Steve Palmer formed the Charleston-based hospitality and consulting group The Indigo Road in 2009 when he began working with the celebrated restaurant Oak Steakhouse on historic Broad Street. He went on to open O-Ku, Cocktail Club, The Macintosh, among several other concepts across the Southeast. Palmer maintains the philosophy that great service starts with well cared for employees. He believes in promoting from within, creating new opportunities for his staff, and developing a strong company culture.

Steve sits down with Kat Johnson to talk about Ben’s Friends, a support group he started along with Charleston Grill’s Mickey Bakst that aims to help food and beverage workers who may be struggling with drug and alcohol abuse. Both Palmer and Bakst are very open about their past addictions while working in the industry. After Palmer lost close friend and chef Ben Murray following a struggle with addiction, he felt a strong need to start support group Ben’s Friends. It is similar to AA, but not affiliated with the organization. It is completely anonymous and there’s no pressure to stand up and talk. The group is simply a space to meet others who are working on or have overcome their addiction.

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