Pomegranate Hospitality, the new restaurant management group founded by Israeli Chef Alon Shaya in New Orleans, takes a fresh approach to staffing restaurants. Named after the symbolic fruit, the company empowers each team member to equally contribute to the prosperity and growth of the company and to successfully build their own tree.
Launched in September 2017, the brand has grown from one employee to 170 and opened its two flagship restaurants in the spring and summer of this year. Shaya and his team bring modern Israeli cuisine to the table at Saba (Hebrew for grandfather), in New Orleans. At their Denver location, Safta (Hebrew for grandmother), Shaya describes the cuisine as “Israeli comfort food you would find in a hip grandma’s house. Our first two are the grandparents, we began with a layer of comfort.” Wood oven pillows of pita and plates of silky hummus star in each location.
“The blueprint of the company empowers each employee with the core values of accountability, creativity, passion, education, empowerment, equality, communication and organization,” Suzi Darre Director of People and Culture said. “We have a mission we feel very strongly about. The central focus of everything we do is our core values. We promise to respect each other. It’s a genuine daily way of life.” The mission is displayed on the restaurants’ walls for all to see.
Pomegranate Hospitality chooses to close its restaurants on Mondays and Tuesdays to create a healthy work-life balance for the team. Family meal is prepared by staff twice daily, and every Thursday features lunch and learn where the staff takes turns teaching a skill they are passionate about. “Last week we made Mardi Gras headdresses at Saba,” Darre said.
“We are a very new company in a hard industry. We invest in our people. We are in it for the marathon,” Shaya said. “We focus on our team so much, they’re so happy and it translates to the guest experience.”