We’re deeply disappointed that the need exists to write this letter.
You may have heard that last night during a televised Sarasota City Commission meeting, one City Commissioner chose to call out our Michael’s On East family to claim that “Michael's on East has not one black person working there.” As we all know, and can see by looking around, that statement is patently false.
We are proud that our Michael’s On East family is full of dedicated individuals whose ages, races and cultures vary widely. A diverse workforce brings different perspectives - and unique flavors - to our team. Michael’s On East has been successful for more than 32 years because we hire incredible people who are qualified for their job, show up to work, and are committed to excellence in hospitality, regardless of race.
This business wasn’t created around fulfilling diversity quotas, or categorizing our staff as statistics. We think of you as our lifelong friends and family -- much more than just a “number.” But if we were made to lean on data to back up the facts, out of about 175 team members, roughly 30% of you are non-white.
On the other hand, our business was built around people and the stories we all share over food - whether cooking it, serving it, or eating it. There are so many special Michael’s moments that come to mind when we think about what has shaped our team into who we are today. Senior Catering Captain, Tracey McCammack, whom many of you may know as “The Catering Queen,” spoke on Facebook today about how much our culture of inclusivity means to her, and we couldn’t say it any better ourselves.
“I am so grateful for the diversity in the guests we serve, and more than that, I am ever grateful for the people I have worked with through the years - from every single imaginable race and religion.
Addiction issue? No problem — our team has helped people recover and get clean.
Hungry families? I have witnessed our team give food to families until they were able to provide for themselves.
Mental illness? Not an issue — I have witnessed firsthand how help has been provided.
Special needs? No problem — There have been several members of the team who fit right in because they are simply on the team.
Gay, straight, bisexual, trans? Not a single bit of judgment has ever been handed out. Everyone is always welcomed.
Maybe you made a bad choice and have a criminal record? Absolutely no judgment is given.
Whether someone joins our team as their first job and is young, or seasoned and of a certain age when it can become hard to find a job... they have always fit right in.
I am filled with an overwhelming gratitude for the amazing mix of people I have been lucky enough to be able to work alongside. No matter what color we are or language we speak, we are all the same . I enjoy walking through my job with you.
It is our hope that you all take this unfortunate incident in stride and continue to share with others what makes our Michael’s On East family unique. Thank you all for making Michael’s On East such a special place - our company would not be what it is without each of you. You are appreciated and loved.
Michael & Phil