View from the Bar: Erick Castro Addresses Hiring Practices

Speakeasy bar inside Raised by Wolves
Raised by Wolves, 2019 Nightclub & Bar New Bar Concept of the Year award winner. Image: Zack Benson

Below is a post from Erick Castro, posted to his Instagram account @hungrybartender, about hiring practices in the hospitality industry. We present it unedited:

You don’t have to be racist to utilize systemic racism in your hiring practices. You might just be lazy. Follow me for a second, by that I mean that far too many otherwise deeply decent people simply hire from within their own social networks —which unfortunately for many tend to be racially homogenous. But since so many people at the top of this industry are white (and more specifically white males,) the lazy ones prefer not to hire from society at large (cause interviewing is hard,) and instead rely on tapping into their social networks when they need a hire —the expression “its not what you know, its who you know” is famous for a reason.

After all, why suffer through 60 resumes & 10 interviews when you could just hire a relative or a buddy's little brother. This is partly why you can walk into a cocktail bar in Los Angeles, a city that is 47% latino, yet not have a single latino bartender on staff. Or even go to a bar in New Orleans, a city that is almost 60% African-American, and also not have a single African-American bartender on staff.

Its not that the woke (well on Facebook at least) bar manager wouldn’t hire a POC if they performed well in an interview…its just that they will never get an interview, because the position filled before anyone knew it was open. That is why systemic issues like this can be so insidious. You don’t even see them even when you are right in the middle of it.

So that’s the problem, but what’s the solution? The good news is that the solution is easy. The next time you are hiring for a position let people know that you are hiring, instead of hiring your brother’s roommate, actually do the work to hire the most capable person for the role.

Read also: These are the Bar & Restaurant Trends to Watch in 2020

It will be a lot more work, cause you will have to post ads and meet with a field of candidates, but guess what? You will find that you end up with a stronger team (and it will be since you hired from a wider pool of talent) that is more reflective of the neighborhood that you are in. Now get to it.

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