Diners and industry veterans alike are familiar with front and back of house. In this episode we look at a new concept designed to make restaurant workers’ pay more equitable - regardless of their position on the staff. It’s called heart of house. Jesse Cool designed and implemented the concept at her Bay Area restaurant, Flea Street. She dives into the disparity between front and back of house workers that stems from the tipping system and explains why she abandoned that for an equally distributed service charge. Pay has shifted dramatically and her staff members’ roles have changed too. Jesse is most inspired by the sense of unity she feels at Flea Street after implementing heart of house, but defends the model from an economic standpoint as well. 

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This project is funded in part by a Humanities New York CARES Grant with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the federal CARES Act. 

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