Form Health Links Colorado:
Steuben’s Restaurant becomes the First Certified Healthy Business Leader in the Industry
Health Links Colorado recognizes Steuben’s Food Service as a restaurant who has created a culture of health and safety for their employees.
April 28, 2014 – They may serve chicken and waffles on their brunch menu, but Josh Wolkon and his wife Jen, who opened Stueben’s in 2007, have prioritized employee health, safety and well-being and it shows. After successfully opening Vesta Dipping Grill, the duo created Steuben’s named and designed after a historic Boston restaurant that was family owned in the 1940’s. The vision was to create a place that captured the taste of all of the favorite diner foods. From lobster rolls to fried chicken and bbq ribs, Steuben’s has created the classic quality food. A few short years after the Steuben’s was born, Ace came into the picture in 2012. The trendy bar quickly grew as a popular hangout in the Denver area. But beyond the home-style food, classy cocktails, and ping-pong tables, Secret Sauce – the umbrella for all three restaurants -- has created more than a great place for customers to connect and enjoy life – they have created a culture of health and safety for their employees that is spreading throughout the Denver community.
David Provencher has been with Secret Sauce for the past two years working with his excellent team to successfully run Steuben’s. Hospitality is his passion and he works hard to make sure that other’s find their passion as well. “I just want to create a space that gives people a chance to be everything they’ve always wanted to be,” said David when asked what his overall goal for creating a healthy and safe place for his employees. David’s background in physical therapy has allowed him to bring something to the industry that is not common – a passion for health. Following the example of Josh and Jen’s active lifestyle, David decided that it was time to bring that enthusiasm into the workplace. After seeing his staff create their own wellness challenges a couple of times, he began to create something that would be sustainable and continue long after his current staff had moved on to fulfill their dreams.
David began recruiting lead employees from each of the Secret Sauce restaurants who would be able to help bring excitement to their new wellness program and launched their first official 90-day “Biggest Loser” challenge. “Restaurant hours can be grueling on the staff and our tendency is to get off of our shift, have a few drinks and head home to sleep before the next day of long hours. I know that if I get up and go workout before I head in for my shift I have a lot more energy and am more excited about my job after I am done. That’s the kind of enthusiasm I want to instill among my staff.”
David hoped he could get at least 30-40 people to join the first challenge to kick-off their wellness program, but to his surprise 75 employees signed up and have been committed. This excitement continues to build and the new wellness team made up of leaders from each of the three Secret Sauce restaurants will meet on a regular basis once a month and come up with new challenges and ideas together. What started as a little passion and a common lifestyle for three people has grown into a fiery culture that has become the overall mission for the entire company.
Because of the commitment to health and safety, Steuben’s, Ace and Vesta have all been certified as Healthy Business Leaders from Health Links Colorado. Health Links is a nonprofit initiative out of the Colorado School of Public Health that recognizes leaders businesses across the state who met criteria for worksite wellness programs and who have demonstrated outstanding commitment to creating healthy and safe environments for their workers. Through Healthy Business Certification, Health Links is able to spotlight today’s health and wellness business leaders while boosting the Colorado economy. Health Links aims to Advise, Certify and Connect businesses to each other and to the resources around them, creating “Colorado’s Wellness Hub for Businesses” in order to help make Colorado the healthiest state in the nation.
Health Links™ is a nonprofit initiative from the Center for Worker Health and Environment, within the Colorado School of Public Health, a collaboration of the University of Colorado, Colorado State University and the University of Northern Colorado. Health Links™ is made possible through a start-up grant from Pinnacol Assurance and funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the Hollis Family Trust. For more information, visit www.healthlinkscolorado.org.