Charlie Foster, chef Boston Woods Hill Table, Woods Hill Pier 4 Adelita. Eagle Hill Episode

Boston Chef Charlie Foster Discusses Creating a Purpose-Driven Culture and Resilience During COVID-19

ARLINGTON, Va.,  Eagle Hill Consulting has released Episode 4 of its podcast, cultur[ED], featuring conversations with top culture makers. The guest on this latest episode is Charlie Foster, chef and partner at three restaurants in the Greater Boston area – Woods Hill Table, Woods Hill Pier 4 and Adelita.


During the podcast, Foster discusses the purpose-driven culture at the restaurants – a culture that is about making a difference, giving employees a sense of meaning, and drawing on support from one another. The first restaurant, Woods Hill Table in Concord, Massachusetts, "was created for the purpose of social and environmental sustainability with the belief that what we eat can better both our lives and the planet."

"Companies with a purpose-driven culture typically have a workforce that is fulfilled and driven, which ultimately strengthens the business. And we know that employees who find purpose in their work rather than just seeing it as a means to a paycheck are more motivated, engaged and productive," says Melissa Jezior, the host of cultur[ED] and CEO of Eagle Hill Consulting. 

The restaurants take the farm-table concept to a whole new and innovative level. When opening the first restaurant, the owners were committed to serving meat raised with rigorous environmental and ethical standards. But there wasn't an ample supply available, which led to the purchase of a New Hampshire farm to supply the restaurant.  Today, the lead farmer at the 360-acre organic, Farm at Woods Hill, raises cows, pigs, chickens, hens, lambs, and also grows blueberries, garlic, pumpkins, apples and mushrooms that supply all three restaurants. The restaurants also are supplied by local farmers to support local communities and to reduce the energy needed for transportation and refrigeration, while also using local and American made products throughout the restaurants.

Foster says that the purpose-driven culture helps with employee retention in an industry that is known for high turnover. "We've had employees that have worked for the company since day one and still are here, which is uncommon in the restaurant world," Foster says. 

"It's a demanding profession, especially when you're in a fine dining atmosphere. There's a lot of pressure, and there's a lot of stress. As we're seeing around the country and the world, the restaurant industry needs to work on the way it treats staff and how people in positions of power behave. The fact that we have such a low turnover indicates that people are feeling positive about our workplace," he explains.

During the podcast, Foster also discusses how the staff have tapped into their resilience and innovation to manage through the COVID-19 pandemic.  He explained that big challenges are nothing new for the team.

"We solve many other really weird, difficult problems, and here's another one," Foster says. "What are we going to do and can we be creative about this? How are we going to shift the operation? How are we going to pivot? How are we going to be flexible? We're accustomed to unprecedented and crazy challenges."

Listen to the interview and subscribe to the podcast here.

cultur[ED] features conversations with top culturemakers in the world today from a variety of industries and backgrounds to unpack the visible and not-so-visible forces that make up this often overlooked super power of an organization. 

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