Look At My Staff
Cala is a chic, high-end Mexican Restaurant located in downtown San Francisco that’s drawing rave reviews from food critics and patrons alike. While Cala has generated an amazing amount of buzz since it opened in 2015, what makes its story even more compelling is that 40 percent of its staff is made up of formerly incarcerated individuals. The idea to hire these people was the brainchild of Cala’s General Manager, Emma Rosenbush. Prior to getting into the restaurant business, she spent three years at a nonprofit organization called the Berkeley Prison Law Office. It was there she realized that the lack of post-prison employment opportunities was the reason more than 50 percent of these formerly incarcerated individuals wound up back in prison. At this point, Ms. Rosenbush decided that if she ever had the opportunity to hire some of these former convicts, she would. When she went to work for Cala, she reached out to these former convicts through her previous employer and the San Francisco Adult Probation Department and used them to assemble the restaurant’s new staff. It took a lot of extra training because many of these people had no previous restaurant experience but in her opinion, it has been worth the effort. Her fledgling employees have become restaurant professionals and are now moving up through the ranks and staking out careers in the restaurant business. Whenever Ms. Rosenbush reflects on this she says, “It makes me tear up; it’s so radical.” What a wonderful challenge this restaurant has taken on. If you would like to read more about this wonderful restaurant, click on this link.