Long Beach restaurant owner credits veteran workforce for success

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Daniel Tapia has a lot to celebrate. The former Navy veteran and owner of Fourth & Olive Bistro in Long Beach says business is good. (KABC)

Daniel Tapia has a lot to celebrate. The former Navy veteran and owner of Fourth & Olive Bistro in Long Beach says business is good. Tapia credits much of that success to his almost all-veteran workforce.

Tapia says while basic food service skills can be taught, veterans bring a unique background. "Ninety percent of it, it's easy to learn, but the other 10 percent, those are qualities that I can't train. I can't teach somebody to have good work ethic, I can't teach somebody to show up on time," said Tapia.

Veterans often face challenges when they return home, especially if they have any disabilities, something Tapia tries to address.

"I started the company to begin with, I didn't want to ever feel discriminated against and as we developed the concept, I realized that we could hire these men and women and protect them from that same discrimination," Tapia said.

One example is Donald, who served in the Navy, but when he tried to find work, doors were not opening. "It took eight months until I ran into Dan and he gave me a chance," Donald said. "I told him I was a waiter and he said, 'Well, I have a restaurant and we're looking to hire vets.' So I came down here and he gave me a job. It was fantastic. I'm no longer considered homeless, I have an apartment now."

Another employee is Chris, who is a server and artist. He said he sees the work as something even bigger.

"In this restaurant, we are diverse and eclectic and filling a small part of the whole. That's how each element in the mural works too. Each piece can be looked at as an individual, but when you put them together, they cause that movement," he said.
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