A Taste Of Inclusivity: The Flip Side Partners with StaffWorks

Ben and April work together to create a welcoming dining experience for The Flip Side customers.

Lakes Region Community Services (LRCS) and the LRCS StaffWorks program are thrilled to announce a collaboration with The Flip Side, a new restaurant in Laconia committed to redefining inclusivity and providing meaningful opportunities for individuals with developmental disabilities. The driving force behind this initiative is Jeanin “Nin” Onos, the founder of The Flip Side, who draws inspiration from her personal experiences with her son, Devon, on the autism spectrum, and her cousin Tracey who experiences Down’s syndrome.

The core philosophy at The Flip Side is centered around empowering individuals with developmental disabilities or acquired brain disorders, including StaffWorks program members, Ben, Adam, and April, who have recently joined the restaurant team. Nin’s vision goes beyond just serving delicious food; it aims to create a supportive platform for personal and professional growth.

Ben, Adam, and April sought employment at The Flip Side because it offered new opportunities and a chance to learn new skills in a different environment. StaffWorks Job Developer, Tessa Bartlett, recognized their unique strengths and suitability for the roles, supporting them through the interview, hiring, and job training processes.

Job duties at The Flip Side for Ben, Adam, and April vary day to day, but include greeting customers, taking drink orders, bussing tables, and dishwashing. Each of the individuals has found a favorite task that aligns with their interests and strengths, showcasing the restaurant’s commitment to recognizing and leveraging the unique skills of each team member.

Adam, with his newfound confidence, has discovered joy in tasks such as taking drink orders, checking on customers, and washing dishes. These responsibilities not only play to his strengths but also allow him to interact with patrons in a meaningful way, contributing to his personal and professional growth.

April, known for her meticulous nature, has found her niche in washing dishes. Her attention to detail and commitment to maintaining a clean workspace make her an invaluable part of the kitchen staff. April enjoys working independently while still being around the cooks in the back, contributing to the overall efficiency of the restaurant.

Ben, with his easy-going temperament, embraces a variety of tasks with enthusiasm. However, his true passion lies in the front-of-house activities. Greeting customers, seating them, bringing silverware and menus, and bussing tables are tasks that Ben not only excels at but also thoroughly enjoys. For him, the customers are not just patrons but friends, creating a vibrant and welcoming atmosphere in the restaurant.

LRCS StaffWorks Job Developer Tessa Bartlett has played a pivotal role in ensuring a smooth transition for Ben, Adam, and April. Through hands-on training and leading by example, Tessa, with help from the restaurant team, has fostered a positive environment where the trio feels safe, knowledgeable, and valued.

The Flip Side is more than just a workplace for Ben, Adam, and April; it’s their ‘work family.’ The positive atmosphere, inclusive environment, and sense of pride in their work motivate them to contribute to the restaurant’s success.