CARLSBAD, Calif — The Yard House restaurants in San Diego County are being recognized for going the extra yard; they serve up smiles and a sense of self-worth to a group of special employees.
The work Kathy Roger does at the Yard House in Carlsbad is done well before the first customer takes a seat.
“I kind of brag to everybody, ‘hey, I got the Yard House job,” said Roger. "What I do is I straighten out the napkin, I fold it. We come in here three days a week to do the napkins and the silverware."
It's a job she and her coworkers do meticulously and with great care.
"I just love coming here because I feel warm and welcoming from the managers and everybody here. I just feel like they're a part of the family,” continued Roger.
They're all clients of the Arc of San Diego, the largest provider of services with people with disabilities.
"I love watching our clients be happy with themselves and feeling like they're a part of something,” said Megan Bosse who is with The Arc of San Diego.
The Arc matches them with businesses willing to hire those with special needs. For the past 13 years, the Yard House has been a partner and proud supporter.
Ben Benzon, General Manager of the Yard House in Carlsbad said, "They do a great job. It's pretty cool to watch them develop and watch them grow."
With three restaurants in San Diego County, Yard House recently received the Star Award from the California Disabilities Services Association for helping people with developmental disabilities develop job skills.
"It's absolutely humbling. The award wasn't something I even knew was out there. We just do this because we think it's the right thing to do,” said Benzon.
He described the partnership as a win-win, adding, “They play a huge part in making sure our restaurant is set up and making sure it's ready for our guests.”
For the team members, they get to earn a paycheck and leave with a whole lot of pride.
“You can tell that it definitely empowers them, it allows them to lead more independent lives,” added Bosse.
“It's fantastic, they really treat us really good, and we just want somebody to appreciate us,” explained Roger.