I say this a lot. So much so that my friend Kristen bought me a bright green trucker, emblazoned with the word in gold glittery letters on the front. The wikipedias tell us that
“The word aloha derives from the Proto-Polynesian root *qarofa, and ultimately from Proto-Polynesian. It has cognates in other Polynesian languages, such as Samoan alofa and Māori aroha, also meaning “love”.A folk etymology claims that it derives from a compound of the Hawaiian words alo meaning “presence”, “front”, “face”, or “share”; and ha, meaning “breath of life” or “essence of life.” Although alo does indeed mean “presence”, etc. by itself, the word for “breath” has a long A (hā), whereas the word aloha does not.
If I lived in Hawaii, I’d be be all “essence of life” on you every time I saw you too. Alas, I live in Baton Rouge, LA, aka “not hawaii” (please begin using this in the local news, newspeople!), a place while known for grabbing an “essence of life”, it is also equally know for horrendous traffic and humidity that makes Hawaii look dry.
Hawaii is also home to one of the greatest endurance sporting events in the world. The Ironman Triathlon World Championships and once a year is likely the healthiest place on the earth. “Not Hawaii”? We have The Louisiana Marathon, the best marathon in the country. We are coming for you Hawaii!!
This city is the place that I have chosen to build a brand. A healthy food, ass kicking fitness brand. FRESHJUNKIE.
2 months ago I made a choice at FRESHJUNKIE. We aren’t like other brands and we needed some fundamental changes. We are more than food-we could change the menu completely and if we are doing what we believe in with a respect for the ingredients, a respect for our health, and a passion to improve our employees and CUSTOMERS, then the people will come get what we are giving.
CULTURE IS BUILT FROM WITHIN.
2 months ago, when the industry told me to go right, I went left. No longer would I hire “kitchen people” and expect them to be “healthy lifestyle” people. While I love helping people make positive change, you can’t force someone to “get it”. Instead, I would hire people who were already what I want the brand to be. We would turn them into “kick ass healthy” kitchen people.
COMPANY CULTURE or COMPANY ANTICULTURE
This buzzword is nearly as nauseating as “moving the needle” or “core competencies”. I am not corporate, yet we have to have to define who we want to first aspire to be, so we can then hire correctly. FRESHJUNKIE is a brand built by and defined by me. I belive that people should eat healthy. I believe in helping people get healthy, and the brand should be a testament to this.
Since we are using buzzwords, I thought I would share our MANIFESTO of sorts. It was on the window of my store for 4 months while I scrambled to get funding. Nothing in life is ever finished and lately I have been rethinking this “manifesto” and thinking about the forces that drive it.
Nothing in life is ever finished and lately I have been rethinking this “manifesto” and thinking about the forces that drive it. The list below is important. We believe it.
WE RESPECT OURSELVES
WE RESPECT EACH OTHER
WE RESPECT THE INGREDIENTS
WE RESPECT THE ENVIRONMENT
WE TURN NO INTO YES
WE TURN ILLNESS TO HEALTH
WE BELIEVE OUR OWN HYPE
WE EXIST TO MAKE OTHERS BETTER
WE WANT TO BE AWESOME
WE WANT TO CHANGE THE WORLD
My first “new hire” was a friend named Lacey. She is an avid runner and one of the most positive people I know. She had a job, but over time I told her, If you ever what to discuss a change, let me know. She had no real kitchen experience, but she has a joy for life and a joy to help others. I felt pretty confident we could make it work.
She has been with us a little over a month, and something that happened yesterday prompted this post. This week she took over the store on her own, and in her way, has reached out to all the employees to see what makes them tick. She is figuring out what they want in life and how we as a brand can aid in accomplishing this. This morning she took an employee running. That employee in turn wants to engage another employee to help them get healthier.
No we haven’t changed the whole world yet, but if “company culture” has ever been a thing, it is occurring in real time, and in front of my own eyes. It is coming from within and it is confirming my left turn belief.
If you give people the opportunity to shine and to help build something great, I think that they just might. We can build an awesome island in a sea of bad health and be the change we want to see.