Help Employees Save the Tabard Inn

To: Ms. Fritzi Cohen, President/Majority Owner/ Former Acting General Manager, Tabard Inn and Tabard Corporation Board of Directors

Help Employees Save the Tabard Inn
of 3,000 signatures
Campaign created by Carolyn DeWitt Icon-email

Allow the Tabard Inn Employee Committee to grow employee ownership from 30% to a majority ownership to preserve the Tabard and promote its continued success.

Why is this important?

The Tabard Inn was established in 1922 in the Dupont Circle neighborhood of Washington, DC.

Neighbors and employees have played a major role in the survival and success of the Tabard Inn.  Today, it's seen by many as a DC institution.  Its infancy survived the Great Depression. During WWII, the Tabard served as a boardinghouse for Navy Women Accepted Volunteer Service (WAVES). In the 1970's, neighbors lobbied the zoning board and purchased minority shares to save the Tabard from demolition.  And in 1975 Edward and Fritzi Cohen purchased the Tabard Inn, and it's been a beloved family-run business ever since.

In 1993, the Tabard's owners (Edward and Fritzi Cohen) recognized the employee role in Tabard's success and created an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) that granted employees 30% ownership.  At that time (and as recently as spring 2013), they stated a desire for employees to eventually have 100% ownership of the Tabard.

Unfortunately, a significant change in philosophy is threatening the Tabard's legacy, character, and very existence.  In one month, the Tabard Inn lost eight hardworking career employees from its leadership team.

    * General Manager (20 years at the Tabard)
    * Hotel Manager (7.5 years at the Tabard)
    * Accounts Payable Clerk & Floor Manager (20 years at the Tabard)
    * Design & Project Manager (32 years at the Tabard)
    * Restaurant Manager (5.5 years at the Tabard)
    * Special Events Manager & Wedding Director (10.5 years at the Tabard)
    * Housekeeping Manager (13.5 years at the Tabard)
    * Special Events Coordinator (3 years at the Tabard)

More than 110 years worth of institutional knowledge, experience, and vendor and patron relationships have been drained from the Tabard in just one month.  This loss has left a significant void in Tabard's employee leadership.

We, the employees, are proud to work at the Tabard Inn. However, we are deeply concerned with the decisions being made during this internal restructuring.  Many of us go to work at Tabard every day in fear of losing our jobs. The new manager described firing as, "a favorite part of my job."

We have expressed our concern, but received no reassurance.  We have proposed a solution, which would increase employee ownership and allow the employees who treasure the Tabard to serve as its protectors, but for over one month we have not received a response. There has been no communication. Meanwhile, policy changes and terminations put the Tabard in an increasingly vulnerable position.  Despite being shareholders in the company, the employees no longer have a voice. This is a dramatic change for a business known for valuing its employees.

Employees believe the Tabard belongs in the hands of those who know it and love it.  As employees who love the Tabard, it is with great consternation that we share this story. We seek to increase employee ownership to a majority in order to preserve the Tabard's character and reinstate the values as described by Tabard's mission statement:

"The Tabard Inn provides attentive service in a relaxed environment where guests can feel comfortable in casual or formal attire.  We strive to make every guest either a repeat customer or someone who will still recommend us heartily as a restaurant with great food, excellent service, and a romantic and charming atmosphere.  We want to be everyone's favorite place to go in Washington, D.C.  We achieve this objective by working as a team whose primary interest is our customers' satisfaction.  Rather than be interested solely in how much money we can make today or tonight, our team members actively determine whether their actions will help everyone profit in the long run.  We take actions which nourish and clean the environment, and we support local businesses and charitable causes.  Tabard Inn employees are career employees who strive for continuous improvement.  We're proud and protective of our diversity, and we treat employees and guests with respect.  We demand excellence from our employees and vendors, and we have fun at what we do."

Already signed by the following current, recent, and former Tabard Inn employees:

Erin Claxton
Carolyn E. DeWitt
Stephanie Granger
Veronica Hunter
Holly Learmouth
Shannon MacDonald
Irene Mayer
Paul Michel
Travis Miller
Camille Smiley
Janelle Treibitz
Jared Wilyato

We truly appreciate all your support!  Thank you for joining our effort to preserve the Tabard.


The Tabard Inn Employee Committee
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Reasons for signing

  • Dorothy C. 2013-12-27 08:53:50 -0500
    Nedra, Suzanne, Holly, Caroline, Mike, Tim and all the rest of the staff. I can,t imagine my MANY lunches without them. Fritzi needs to revisit her choices.
  • Roelof O. 2014-04-12 22:16:23 -0400
    We stayed at the Tabard Inn twice and it was a very special experience.
  • Roger B. 2013-07-30 14:04:31 -0400
    I signed this important petition because I know the Tabard's reputation for quality and its role in the Washington community. It is tragic that such a vicious corporate management style is seen as a solution, as an appropriate mode of "internal restructuring". The best of all possible solutions would be a return to the Cohen's original dream of 100% employee ownership and administration.


9 months ago

Most of you were probably directed here by Tim Carman's coverage of the Tabard's story, but for those who found us by some other avenue - here's the story.

9 months ago

1000 signatures reached

9 months ago

500 signatures reached

9 months ago

100 signatures reached

9 months ago

50 signatures reached

9 months ago

25 signatures reached

9 months ago

10 signatures reached