MILWAUKEE — In less than 24 hours, Ruben Hopkins will be unveiling his most impactful project yet. Over the next six months, he along with other members of the Wisconsin Black Chamber of Commerce will help six Black-owned restaurants take their customer service skills to the next level.
“You have to invest in the people you claim you represent,” said Hopkins.
In order to do this, the chamber plans to give out $100,000 worth of gift certificates to people in the area at random. Those who are chosen will be able to spend that certificate at one of six restaurants selected for the program, offering feedback along the way.
“We will monitor that entire process,” said Hopkins. “There are some basic customer service principles that I think everybody expects.”
From there, Hopkins and his team will meet monthly with those restaurants, providing constructive criticism, and solutions to help each business improve its overall service.
“A lot of businesses fail because they’re not good in certain areas,” said Jason Alston. “Just because you can cook does it mean that you can keep that business open.”
Heaven’s Table BBQ owner Jason Alston was excited to hear about the new initiative. He says oftentimes, Black business owners don’t have access to all the resources they need to be successful.
“A lot of us don’t have family members or parents or rich uncles that have been in their shoes before. A lot of us are new path-makers.”
That’s why he says he’d be honored to take part in the program if given the chance.
“No matter how long you’ve been in business, you always have to be willing to learn,” said Alston. “We would embrace any help or advice somebody wants to give to us.”
The chamber will announce the first six restaurants chosen for the program at Coffee Makes you Black on Thursday, Jan. 19, at 1 p.m.
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