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A Note from our CEO (3rd Generation)
Dear Lawry’s Co-Workers,
Below is a letter from my nephew Ryan, which is also addressed to all Lawry’s Co-workers, addressing the emotional turmoil that is convulsing our country. When Ryan shared a draft of the letter, I questioned whether the letter should come from the two of us representing present and future leadership of Lawry’s. Upon further reflection, I came to the realization that these are Ryan’s words, written from his heart and soul, and while I share his emotions, sentiment and commitment, these are his words and, rightfully, should stand as such.
I am incredibly proud of Lawry’s Restaurants as an organization, what our company stands for and am proud to be a Lawry’s Co-worker. As such, I have always sought to be guided by Lawry’s Code of Ethics. That Ryan, without any editorial prodding from me, should turn to them as a source of inspiration and guidance give me great confidence in his vision and leadership of Lawry’s in the years ahead. I hope that he, and all Lawry’s Co-workers, continue to be guided by our Code of Ethics.
For the past three months, as COVID-19 turned all of our lives upside-down and brought heartache to so many in so many ways, now compounded by the events of the past week, I have, at times, felt a sense of helplessness. So much has been so overwhelming.
In reading Ryan’s letter, it gives me inspiration that maybe I can make a greater difference. I will join Ryan in this conversation and will commit to making Lawry’s a stronger and better part of the communities in which we work and live. And I encourage you to do the same.
Thank you, Ryan, for your words and your leadership. And thanks to all of the Lawry’s family of co-workers for the dedication and hard work put in every day.
Richard R. Frank
A Note from Our Chief Marketing & Strategy Officer (4th Generation)
Dear Lawry’s Co-workers,
For the past 11 weeks, our primary focus has been the safety and security of our co-workers on the front lines of our take-out businesses. We propped these operations up in less than a week in mid-March with the mandated closures of our restaurants due to COVID-19. It has been a marathon of complexity and challenges, brilliance and resilience, and I am incredibly proud of and grateful to all of our co-workers.
Yet over the past week, we find ourselves in the midst of communities in crisis. Civil unrest and protests originated yet again by the tragically senseless killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and compounded by the inequities made so visible by COVID-19. Our co-workers, our communities, our hearts, our humanity, our nation are hurting.
As restaurant people, our purpose is hospitality and hospitality is rooted in treating each other with kindness and caring. Food brings people together and I wish that it was just that simple; that I could cook a meal to make us all feel a little more normal, to begin to bring our teams together and specifically to begin a conversation with co-workers of color that is long overdue.
We do not and will not tolerate racism, bigotry, prejudice or hatred in our company or our community. Wrong is wrong.
Today, as a leader in this company and at this moment, I find myself returning to a cornerstone of our co-worker culture—the Lawry’s Code of Ethics that my grandfather created over 50 years ago. These words hang on brass plaques in all of our restaurants and in our offices. The phrases below in particular are as important today as they were generations ago.
- We will be enlightened, aware of and responsive to the changing world in which we reside.
- We will be a responsible and exemplary citizen and a constructive member of the various communities of which we are a part.
- We will constantly strive to improve upon all that we do.
I read these words in the call for change that we hear in the world today, a world full of heartbreak and anger, activism and hope, and I have to ask myself if my leadership of our organization is doing enough to live these words and build upon them. I know I can and we can do more to support and promote our black co-workers and all our co-workers of color & guests alike.
How do we make the workplace more inclusive and equitable? How do we engage with the communities of Los Angeles, Orange County, Las Vegas, Dallas and Chicago so that a Lawry’s restaurant is forever more a safe, respected and cherished dining destination and place of meaningful employment for people of all colors and creeds, but especially for the black community.
I know that I don’t and we don’t have all the answers. As a continued commitment to our Code of Ethics and you all as members of the Lawry’s community, I strive to find some answers by sitting down and listening to co-workers of color and engaging in meaningful conversation about our collective best way forward. Personally, as a white male, I commit to researching, reading and learning more about issues of the black community and of black history. As a leadership team, we will continue to educate ourselves and our teams about the issues of inequality that have plagued our nation for far too long. That education needs to begin with the perspectives of our own co-workers. If you are interested in becoming a part of this conversation please contact me directly. We will be creating an advisory group on diversity and inclusion that will meet to discuss our next steps as a company.
Finally, I ask each of you to reflect on what it means to be a Lawry’s co-worker and what commitments you are prepared to make in your own journey toward a better world. For me, it’s an imperative to wake up every day and be part of a solution in our kitchens, our dining rooms and our communities at large.
Please stay safe, healthy and connected until we see each other again.