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Michael McHenry of Ginger Street, Dirty Bird Fried Chicken, Oak Wood Fire Kitchen and Southside Pizza Company on how he keeps his team energized.

Video: Michael McHenry shares how he keeps his Salt Lake City restaurants relevant during the pandemic

The operator of Ginger Street, Dirty Bird Fried Chicken, Oak Wood Fire Kitchen and Southside Pizza Company keeps his team energized

Michael McHenry has spent years incubating restaurants in the Salt Lake City, Utah, area, helping to create Costa Vida Fresh Mexican Grill, which has since grown to nearly 100 units, and 5-unit Blue Lemon, which was an early entry into the fast-fine category of limited service restaurant.

Now, through his McHenry Group, he operates four concepts: Ginger Street, a fast-casual Southeast Asian hawker street food restaurant; Nashville-inspired Dirty Bird Fried Chicken, which is also fast-casual; casual-dining Oak Wood Fire Kitchen; and Southside Pizza Company, a virtual brand that operates out of Oak.

Obviously, McHenry and his team have had to adjust during the pandemic, but in a way that focuses on the here-and-now, without spending too much energy thinking about how things used to be.

Oak Wood Fire Kitchen has been completely redesigned for lower capacity, with tables separated not just by at least six feet, but with plants in the middle to create an environment that is warm and inviting, as well as safe.

In this video, McHenry discusses how he and his team have adjusted to the new realities, returned to profitability and created a stronger team in the process.

Contact Bret Thorn at bret.thorn@informa.com 

Follow him on Twitter: @foodwriterdiary

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