Video Transcript

00:08 John Besh: New Orleans has grown, by leaps and bounds with people that are here to make a difference. If you're living in New Orleans, and you moved back after Katrina then you did so, knowing that it wouldn't be the easiest of places to navigate. After the storm it was time for this new guard of young entrepreneurs that have a very focused civic awareness that understand that we're part of this community for more than just the profits but we have to be a part of the community. In all this while, what happened to the psyche of our company is that we became a company built on civic awareness, built on making a better city, than what we had before, rebuilding the city in way that was much better.

00:57 Besh: And so, we soon started... We kind of implemented this whole program about the same time, where, if you're going to be a manager in our company then you're gonna sit on a local non-profit board. Not just sit on the board, but you are gonna be intimately involved in the happenings of whatever this charity happens to be. And so, we started working with folks like Cafe Reconcile, Cafe Hope on the West Bank, providing at-risk youth with the opportunity to not only make a living, but really make a future for themselves within the hospitality industry, the one industry that was always discounted. It was discounted in New Orleans, discounted in the States, you know, "It's just a service industry", "We got too much", "We need this", or "We need that", "We need to bring in high-tech... " which I think we do, but this industry was the only industry that's been thriving here for years and years, in spite of all the ups and downs in the economy.

01:53 Besh: And it is also... This industry along with all the others, were also discounting some of the most vulnerable children of our community, not giving them the opportunity to actually rise up. And so, we started getting involved there. One thing led to another, and we would open another restaurant here and there. Basically, the way that the company looks now, we have a total of nine restaurants, all of which, besides one, were the people that came back, the original line cooks that came back to help me open up, that came back at a moment's notice, when everybody had lost their homes and they had no place to stay and they made August their home. And so, we are investing in them, so that they can create their own vision. And in part, what's happened is this whole thing has morphed into a company now where we have one unified vision and that is making the world a better place, one plate at a time. And no matter what we do, there is a charitable component to that but we just don't do it.