After his angry email to employees went public this morning (see the back story here), we reached out to Vadim Ponorovsky, the owner of Paradou to figure out what exactly was going on there. He had a lot to say, much of which is printed below, but in summation, he says that with the exception of a few choice phrases, he regrets nothing about his email. As a small businessman, he's just trying to do the best he can to get by and drum up business. And his relationship with his staff is not adversarial in the least. In fact, he says, he's probably more hands-off than most restaurant owners. His workers have it great!
Obviously this email was internal. It's unfortunate that someone decided to get on their high horse and try to defend waiters everywhere and try to take down Paradou. Because when you mount a campaign against a business, the first people the suffer are the employees.
Do I regret any part of it? Sure, the lazy motherfuckers phrase was probably a little over the line. But, do I stand by the content and the request of it? Absolutely.
Hey, at least he's not a famewhore:
I don't want to make this a societal thing, but it's a fact that we in this country take great pleasure in taking people down in some way when they're successful. I'm not interested in being known. No one knows I'm the owner of Paradou. I didn't do this to be a guest judge of Iron Chef. I do this because I have a love for food. If you read the substance of the email I'm looking to reach more customers, so I can have more money in my pocket and more money in my employees' pockets.
What else can he do without PR or advertising?
I am a small business person trying to survive in an incredibly difficult field, in an incredibly difficult economic time. Collecting emails is nothing new as a way to make a one to one connection with the customers. And the fact that a small restaurant like Paradou has 13,000 voluntarily submitted names says something. I understand how expensive advertising is before it obtains any results. Or am I supposed to spend thousands of dollars on some pr flack? I can't afford that.And anyways, his staff has it easy:
Everyone who is now on this bandwagon has no idea how we are with our staff, how we treat people. I do not micro manage. We give our staff the utmost opportunity to maximize their livelihood. With a lot of people employed as waitstaff in New York, there's very little that is asked of them to do. My staff comes in at 4 PM, they set up for half and hour and spend the rest of the time chatting. Then they work between 6 and 10 PM. And you know, calling your waitstaff scumbags happens every day in every restaurant. It just doesn't show up in emails. That doesn't happen at Paradou. The perception now is that I have an adversarial relationship with my staff, and that couldn't be further from the truth.But will there be any retribution? Vadim says he is going to take a long hard look at his staff and that perhaps his relationship with them will change. However he says it takes a lot to get fired at Paradou.
To close, "But in this email I was saying, enough is enough. It was my version of Allen Ginsberg's Howl."
· Owner of MePa's Paradou Goes Apeshit on Employees [~ENY~]