicitly about workers' treatment? wouldn't it make more sense to assume that some of that money is going to to pay workers or give them benefits?

    That's not profit, that's a cost. failing econ 101 in the first comment.

    And it's entirely predictable that a place that treats its workers better has higher prices. It's not like you are doing some kind of special investigatory work, it would be surprising to find otherwise.

    And the connection to unions (why would it be in quotes? any workers can organize - there's even a freelancer's union) is also not some big ol' secret. Because cutting costs usually means squeezing whatever can be squeezed, and if workers don't have the wherewithal to resist then their wages and benefits will be cut. Unless.. they organize! How you make this into some kind of Super Seekrit plot is beyond me. It's also elementary stuff. Workers who stick together have more bargaining power than those who don't.

  • anon

    I'll echo Joe C: I'm good friends with two people who have both worked at Clyde's for longer than 10 years (wait staff/bartenders).

    Both are VERY happy with their jobs.

    I've been to Busboys a bunch of times (the last couple of times not of my choosing) and never once have been happy with either the lazy-ass service or the ludicrously overpriced food. Those places were coasting the second they opened their doors, thanks to the bafflingly positive press they got.

  • Sam

    Busboys is more like Buzzboys because it has remarkable diversity throughout, you're not rushed, and there is a cultural politico vibe. Staff overall are young, less experienced and yes, less invested. One is almost guaranteed to be told "No problem" when ordering. (So glad it is not a problem for you, my waitron). Still, pricing with reasonable expectations seems AOK. Clyde's, though locally owned and food usually tasty, is well pale.
    $5 for a decent burger is a bargain in most sit down restaurants in DC.
    How can Chris know of huge profit when he doesn't know overhead costs of joints? Whiney.

  • Noose

    Duhhh, ROC is of course a progressive nonprofit groups pushing for rest. workers rights. You need not guess when you can Google. Not a bad idea when rest. franchises are expanding or being bought up by less caring others just looking for profits. And when rest. workers, though a sizable chunck of workforce, are ltd. in negotiating power.

  • anony

    Honestly this guide sounds like the same spiel that was touted ages ago to sell communism to the masses. I would not trust this guide for two reasons: 1 it is not transparent enough in its methods of of assessment and data collections, for instance does it not explicitly state it differentiates chains from franchises, nor does it provide any means of data validation (just that they would accept information from "any other in America" that can provide it), which means a disgruntled data source could provide false information. 2 Some of its data comes from yelp which has had its own share of drama (ref. Google: yelp selling reviews to businesses).

    The reality of it all is if workers are treated poorly, they leave, since restaurants, and the service industry in general, have a high turnover rate. Businesses that want to run a business correctly, work hard to keep good workers. Good workers keep customers coming back. If wages are so low as to be unsustainable, people would not make a living nor would restaurants survive without staff. After all, running a successful restaurant is a team sport.

  • anony

    PS they have coupons in the back of the guide, should these be considered a bias?

  • J

    Ive lived in the area for many years and know multiple people
    That worked at clydes as servers or bartenders. No one ever
    explicitly complained about treatment by clydes. Where r u ever
    going to find anyone happy in the service industry? I would get some
    Quotes from clydes / old eb workers and see what they say.