Looks like perfect weather for our Annual Blessing of the Bikes 🏍🛵🚲! All two-wheeled versions welcome!! Come join us, Father Dan, and his crew of clergy for some good riding fellowship. We also will be serving samples of our new Purple Door ice cream at the event.
Fox 21 News stopped by today to follow up on their story from 19 months ago about the Delta Diner eliminating tipping. It made me think it might be time to update everyone on how it is going.
First, we are very pleased with the direction our new employee compensation model is taking us. Removing tipping from our business model was the right move and has positively impacted the way we do business.
- Compensation is now equitable for all staff regardless of where in the house you work. All positions in our operation are critical and we need individuals that are dedicated to taking a professional approach to their work. All positions in our operation cross the “tip line” a hundred times a day in an effort to provide the best experience possible to our target audience. Having a significant part of the wage pool inaccessible to part of the team based on arbitrary State “tip” rules was not acceptable. Now, all adults start at a base wage of $15/hr and students at $10/hr. Great opportunities for advancement exist beyond the base. And while there are primary responsibilities for each position, all staff members are responsible for team performance across duties. It works, and it supports our culture.
- We have experienced an increased opportunity to recruit, train, and retain excellent staff because we offer a team-oriented, professional work environment that values the contribution our staff puts forth every day. We need great people working at the Delta Diner and that should be reflected in every aspect of our relationship with staff, including compensation. It works, and it supports our culture.
There are many other significant ways our new approach has had a very positive impact on our business. We have taken a very specific approach that works for our model. This approach is not universally doable. And while our 20% price increase does not fully cover our significant rise in labor costs to date, we are making an investment in the people who are helping us grow a very special business model, and that will pay off on all levels over the long term.
Thank you to our dedicated customers for the wonderful support you have expressed regarding this issue. It is much appreciated and we look forward to seeing you in Delta!
Delta Diner will close at 2pm Saturday, December 10 and will be closed Sunday, December 11 so that our crew can travel and treat some good folks in need to red beans and rice for the Holidays. This is an annual outreach tradition and we appreciate your understanding. 😀
A cornerstone of our business model is matching an enthusiastic, passionate and positive customer with an experience that we can execute honestly at a high level each and every time. Your happiness while in our establishment is a partnership between us and you. While we are not perfect, the effort to provide this will always be there. And if there is an issue where we have unintentionally missed the mark in some way, communication in our partnership should always lead to a happy ending. Unfortunately, there will be times that the match doesn’t work and therefore a partnership cannot be achieved. It isn’t that customers who are not a good match for what we do are bad people, most of the time they are very good folks just with expectations we are not designed to meet. Our systems in terms of explaining clearly what to expect when you visit the Diner help to eliminate most, if not all, potential conflicts. Every part of our model is designed to best serve our customer base, as a whole.
Generally, I’d say 99% of the time, we mesh wonderfully with those who are good enough to travel the distance necessary to share a diner experience with us. The other 1% can be quite an interesting study in human nature. The vast majority of the 1% realize that although we are running a good business, it is not necessarily for them and they seek their food pleasure elsewhere. Some however decide to take the nasty route. This is where the conundrum of social media comes in. Social media continues to help build our customer base in a very positive way. It also allows us to have spontaneous conversations with our customers relative to our shared passions. However, and at the same time, it provides those who choose to take the other route a platform to spew venom and act in a general bad manner.
We have always taken the approach to not engage this type of person. It never leads to a rational exchange. Instead, we have faith that our existing and target customer base will be able to assess the tone, intent and voracity of such reviews. Therefore, when customers who exhibit bad behavior at our Diner decide to go on the social media attack we will post a link to this general statement. While I do not want to give these “reviews” more attention than they deserve, it ultimately comes down to principle. Life is too short. The Delta Diner will not accept bad customer behavior in any respect as the right of the customer even though that type of customer tends to react badly when told no.
Thanks – Todd
I am very often asked about the many unique aspect of the Delta Diner. Why Delta? Really, you restored an East Coast Diner and shipped it here? Where do you come up with the unique flavor combinations? How do you find the staff you have? And, often first timers will ask about our ownership. Are we a chain or independent? What type of ownership is it?
Well, up until five years ago the ownership question had a simple answer. My wife Nina and I owned nearly all interest in Delta Diner with a few important family members and friends also involved. This remained true for the first eight years of our venture. And, both fortunately and unfortunately, we had a significant challenge. The growth opportunities in front of us were greater than our ability to fund them traditionally. We needed an alternative way to find funding that matched the core values and passion of our business model.
I spent much of 2009 researching our options. Discussion with respected business people, customers, economic development professionals, anyone who might share a nugget of creative thinking. The collaborative result was “Customer 40” which opened the door for 22 new Members to join our LLC in 2010/11.
The impact on our business has been substantial in many ways. First, we were able to expand our capacity to serve customers without having to compromise our core principles just to service the associated debt. We were able to pay with cash and even though the original ownership owned less, we gained significant financial upside. But more importantly, the Diner gained 22 additional equity holders with a passion for being part of building something special and sustainable. And, these new equity holder came from the ranks of our customer base.
In short, 40% of Delta Diner’s equity interests are owned by the good folks that we share our booth and counter space with on a daily basis. It is kind of poetic that in the context of a culture where we strive for uniqueness and creativity every day, our most unique and creative attribute is the structure of our ownership. This in turn allows us to continue to grow without compromise in a sustainable way.
And, rest assured, we do appreciate just how cool this is every day!
We have been working toward a 7 day per week year-round schedule for some time. We are happy to announce that as of next week 5/23/16 it is a reality. Our hours will be Tuesday-Sunday from 8am – 4pm for Breakfast, Blue Plates and Specialty Sandwiches and Monday, Burger Monday from 11am – 7pm or when we sell out, which ever comes first. Please check deltadiner.com for our Burger Counter Pop Up to see what our supply is after 5pm. Thanks to all our customers for supporting us, and allowing us to expand our service hours!! We appreciate your company and your business.