Joy Zarembka of Busboys and Poets on Inviting Customers to Take a Deliberate Pause | Summary and Q&A

July 4, 2023
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Joy Zarembka of Busboys and Poets on Inviting Customers to Take a Deliberate Pause


Joy Zarembka, the CEO of Busboys and Poets, shares the story of the restaurant group and its mission to create an inclusive space that fosters community, art, and social justice.

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Key Insights

  • 😖 Busboys and Poets is founded on the belief in the power of storytelling, community building, and fostering inclusivity.
  • 🥋 The deliberate pause concept allows customers to relax and engage with various forms of art, culture, and literature.
  • 💪 The restaurant group has a strong social justice element and actively promotes discussions on important issues.
  • ✊ Joy Zarembka's role in transforming the company's technology partner, Toast, showcases the power of customer feedback and the importance of community engagement.
  • 🛄 Busboys and Poets is focused on scalability and aims to expand its warm and inclusive concept to other neighborhoods and communities.
  • 👾 The restaurant group prioritizes diversity in its hiring practices and aims to create a welcoming space for people from all backgrounds.
  • 💪 There is a strong emphasis on building a strong sense of community within and outside the restaurant through events, collaborations, and partnerships.


Welcome to Restaurant Influencers presented by Entrepreneur. My name is Shawn Walchef, founder of Cali BBQ and Cali BBQ Media. In Life. In the restaurant business and in the new creator economy, we learn through lessons and stories. We are grateful to toast our primary technology partner at our restaurants and also for letting us host this show her... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: What is the inspiration behind the creation of Busboys and Poets?

The concept was inspired by Langston Hughes, who worked as a busboy before becoming a renowned poet. The founder, Andy Shallal, wanted to create a restaurant that offered an inclusive space for all.

Q: How does Busboys and Poets foster social justice?

The restaurant aims to amplify voices that are often unheard and create an inclusive environment where everyone feels welcome. They actively promote and engage in conversations about race, class, gender, and other important social issues.

Q: What makes Busboys and Poets different from other restaurants?

Busboys and Poets is not just a restaurant but a multifunctional space that offers various experiences. From dining to art exhibitions, book signings, performances, and community events, it aims to be a hub for creativity and connection.

Q: How does Busboys and Poets prioritize hiring with diversity?

The company believes in creating intentional communities and strives to hire individuals with diverse backgrounds and talents. They want their staff to reflect the larger community and give opportunities for growth and upward mobility.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Busboys and Poets is a restaurant group that started with the vision of creating a warm and inviting space for everyone, inspired by Langston Hughes, a busboy and poet.

  • The restaurant functions as a community gathering place, restaurant, bar, event space, bookstore, and art gallery, with a focus on making everyone feel comfortable, welcome, and heard.

  • The company aims to provide a deliberate pause for customers to relax, enjoy their surroundings, and engage with various forms of art and culture.

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