A California restaurant will be keeping its operations closed for two weeks to give its hard-working chef from Thailand some well-deserved time off.
Chef’s Choice Noodle Bar in Bakersfield posted a sign on September 19 announcing that the restaurant would be having a two-week break.
“We close this restaurant for two weeks every fall, in order for him to visit his family and recharge himself,” the sign read. “We apologize for any inconvenience and look forward to having you visit us when his back and refreshed on October 4th!”
The restaurant, which specializes in predominantly Thai with a few Japanese, Vietnamese, and fusion items, is reportedly treating their 56-year-old head chef, Preeda Piamfa, to a paid vacation so he can spend some time with his family, according to Daily Mail.
Piamfa, who moved to the United States to find work in the mid-90s, left behind his wife and two children back in Thailand. In his 15 years of working as a chef at smaller Thai restaurants in California, where he earned less than $3,000 per month, Piamfa has never had an opportunity to return to his family for a visit.
Things changed for the better in 2011, however, when Piamfa was recruited by Nick Hansa and his wife Pum to be their head chef at the newly opened Chef’s Choice Noodle Bar.
When he was hired, Piamfa opened up to his new employers that he missed his family and had not seen them in a very long time. The owners then made a decision to close the restaurant each year so he could have some time off for his family.
“We made the decision from the start to commit to Preeda, and informed him we would close for two weeks a year and, yes, pay for his ticket,” Nick Hansa was quoted as saying.
“Over the past six years, Preeda has become a part of our family,” he added.
Shutting down operations for two weeks is not without losses for the restaurant as it is set to lose around $50,000 during that period. Its 35 staff members are also getting paid vacation.
Hansa said the sacrifice is all worth it to show commitment to his “extremely close” staff.
“Although we lose some revenue, this policy has really cemented our relationship with our head chef, which we believe will keep stable staffing and assure our long-term success,” he said.
It was the first time the owners revealed their reason for its annual closing, by posting a sign outside the restaurant and on their Facebook page.
“Our head chef is from Thailand, and every year we send him back to visit his family,” the sign read.
“Prior to coming to work at Chef’s Choice Noodle Bar, he had not seen his family for 15 years, but when he joined The Noodle Bar Family, we wanted him to have the opportunity to see his fairly on a more regular basis.”
A photo of the announcement was eventually shared on Reddit, which quickly then spread to social media. Shortly after going viral, the restaurant received massive praise from netizens for its generous gesture.
“I would eat here for the sole fact that they care about their employees this much,” a netizen wrote.
“Very cool of the restaurant to realize how important family is and they give this opportunity to the head chef,” another one commented.