The Full Story…

To the community:

You may have stumbled upon, passed by, or regularly dined at an establishment in our neighborhood known formerly as Get Fresh Table & Market, and currently Juventino.

If you’ve stopped in to dine you have likely enjoyed a meal that incorporates fresh, seasonal ingredients in a quaint and comfortable setting. We know how enchanting this place can be, because these elements attracted us to the restaurant too. We are the servers who, for the past four years, have helped offer a dining experience worthy of the restaurant’s exceptional food and charming aesthetic.

Yet appearances deceive. Each of us, while working in this environment, has experienced an intolerable level of abuse from the owner who shares his name with the restaurant. The cycle begins with the interview, when Juventino tells each applicant that his methods are “different” than she may be used to, but that the financial gain will justify the means. It’s not a coincidence that most of the new hires at this restaurant are young women with no experience in the industry, and who, more often than not, speak English as their second or third language. These factors make the initial appeal of monetary rewards even more persuasive, and the incentive to endure the abuse greater.

Public berating is commonplace, usually stemming from Juventino’s inconsistent and severe communication style, which is often exacerbated by drinking. Intelligent servers are made to feel incapable, and feedback is confusingly encouraged, discouraged, and ultimately dismissed. Employees are expected to become beholden to Juventino – to the point where everything else, including family and relationship commitments, must be put aside. This fosters an environment in which, at its least injurious, 17-hour workdays without breaks are expected, and at its most despicable, young women are subjected to unwanted sexual advances behind the closed and locked doors of Juventino’s office. 

The mental and physical toll on the staff is palpable. Former employees have experienced nightmares and anxiety for an entire year after leaving their posts. Others have lost unhealthy amounts of weight or gotten sick from the sheer exhaustion of making a constant effort to avoid Juventino’s moodswings.  Almost all of us have remarked that it was the most abusive workplace they have ever experienced.

We understand that it is bold to write a public letter of this nature, and it is not an action we have taken without serious thought and deliberation. Many of us have confronted Juventino about his misuse of authority, giving him the opportunity for dialogue and most importantly, change. Yet, he has consistently refused to acknowledge or take responsibility for his actions, even choosing to spread falsehoods about former employees who left after feeling mistreated.

We acknowledge that mistreatment is not unheard of in the restaurant industry.  This issue, however, is particularly pernicious in a small business such as this, where power and control is not distributed beyond the owner. Without a system of checks and balances, the terms of abuse can be improperly justified as a managerial style of choice and continue for years without accountability or consequence.

We are writing you today in order to give you the informed choice of your patronage.

In a community concerned with workers’ rights and conscious consumerism, we feel it is only fair to enlighten you to an environment that exists in your very neighborhood. We believe Juventino is doing a disservice not only to his servers of the past and present, but to his incredibly hardworking and honorable cooks, and ultimately to you, the unwitting guest whose patronage sustains his business and misbehavior.

We thank you for your time and support,

22 Former Juventino Employees

 To respond with your thoughts, comments or questions, please comment here or email juventinoinquiries@gmail.com

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6 Responses to The Full Story…

  1. Kudos to you all for speaking out. I read about you on Jezebel and shared the story on my fb page. Hopefully current employees will join you and come out with their stories.

    I too was harrased when I was a server in the early to mid 80’s. I was absolutley STUNNED to read that this kind of behavior is still pervasive in the industry and that this jerk in particular is so blantent about it. My sincere hope is that you all heal and know that none of this is your fault. Took me a long time to realize it for myself.

    Good luck and here’s hoping he gets the public humiliation he deserves.

  2. Isabel says:

    I think what you all are doing is incredibly brave—and of great importance!!
    I worked a number of service jobs while attending college, and finally quit serving for good when I was brought into my manager’s office (who was a woman, by the way), and told that my skirt (part of the uniform we were required to wear) was too long, and that I’d have to get it hemmed ‘a couple inches at least’ if I wanted to get better tips. I had had enough of male staff, managers, and customers, thinking I was fair game for inappropriate comments and unwanted advances. And the worst part is, any time I saw anyone try and report harassment, it was either dismissed as ‘just the culture of the business’, or frowned upon as their being ‘oversensitive’ or ‘overreacting’. Thanks for standing up for the rest of us!!

  3. Anonymous says:

    I live down the street from this place and though I have eaten at every good new restaurant in the slope, this place always had a bad vibe I could not explain. Now I know. Thanks. I hope this takes the bastard down.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I have only eaten there once because he is such a douchbag and the vibe was terrible. I hope it closes he does not desreve to succeed

  5. Anonymous says:

    i had no idea. i’ll skip it next time.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Coming from a worker whose worked here since June 2012, this is all new to me. Every work environment will have a person who is a boss and if the workers are slacking off, on their phones and/or not doing their job, the person in charge has a right to speak their mind because they are giving you an opportunity to work and get money in the struggling environment. And on an overall average, you are making a good amount. It does not take a brain scientist to obey all the laws working as a server. As for personal experience, I have never been sexually harassed, nor heard about any sexual harassment at Juventino. I can honestly say if that was the case 3 years ago, then things have definitely changed.

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