Friendly faces and great food – that is what Chuy’s is known for. But when it comes to this Tex-Mex restaurant, there’s more than meets the eye. Since opening their doors over a year ago, they have been making a difference in their community for local non-profits, like The Arc Central Chesapeake Region (The Arc).
Each of the 102 Chuy’s locations throughout the United States selects and supports a regional non-profit. “When my wife and I moved back here from Florida, I was hired on as the general manager, and my wife took a job at The Arc Central Chesapeake Region,” said Chuy’s General Manager, Douglas Degler. “Throughout her work I was able to meet the staff and members of The Arc. We’ve also had a few members of The Arc as [Chuy’s] employees, so it was a natural choice to select the organization as our local charity.”
Since the restaurant opened, Degler has worked with The Arc to hire people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to work at the restaurant. “Meaningful employment and life-sustaining wages are what we strive for, for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” said Jonathon Rondeau, CEO of The Arc Central Chesapeake Region. “It is incredibly important to have advocates in our community, like Chuy’s, who recognize and support the value that people with disabilities bring to the workplace.”
Thomas, who receives workforce development support from The Arc, was hired as a bus-boy because of his previous restaurant experience, positive attitude, and bright smile.
“As a busser who works at the ‘front of the house’—in the dining room clearing tables and interacting with customers—it’s important for us to hire someone who is responsible, personable and friendly, “ Degler said. “Thomas already knew what was expected of the position and had restaurant experience, and during his interview he told me that he just wants to make people happy and smile.”
To celebrate the successful workforce partnership, Chuy’s has invited Arc CEO, Jonathon Rondeau to be a guest bartender on Thursday, October 18 at their Annapolis location, and will be donating 10% of the proceeds to the charity. In addition to celebrate National Disability Employment Awareness Month, Chuy’s is collecting donations throughout the month of October, and has received tremendous support from the community, including from Maryland’s Governor, Larry Hogan.
Their goal is to support The Arc and encourage other local businesses to support the employment of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. “Thomas has been a great fit for us,” said Degler. “We’re excited to have someone that really rounds out our team.”
To learn more about employing people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in your workplace, please visit www.www.thearcccr.org/hire-our-workforce, or contact Christine Larsen at firstname.lastname@example.org.