A Michigan restaurant running as a “socialist collective” has finally shut its doors, in a perfect example of what an economic disaster socialism really is. They called it a “progressive business model,” but the Bartertown Diner, which changed its name to “The Garden Diner and Café” was “communistic,” as they proudly declared, Hypeline.org is reporting. The 30-seat vegan restaurant was run by chef Ryan Cappellatti and baker Roxanne Aguilar. It was popular enough to be listed in several “top tens” for vegan cuisine. They managed to keep in business running for five years, but perhaps with the same charisma as Stalin, they might have lasted longer. Here’s how Cappellatti said they were going to operate their business when they opened in 2011: “Because of our economy, people are working 12- to-15-hour shifts, servers take home $200 to $300 a night in tips, the cooks are making $10 an hour and the owner takes whatever he takes, ” Cappelletti told MLive in 2011. “We’re going to have equal pay and equal say across the board. Everyone working together.” Employees would be expected to join the union, Industrial Workers of the World, he said. In keeping with the “worker-empowerment” theme, he commissioned a mural depicting Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara, Chinese communist leader Mao Zedong and other provocative leaders tackling restaurant duties. Because of their “no-tipping,” “living-wage” policy, they needed a massive level of sales to sustain their high business costs.
Cappelletti, who described himself as a high school dropout who “worked in a lot of kitchens” before “getting into vegetarian food and then vegan food,” would run his business on this model of everyone being paid equally in the restaurant as a part of his effort to “reinvent the restaurant world.” One of his complaints of the American restaurant industry was the belief that the customer is always right—something he refuted by saying: “If you walk into an art museum and ask to rearrange the background on a particular painting, they won’t accommodate you. Why should chefs?”
The restaurant had a loyal following, but often people had to wait 40 minutes for a sandwich and the shop kept reducing their hours of operation. Workers said they were even expected to join the Marxist/Anarchist group Industrial Workers of the World, though the shop denied that. The business – and pizza shop next door that was also owned by Cappellatti – is now for sale for $60,000. That’s the value of a popular, five-year old sandwich shop with a loyal following a good food when you mix a little Marxism in. 60 grand.