kō•än Reopens on “Juneteeth” with NAACP Fundraiser

The acclaimed Cary restaurant, kō•än, will reopen on Friday, June 19, with a special nod to the Black Lives Matter movement. Both kō•än and so•ca plan to donate 100% of the day’s proceeds to the NAACP and Black Lives Matter Bailfund Campaign.

Known as Juneteenth, June 19 is an annual holiday observing the end of slavery in the U.S. and marks the day in 1865 when news of emancipation reached Galveston, Texas.

“An industry built on racism, slavery and mistreatment of vulnerable human beings, should go away for good, along with all the other statues and relics and reminders of our shameful past,” said Sean Degnan, owner of the two restaurants. “The murder of George Floyd like so many others, and the many victims of sexual abuse in our community and our industry were the terrible miracles we all needed to witness, in order to ever make any real and lasting change.”

Sean Degnan speaks to employees outside so*ca in Raleigh. Photo courtesy of Sean Degnan

The kō•än and so•ca family have also renamed themselves as “hospitality•NOW” and have launched a significant change in how employees are paid. Staff will earn at least $15 per hour and offered paid time off, so anyone feeling ill can feel comfortable staying home. Tips will also be split among team members.

In addition to those changes, “hospitality•NOW” will include a sustainable hospitality charge on all dining experiences.

“This 10% charge will allow both restaurants to help fund sick time for employees, which keeps our guests and staff safe,” Degnan said.

Degnan says he wants to help change the restaurant industry for the better, and encourage other restaurant owners to follow suit. The team hopes the community will start using #86two13 on social media, to encourage owners to rethink the industry standard of paying staff $2.13 per hour.

“It’s time to show respect and treat our staff with dignity, and paying a living, sustainable wage does just that,” he said.

In regards to COVID-19 practices, employees will adhere to social distancing and continue to wear gloves and masks. kō•än and so•ca have created a plan to serve all guests safely, in the long term, while not risking any of their employees getting sick themselves.

In the event that someone does get sick at the restaurant—a guest or employee—they will close for at least two weeks or until it is safe to reopen again.

kō•än and so•ca will be open Tuesdays-Saturdays, 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.


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