At Crudo e Nudo, a seafood restaurant and wine shop in Santa Monica, the staff works four 10-hour days a week. It has a small and focused menu, no investors, and a 30% profit margin (which is three times higher than the industry standard).
“It is a lot of work when you're there, but we expect that people get some real time and relaxation,” says Brian Bornemann, co-owner of Crudo e Nudo.
He points out that their staff has a lower than average turnover rate, and that’s partly thanks to their recruitment style. “It's different to hire a bunch of people to fill roles … than it is to just hire people who are committed to hopefully building a better future, and then creating the roles around them.”
The shortened work week is also successful because the pandemic changed how people approached business operations, he says.
Leena Culhane, the other co-owner of Crudo e Nudo, cut her teeth at the Nashville-based restaurant Folk, and has brought much of their hospitality approach to this LA establishment.
“When you come inside, you're greeted by people who are really passionate and really focused on what we're trying to accomplish, and who are dedicated to making the experience something that is really holistic. … [It’s about] how you feel from the start to the finish, how you feel taken care of, how you feel connected to what we're doing,” she explains.
As for customers’ concerns about higher food costs amid inflation, Culhane says their restaurant offers a 12:00-2:00 p.m. special during the week that has “a much lower barrier to entry to experience what Crudo is about with seafood and vegetable options.”
Bornemann adds, “What's important for us is the way that we source [ingredients] coming from farmers and fishermen that are doing things in the right way. … It now costs $9-11 a gallon for gas for fishermen. It now costs so much for water and labor for our farmers. … I think the bigger goal of what we're doing is to take stuff that we know is really direct from the best source possible, and represent it in a way that's so delicious … that hopefully people don't mind paying what they are paying.”