DIY





Alaska's Fiddlehead Restaurant: Barters and Bootstraps

Deb Marshall founded the Fiddlehead Restaurant in Juneau, AK with the hope of shaping her future, giving back to the community, and having something to eat besides moose burgers.

| August/September 1991

When Deborah Marshall came to Anchorage in 1974 with her sister, Lydia, and a musician from New York named Scott Miller, she was looking for bluer skies and taller mountains; a sense of spirit and purpose. What she found was moose burgers. Seeing a chance to shape her future, to contribute to her community and new home, and to eat a creature smaller than her car, Deb and her band of modern pioneers came out of the cold and into the kitchen.

Her first restaurant, The Bread Factory, made soup, bread, and a small pile of money. Armed with the knowledge of what it takes to make it in the restaurant business ("a constantly replenishing stock of creativity, love, energy, and compassion," says Deb), she headed southeast to Juneau. That was 1978, and the restaurant was the Fiddlehead Restaurant and Bakery. Thirteen years later, Deb hasn't left either.

What she did leave behind were a lot of the "everybody-is-equal" management techniques she acquired from years in a collective selling organic produce. Deb exchanged that for a happy blend of employee-orientated management and benefits combined with top-down leadership. The result? A company with a conscience and an effective operating plan.

In the beginning, Deb approached her restaurant with much the same attitude as in her collective days. "We made all the decisions together. Not just the owners but the staff. If we were debating whether or not to put steak on the menu, everyone sat down and talked about it. When the discussion ended, it was two years later." 



As business blossomed and the competition stiffened ("we were the only game in town for the first four or five years," says Deb), the Fiddlehead had to outgrow the "collective" style of management. "Group decision-making just wasn't effective. We needed to move quicker than our organization was able to. We needed a change." 

The change became conscientious decision-making within a traditional corporate structure. Now there is a team of four that decides Fiddlehead policy: Deb, representing management; a chef, representing the kitchen; a personnel manager speaking for the wait staff; and an operations manager, reminding everyone of the bottom line. 






mother earth news fair 2018 schedule

MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

Next: June 2-3, 2018
Frederick, MD

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!

LEARN MORE









Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

Money-Saving Tips in Every Issue!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).


Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard