“My staff is excited to be able to enjoy many benefits they did not have before. They especially love HMAA’s dental benefits.”
Matthew Resich, Owner
The restaurant industry is not typically seen as the healthiest of industries – with long shifts mostly spent on one’s feet, cooking over hot stoves, and carrying around heavy trays, it can be brutal on the body. Add to that the mental health strains that come with such a high-stress industry, and it’s no wonder there is high turnover among restaurant employees. Hopefully, that is about to change at one Honolulu eatery, thanks to the benefits that come with HRA’s Association Health Plan with Hawaii Medical Assurance Association (HMAA).
Matthew Resich owns Brick Fire Tavern in Chinatown. It’s the only restaurant on Oahu serving certified Neapolitan pizzas, which are handcrafted from scratch and cooked in a 900-degree wood-fire brick oven. They were able to earn that certification (given by Associazone Verace Pizza Napoletana) by training in Italy under Pizzaiolo Enzo Coccia, then bringing what they learned to Hawaii.
After more than three years in business, Resich now has his four full-time employees covered under HMAA. He was particularly drawn to the plan because he knew HMAA’s values align well with the Hawaii Restaurant Association and that HMAA has a reputation for meeting and exceeding the needs of restaurant employees. For Resich, another big draw was that he is still able to access all of his physicians. “HMAA’s network of doctors really was most important for me,” he said.
The added benefits HMAA offers, including services like chiropractic and acupuncture, are especially valuable in such a physical industry, and their mental health benefits help tremendously with stress and other issues. But it’s one of HMAA’s other programs that Brick Fire Tavern’s employees were most thrilled about.
“My staff especially love HMAA’s dental benefits,” Resich said. “Many of them haven’t had health insurance, or they previously had coverage under Hawaii’s medical assistance programs. They are excited to be able to enjoy many benefits they did not have before.”
Even for Resich’s part-time employees not currently enrolled in the health plan, there are positive outcomes associated with his choosing HMAA: Resich recently launched a restaurant effort focusing more on health and fitness.
“We kicked off our fitness program with a Dry January. Everyone got together and really enjoyed themselves for New Year’s Eve, then we all abstained from drinking in January. For February and March we are doing our own optional Biggest Loser Challenge with a focus on improving diet, getting more exercise, and drinking less,” Resich said. As part of its worksite wellness planning services, HMAA offers strategies and ideas such as these.
“I’m not sure what the rest of the year has in store, but we wanted to make sure we really focused on health during our peak time of year, January through April. One of the biggest benefits of doing these challenges is they help our staff with stress relief, which is critical during this time. We want them to be able to focus on positive stress relief practices, rather than the more negative ones that can sometimes be associated with restaurant work,” Resich said.
HMAA’s optional solutions such as onsite biometric screenings and fitness membership discounts through Active&Fit® are particularly beneficial with worksite wellness programs like Brick Fire Tavern’s. These offerings are an easy and convenient way to incorporate wellness initiatives in your workplace.
Like Brick Fire Tavern, HMAA is locally owned and operated and offers plenty of options. You are sure to find the optimum health plan for your employees, just like finding the perfect pizza for lunch. To learn more about how HMAA can benefit your company, visit their website.