Fast-casual restaurant chain leads the charge in gender diversity

BY Marianne Wilson

Tender Greens wants to see more women in leadership positions in the restaurant industry.

The company announced that by the end of 2020, 50% of its restaurant leadership positions will be filled by women in order to assure that company initiatives, policies and practices are created from a set of diverse ideas and perspectives. The positions include executive chef, sous chef, and restaurant manager. Tender Greens said it hopes that its commitment inspires others in their industry to do the same.

“As a collective industry, no one is doing a good job identifying and cultivating female talent,” said CEO Denyelle Bruno. “The industry is in a labor crisis and most of the jobs are dominated by men, especially in the kitchen. I want Tender Greens to do better. I believe that by prioritizing to diversify our team will allow Tender Greens to merge a variety of perspectives, ideas and philosophies, resulting in new innovations that positively affect our bottom line.”

Founded in 2006, Tender Greens serves up healthy fare in a fast-casual format. The company operates 30 locations across California, New York, and Massachusetts. Bruno plans to double the company’s footprint with new locations in the pipeline including Boston and New York City (a site in Manhattan’s Bryant Park slated to open early May), as well as new markets beyond its current geographical footprint.

There remains an alarming disparity between women and men helming positions in the restaurant industry, which is known for being a “boys club.” Out of 72 Michelin-starred restaurants in New York, only six are run by women. Over 27 years, 361 James Beard Awards have been given, and only 81 of them have gone to women.


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