Wednesday, 9 June 2010

A career in hospitality? Why not?

Had a beautiful meal last night at one of a few farewell dinners for Kaos Café, but obviously it’s pointless writing about details given that they will be closing down at the end of this month. However I was privy to much extremely interesting hospitality gossip – all of which, as is usually the case, was told to me only on the proviso that I wouldn’t put it on the blog! Damn, don’t you hate that?

Amongst the gossip was a discussion about how hard it has become to find good hospitality staff. A few of the excuses used recently by staff unable (or unwilling) to work were:

“I’m only available between 12 and 3, because I can’t work at night”
“I’m sorry I can’t work tonight because I think I’m blind; I can’t see properly, but I’ll be alright tomorrow!”

It would appear that the career hospitality worker is a rare breed. Should you currently be employing one, make sure you treasure them!
Posted on by Rita


Bonker said...

Hmm. An interesting topic Rita.

Well I sure do wish hospitality business owners did treat their staff better - Without US - what good would there business be?

Finding good hospitality staff in Tasmania is always a problem as we are often paid very little in comparison to other states.

Here's what I like about working in Hospitality:

The people: Having travelled to all different countries, I can honestly say I have met a more interesting group of people in the place I work than anywhere else.

Knock Off Drinks: Everyone loves free alcohol, and my boss does not care how much we drink, and heck when it's free, why not go for it?

Smoke Breaks: Some of my happiest work memories were spent out the back, in the car park, juggling cigarette, mobile phone, coffee and bitching. Yes I can do all that at once!

The Bitching: Don't you love bitching about competitors? and saying how shit they are, how dirty there kitchen is, etc etc etc.

Bonking: This is when the staff become really hospitable. We all spend so much time together and know more about each other than anyone else. Nothing like a bit of mateship at the end of the night.
"Screw the Crew"

Free food: We pick up food and eat it.

Customers: Some are fantastic, 95% are lovely people, and I have been invited to stay with clients in three different continents. You seldom get that kind of personal interaction at a takeaway shop.

We are the people who actually enjoy hospitality, and without us loyal staff, restaurants would all be screwed!

I work about 60 hours a week - and have done for the same restaurant for the past 18 months.

Bonker said...

Some people wonder what I mean when I say things like:

1. My basement has flooded

2. I have food poisoning

3. I have diarrhea – everybody will be so embarrassed to question me about it!

4. My car is broken

5. It is the anniversary of my ex breaking up with me.

6. My neighbours horse is having a baby.

7. I am having 'lady problems' everyone is too embarrased to ask!

8. I have lice. Ewwwww no one wants lice!

9. My best friend’s potentially-violent boyfriend has kicked her out, and you’ve got to help her move – today!

10. I have caught a stomach virus. This one’s great because you can claim whatever hour length you need… 18-hour stomach virus, 24-hour, 48-hour bug… suits your needs!

11. I have got horrible hemorrhoids and my doctor advised you to soak for several hours in a salt water bath. No one will have the audacity to tell you to come on in with this one!

12. I have a hernia.

Anonymous said...

Waiter speak

I'll clear your table when I'm good and ready

You want a clean table-here's a cloth

I'll take your order when I finish the phone call to my girlfriend dammit!

Let me guess-two old ladies, I'll bet you'll both have the soup!

Hi guys my name's Darren, I'm your waiter tonight but really I'm an actor

Hey! hey! hey! Shoosho, quiet down, palease! Righto, now I'll tell you about the specials

Ok! You've got the last fish special of the day-and we all thought it was too old to eat!

Sorry if I'm scratching whilst I'm taking your order, I've got scabies but no one else could work

Can you guys hurry up and order, I've got to take my break

Get your own bottles of water & glasses-we've got to look after customers who order wine

The chef told me to tell you the foods 'Fuckin' fine'-his words not mine

You ordered the fish, I heard you, I wrote it down, see, right there FISH in big letters right next to the words, 'Fat Lady'

Look I'm busy, can you please ask your intellectually disabled son what he wants to eat & I'll come back for his order

Well most people blow on their food if it looks hot, your toddler should know that mashed potato can burn

Of course the wine is corked, how else do they seal the bottles?

So thats two Wrack-Off Lambs, one Nasty Goreng and a Span-o-kop-eeta

Hey take it from me, dont touch the veal-Its been off for a week now!

Really sorry about your order-the chefs are always losing dockets-its not my fault as long as you know.

Chef says you cant have the steak without chips-it comes with it

Oh, you guys dont have a booking, you really should book you know-its just polite

Sorry those tables are set aside for VIP's, you're up the back.

Its my first night! I'm SO excited to have you as my first ever table!

The veal & to you, the chicken. Enjoy. Do you guys need cutlery?

Well, as I said te soup WAS hot when I served it.

Heres your butter. You want a butter knife now? You could've told me before!

The special is chicken 'Marengo'. Whats in it? I dont know do I look like a chef?

Oh Doh, that would be a question for a chef, they're like the guys in the white jackets!

I noticed that you left me a 5 cent tip, did I upset you? are you taking the piss?

Bonker said...

I have just stolen this sentence from Maggies blog.

"I didn’t wait tables for 10 years because I love to carry plates (if you know what I mean)."

How true. The real industry professionals and vetrans are a dying breed - and for the love of hospitality, and all the perks I outlined above, I hope it's an industry that continues to prosper.

I envisage this turning into an entertaining topic with many comments :)

Rita said...

Bonker - not quite sure exactly what you were getting at with your second comment on this post, but understood the first, and the above comments.

I can't remember the context in which Maggie used that sentence, but I'm sure most waitstaff would agree with it. Everyone would have their reason for being in hospitality, and I suspect the most common one is that it appears an easy means to an end.

I don't see the number of dedicated industry professionals increasing, due to a number of reasons, but may be a lot to do with the financial aspect. My observations are that most great waitstaff end up leaving their waiting job and going into a related customer service area (ie a call centre, or teaching hospitality) where their great customer service skills are recompensed appropriately, as opposed to the crap way you're generally paid in hospitality, and the lack of stability in the field.

I wish I were 20 years younger because I truly miss working as a waitperson, and wish my body would perform as it previously did over the many years I waited tables and thoroughly (and genuinely) loved doing so. I think that's why I get so pissed off with uncaring waitstaff nowadays because frtom my perspective, it's just that not hard to look after people in a restaurant scenario, whether they're a-holes or not. It's mind over matter, as long as you yourself are coming at it from the right perspective.

lemon curd said...

I think I love you Rita!

I get weary sometimes riding the "it's a lot more satisfying watching the a-holes go away happy than pissed off" wagon - and you're right, it's not that hard.

Welcome back as well :)

Bonkers said...

Rita, my second post was a list of excuses I use when calling 'sick' into work. :)

As you say, hospitality staff don't get paid that well, nor do they have much stability. Some of the most successfull restaurants in the world are closing down, which is a bad sign. Business owners are killing themselves working hard just to break even, let alone make a profit.

Overheads are just going up and up and up. Like crazy, and way higher than the rate of inflation. When my boss puts the cost of a main course up by $2 customers wonder why!

These skilled staff go on to teach in the training area because it's easier, and you get paid more. Sure, you still work damn hard, but its a lot easier.

Look at Drysdale. The teachers there are pretty much all industry veterans - and they are now lucky enough to have the fantastic opportunity of teaching what they believe. And they don't have the financial stress that many restaurant owners face.

Waiting on tables isn't glamourous, it generally does not pay that well and you work damn hard but I wouldn't swap it for quids. Many people ask why I enjoy hospitality and the people are what I enjoy interacting with, you don't get this kind of personal interaction working at a Telstra call centre in India. :)

Welcome back, BTW, and I totally agree with every word written in your above comment. :)

*And another perk I should have added to my first post was the free stuff you get! We have a three car garage out the back full of old restaurant junk - tables, chairs, plates, bowls, cutlery, table clothes, pots, pans, utensils, broken ovens, old grills and even a broken coffee machine.

Anything we want, the boss said we can just take home. :)

the insider said...

Great Bonkers-you get all that free stuff from the boss, you soak up all that free booze from your boss and you have the cheek to reel off all the fake reasons why you can come to work-nice one!

Bonkers said...

Insider - Well it's not that bad!

Anonymous said...

I suspect Andy Muirhead will be looking for work

Anonymous said...

I was able to get my ex back after I followed the instructions at I totally recommend this site, helped me a lot, all I can say is big THANKS!!! I'm so happy now...