Restaurant Owner Thinks Immigrants Make America Great

There has been a lot of talk about immigrants and immigration in this country lately and no matter how you feel about our current president’s views, I am pretty sure that all of us in the restaurant industry can agree on one thing: without immigrants our restaurants would be in a sorry state. I challenge you to find one restaurant that doesn’t have at least one employee that was born in a country other than the United States. Legal or illegal, every restaurant I have ever worked in has had an employee, usually a dishwasher or busser, who was new to this country and they were just thankful to have a job. After all, it’s not like anyone at the Houlihan’s I worked in was dying to have Keebee’s position. He was from Africa and spoke very broken English, but he busted his ass in that dish room and always had a smile on his face. It says a lot about him that I haven’t worked there in almost twenty years, but I still remember him. He was a hard worker and I hope he’s doing well now.

A restaurant in Brooklyn recently made a stir when the owner had a message printed at the bottom of the receipt. Unlike most places that simply say “have a nice day” or “thank you for coming in,” this restaurant receipt said “Immigrants make America great (they also cooked your food and served you today). The restaurant is called Kiwiana and is owned by Chef Mark Simmons, himself an immigrant from New Zealand. A photo of the receipt was tweeted out by NBC News contributor Mary Emily O’Hara and quickly received over 90,000 retweets and 245,000 likes. That amount of interaction tells me that plenty of people fully agree with the sentiment of the receipt.

I don’t have any desire to get political on this blog. This is a place for us to share our common feelings about this job we have taken upon ourselves. However, I hope that we can all applaud this restaurant owner for reminding so many people that the vast majority of immigrants in this country are here striving for the same things that those of us who were born here strive for: success, happiness and a job that will give us the opportunity to reach our goals. At my restaurant, if we only kept the people who were born in this country, we would lose two thirds of our staff. We would have no one in the kitchen and there would only be two servers and one bartender left. The owner of the restaurant is Chinese and I’m not sure if he was born here, but I’m sure that his parents weren’t.

This country relies on immigrants and our restaurants rely on them even more. I’m all for making America great, but I feel that it’s already pretty great to begin with. And we owe a lot of that greatness to those who came from other countries.

11 thoughts on “Restaurant Owner Thinks Immigrants Make America Great

  1. The Prozac Queen

    The owner of my workplace is Greek and recruited several immigrants to work in the kitchen. He puts them up in a trailer behind the restaurant, pays them very well and does whatever is needed to help them get a leg up because he did what they’re doing-coming to a new country to make a better life for themselves. Without immigrants we’d be sunk-no doubt. I applaud this manager for telling it like it is.

  2. Megan

    I have worked in many restaurants over the years, and the immigrant population held most of the positions. Not only did they have some crappy jobs (plunging that clogged toilet, ugh) but did them well.
    The restaurants had, from time to time, hired an American to work . Dishwashing, bussing ,prepping etc . They never lasted, they couldn’t handle the 10-12 hour days, constantly going out for a smoke, bitching the whole time! I am an American, and a hard working one, and i’d rather work with most immigrants than most Americans.

  3. Anonymous

    It honestly baffles me that that republicans hate immigrants. Guess what, if you live in the US and you are white (like most republicans), then your family is descended from immigrants. Get over yourselves.

  4. Jacob Jack

    Immigrants DO make it great, and they are law abiding citizens that contribute to the USA!

    ILLEGAL ALIENS do not! They are breaking the law and making this country not so great to the legal immigrants that have the RIGHT to be here. I am a legal immigrant that has busted my butt to be here legally. Abide by the law and follow the process that is already established. PERIOD!

  5. Karen

    The above link to the video does NOT show Democrats supporting Trumps ban and wall. It simply shows top Democrats speaking out about stemming ILLEGAL immigration. Duh!


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