American dining is at a fork in the road.

FORKED: A New Standard for American Dining offers an insider's view of the highest—and lowest—scoring restaurants for worker pay and benefits, and with it, a new way of thinking about how and where we eat. It provides actionable ways for restaurant owners, employees, and diners to positively implement change in this massive sector of the U.S. economy.

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Take the High Road Pledge

Learn how you can support the restaurant industry in taking the high road to success.

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Short Films

Join Saru Jayaraman, best-selling author of Behind The Kitchen Door, as she meets restaurant employers all over the country who are taking the 'high road' to profitability, and who are featured in her latest book Forked: A New Standard for American Dining.

Episode 1: Florida Avenue Grill
Episode 2: Danny Meyer
Episode 3: Vimala's Curry Blossom Cafe

The High Road

What does it mean for a restaurant owner to choose the “high road” to profitability?

If restaurants meet ROC United’s standards on wages, benefits, and promotion practices, we consider them “high road” restaurants. Many of these restaurants have joined RAISE, an association of restaurant industry leaders committed to high road principles.

Check this list and find out which restaurants are doing right by their employees!

This guide isn’t about boycotting certain restaurants. We want you to continue to dine at all your favorite restaurants, but if they don’t score well in the guide (or are absent altogether), we want you to tell the restaurant owners that fair wages and good working conditions are important to you.

How are we grading restaurants?

We see the High Road as a journey not a destination and with this spirit in mind we seek to provide recognition to those that have made clear commitments to improving wages and working conditions. At a minimum, this means operating above the minimum expectations mandated by law and committing to improving operations with respect to wages and working conditions. Those that are on the Low Road have not made a clear commitment at scale, meaning they do not have a standard above mandated laws that matches their financial ability to do so. Simply stated, they often do the minimum required by law.

Learn more about our grading criteria

Take the High Road pledge and learn how you can support the restaurant industry in taking the high road to success.

Saru Jayaraman

Author of Forked: A New Standard for American Dining and Behind the Kitchen Door

    Jayaraman is Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC United) and Director of the Food Labor Research Center at University of California, Berkeley. After 9/11, together with displaced World Trade Center workers, she co-founded ROC, which now has more than 18,000 worker members, 170 employer partners, and several thousand consumer members in over 15 states nationwide. The story of Saru and her co-founder’s work founding ROC has been chronicled in the book The Accidental American. Saru is a graduate of Yale Law School and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. She was profiled in the New York Times’ “Public Lives” section in 2005, named one of Crain’s “40 Under 40” in 2008, was 1010 Wins’ “Newsmaker of the Year” and New York Magazine’s “Influentials” of New York City.

    She was listed in CNN’s “Top10 Visionary Women” and recognized as a Champion of Change by the White House in 2014, and a James Beard Foundation Leadership Award in 2015. Saru authored Behind the Kitchen Door (Cornell University Press, 2013), a national bestseller, and has appeared on CNN with Soledad O’Brien, Bill Moyers Journal on PBS, Melissa Harris Perry and UP with Chris Hayes on MSNBC, Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO, the Today Show, and NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams.

Book Events

Dates to be announced:

Albany, NY
Boston, MA
Chicago, IL
Detroit, MI
Hartford, CT
Los Angeles, CA

See All Events
Forked: A New Standard For American Dining by Saru Jayaraman
Oxford University Press, February 2016.
9780199380473 — $24.95 — 224 pages
Take the High Road pledge and learn how you can support the restaurant industry in taking the high road to success.
Short Films The High Road Author Book Events Diners’ Guide
Take the High Road pledge and learn how you can support the restaurant industry in taking the high road to success.