The mission of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) United is to improve wages and working conditions for the nation’s restaurant workforce.
We are thousands of people who work in restaurants, over 750 high-road employers, and thousands of engaged consumers united for raising restaurant industry standards.
The Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York was initially founded in New York City by Fekkak Mamdouh and Saru Jayaraman after September 11th, 2001 to provide support to people who work in restaurants who were displaced as a result of the World Trade Center tragedy. Based on our successful efforts in New York City, many who worked in restaurants in several other cities approached ROC about initiating chapters in their cities. Thus, in 2008 we launched the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, which has grown into a national organization with thousands of members who work in restaurants nationwide.
Since its founding, ROC United has won more than a dozen workplace justice campaigns, winning more than $10 million in misappropriated tips and wages and discrimination payments for people who work in restaurants, and significant policy changes in high-profile restaurant companies covering thousands of people. We have played an instrumental role in winning statewide minimum wage increases for those who work for tips in restaurants, and other policy campaigns at the local, state, and federal levels. ROC also partners with over 750 responsible restaurant owners to promote the ‘high road’ to profitability, has trained more than 5,000 people to advance to livable-wage jobs within the industry, and has published over 30 ground-breaking reports and a nationally bestselling book on the restaurant industry.