Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Hospitality workers employment work conditions

The below was added as a comment on this blog last night. It would be interesting to hear people's opinions on it..........

"Hi Rita, here's a sticky situation for you.

I have been advised by a staff member that they are unhappy with their rate of pay over The Taste event and seeing that they didn't receive any breaks over their two consecutive eight hour shifts they are seeking recompense.

As they were employed as perm part time under the new Fair Work awards, the hourly rate they are paid is different for Sat and Sun. I am aware that for the 1/2 hr break that they were entitled to but missed out on I will have to pay 175% their hourly rate to recompensate them for missing out on said breaks. I dont begrudge paying this.

What is troubling me though is that for the whole year I have employed this person ( we run a business all year round and try to make some money during The Taste to compensate for the rest of the year when it is very quiet) and all the other staff is the fact that I dont charge the staff for any meals, drinks, coffee or even knock off alcoholic drinks after a shift.

I also paid a cash bonus for my staff who worked over The Taste. In short I absorb these costs. I feel that though this person is legally entitled to get their award I am now less likely to offer them the free drinks and meals that I currently do to all the staff, which I am legally not bound to do. This is not what I want to do as I know it will change the ambience of our workplace. Do you or your readers thinks this is fair or equatable?"
Posted on by Rita
122 comments

122 comments:

Kris said...

I think that this is a good example to play by the rules wherever possible. From an OH&S perspective, surely working two consecutive eight-hour shifts has the potential to be quite dangerous (especially if they’re around hotplates, fryers etc), and should be discouraged. I understand that many staff will work straight through without raising a word, but it is the job of the owner (or line manager) to compel proper breaks.

From a purely ethical point of view I can see why the employer in this case feels that the staff member should ‘take one for the team’ (as they’ve benefited from the rub in the past), but what we’re talking about what is essentially a business relationship, with legal-contractual boundaries.

Anonymous said...

Talk to the Fair Work Ombudsman. Good advice in line with the rules. While it is nice that you have given food and coffee or whatever, it doesn't matter if you aren't paying the right amount or giving the appropriate breaks.

Anonymous said...

Most kitchen staff do way more than eight hours shifts and often one after the oether

Anonymous said...

just dont pay any bonus and charge for evrything, fairs is fair wgy should you give away items that you need to make money on and why cant staff bring their own lunch like evryone else in the workforce

Anonymous said...

By going back to the award, the Labour party is going to cripple the hospitality industry, it will get to a point where restaurants, cafes etc will not be able to open Sundays and public holidays, how does that look for the Holiday Isle when tourist can't even get a meal on one of those days, go figure. Thanks Julia Gillard and your backward thinking Government.

Anonymous said...

Its called give and take, swings and roundabouts. I would have thought that the first approach would be to sit down with the person and discuss the very things raised in the blog. If, at the end of the day, the person wants to play strictly by the rules then that is what has to happen. But these days everything is negotiable - providing an equal relationship is established and perceptions are met.

Kris said...

Awards have always been there, many people just tended to ignore them. Fair Work has not been some profound shift in governance, it’s just been well publicised and the system has been empowered initially to actually pursue cases. Given some of the flagrant abuses of staff seen in Hobart under the modern Award system – many of which involve minors – I’d hate to see what might go on if we further ‘liberalised’ the employment market.

That said, many (if not most) employers want to do the right thing. An open and transparent relationship with staff is a good start. It seems that the initial poster does have their heart in the right place, and is probably in a good position to talk honestly and frankly with their staff.

You will always get people that take the mickey out of any system – both employees and employers – but there’s no need to chuck the baby out with the bathwater.

Anonymous said...

Kris you raise some valid points however from your position I suspect you might be a public servant of sorts. Whilst not condoning staff expoitation, the reality of running small business is vastly different from the protectionist culture that permeates gov depts. These awards have been cobbled together by public servants who have imposed a mon to frid mentality on an industry that is forced to operate 7 days a week.
If all was fair i wouldn't be complaining if all the other services were available 7 days a week and nights also.

Kris said...

Anon 11:40am, I am now (for six whole months!), but I've had quite a few years in other sectors (including hospitality) and have seen quite a few examples (good and bad). The reality is that you need rules (and a means of enforcing them) to protect those in the weakest positions.

I’m not saying they system is perfect, but it is necessary. You generally find that the best operators in hospitality are those that have the trust of their employees, and thus get the best out of their staff for the benefit of their customers.

sir grumpy said...

I'm with Anon 11am. Just say whay you said on this blog. Fair go.

Mind you, I don't begrudge staff their extra but I know I am in a minority (tiny) of people who would happily pay a bit more to make sure places stay viable and staff get a living wage.
Good luck.

Anonymous said...

I think everybody needs to take a deep breath and then go and read some of the new modern awards with an open mind. Anon 11.40 is very close to the mark about how they were put together. They are amazingly complex and much more harsh than the old awards.
There is no give and take anymore!

The awards are anti employment with high penalty rates and onerous penalties.

So you can't come to a private arrangement however sensible. It doesn't need an employee to complain, just a quick perusal from the army of workplace people out there.

In particular you can't employ people for a short time each day and that even includes kids at school who might have had an after school job for a couple of hours a day!

I used to have a extra guy who was long term unemployed come in for a few hours from time to time just to tidy the place up and to sort out a few loose ends. I can only employ him now for four hours and there is not four hours work to do each time. And he used to love to come in for two or three hours, it suited him too.
The argument is that the minimum hours deal is to protect staff from being ripped off but in the end it stops employers from employing them at all!
And I can't see how an event like the taste could stand up to the scrutiny of these new awards!

Enough of a rant? Read one of the awards!


P

Kris said...

I just had a quick look at the Hospitality Industry (General) Award 2010, I'm not sure what advice Anon 7:55 pm has been given, but minimum engagement for casual employees (such as the guy you describe), is two hours. For Part Time employees, it's three. Surely that is fair?

When I used to work in the industry, it was not uncommon to be called in on short notice. Now, it took me a minimum 45 minutes to get in to the workplace, and on occasion I would be sent home after an hour/hour and a half because there wasn't enough to do. At that point (1995) that meant four hours of my time for around twenty bucks. Is that fair or sustainable?

I agree 100% that people should have a look at the Award(s) to get an idea of them and decide for themselves whether they are fair or not to both employers and employees.

Here are some links: the Hospitality Industry (General) Award 2010 that I've mentioned above and assume is the most commonly applied.

You can search for all Fair Work-listed Awards here.

Rita said...

I think Sir G meant to pop this comment under this post, not the Piccalilly one, so have copied and pasted.

"The other thing here is, wouldn't the bonus cover the time now claimed?
However, it would be better to make sure they take their breaks.
Better for them, the employer and the customer (who doesn't want a tired and possibly cranky employee!)."

sir grumpy said...

Yes, Rita, I was tired and cranky and put the thing in the wrong place!
I need too take my breaks. No extra charge.
Thanks.

Old School Chef said...

Here is something quite simple - does the person want a job (career) in the hospitality industry? It is elementary really. We are facing a world economic crisis with discretionary spending at an unprecedented low and this impacts all food related businesses badly. This Winter coming will be harder than last. Will this employer, if they have to lay off staff, remember this. Who knows.

It is a very tough business like others to make a buck. The employer in question seems very generous to me. Maybe the employee's motives should be questioned. The Taste is exceptional circumstances out of normal operating conditions. I know of many who work 10 or more hours at this event without so much as a smoke break. Harden up? Please lay on the criticism thick and fast but we have all been there and sometimes some extra effort is needed.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Old School Chef. In the middle of next winter, will the employee be the one whining they aren't getting any shifts? I think business owner should remember this when times get tough later this year, and reward his staff who truly put in. It's for the group and staff morale, as well as your own pay, that everyone extends themselves in these situations.

Anonymous said...

Harden up? In theory that's possible and more than likely in the past, but the fact of the matter is that these days people have easy access to - and are willing to act on - information provided. You can spend five minutes on Google and find any information you need. Given how union/lawyer/mediator happy people can be, I think it's best to follow the rules in all cases.

I don't think it's a young people thing either. I think it's a reflection on how society is, and how much our rights are emphasised by opinion leaders and lawmakers.

As to the current situation, I think it really does depend on a variety of factors. As I said, you need to stick to the law which you have done. But what you reward people with on top of this is an entirely different matter.

You probably need to sit down with your staff in the coming months and talk to them about what would best suit them as incentives to work that little bit harder or to get through a tough period. And vice versa for yourself. What would best suit both parties. Is it a small pay rise, or the occasional free meal or a shorter day once a week. Or is it something else. It's obviously come to a point where the relationship is just beginning to be strained, and you probably need to knock it on the head quickly as loyal staff can be hard to find. I'd be totally transparent with them too. But in a positive way. In the end it's your business and you are the one who is going to be part of the business from beginning to end.

Anonymous said...

1) Knock off drinks are provided as a reward for the shift the employee has just worked - they come at a cost but weighed against the good will and loyalty they create it is a cost worth incurring .
2) Food provided to employees like wise gives the employee a taste of the wares they are serving and recommending all shift. It is of course tax deductible for the owner.
3) Giving cash bonus's is frowned apon by the tax department and is in fact illegal unless declared as income by the employee - it also leaves the owner open to being dobbed in to the Tax man if the employee gets the boot.

4) The employment rules (awards) are in place to protect employer /employee - play outside the rules and accept the outcome.

5) Its hard to make money in food land but why should you short change your employees - why must employers see employees as a commodity that they can haggle and get for the lowest cost possible.

6) Had you employed a another person for a few hours each day to cover the lunch breaks you may have made even more money without creating this problem - maybe this is really a management issue and needs more thought next time.

It seems like you are more pissed off at the employee for taking your generous employment conditions for granted - We all find it difficult to find good staff and we bend over backwards to hold on to them as it takes time and money to train them. I think the problem is that some people come to work to earn a living where as the owner works for a living and cant clock off when the doors close, or take holidays when they want.

CR.

Anonymous said...

i bet the Taste would not stand up to a proper scrutiny of indiv stall holders staffing issues. How many of them worked around teh clock without pay or break? I bet most. Ppl love going to the Taste but if stall holders really did pay all those penalities, there'd be no money laft for them at the end-so why bother? Then again could charge even more for the food and service. On the issue of 'just getting more staff' to cover breaks, what planet are you on because there arnt that many and then when we do get them ppl complian that te service wasnt any good. Then you talk about training, well whos got time for that, staff dont just magically appear fully switched on. who bears thye cost of all this its certainly not the whinging public or the ppl offering advice from the sidelines

Anonymous said...

CR you forgot to mention the issue of tips. If we followed all the rules then wait staff should declare their tips as taxable income? This won't ever happen yet food businesses are forced to comply to an award that fails to recognize that we do not live in a Monday to Friday world anymore.

Anonymous said...

We do still live in a monday - friday world .... until the public service and banks etc open 7 days a week!

CR

Anonymous said...

I disagree with CR about a 'cost worth incurring' with free drinks and meals to staff. The loyalty you speak of is not there, these gratuities are taken for granted by staff these days-it means nothing to most of them.
I simply dont do it. I pay everyone by the books, no cash, no freebies of any kind. Everyone knows where they stand. The people that cant cope with this often move on quickly. Point is: They get paid for doing their job, they dont owe me anything nor do I owe them-end of story.

Anonymous said...

Thats Right CR, but can you honestly tell me that you wouldn't be annoyed if all hospitality businesses only open Mon to Frid lunch only?
If so, why is this sector punished for trading during these times?

Anonymous said...

"punished for trading during these times" - get real you choose to open these hours because the money is there ! No compulsion just like a free market really !

And as for 'loyalty not there' I agree you make the call for your business and you stick by it. The rules are the rules ... move on if you don't like it. It works for you but not me.

CR

Anonymous said...

um its not a free market when crippling penalties are imposed on businesses as if each one were operating in the same hours

Anonymous said...

8 hour shift without a break... I cant believe that shamefull... become a real hospitality worker and do min 12 to 14 hours... harden up and go back to uni

Anonymous said...

I have this conversation with friends who don't work in industry. I am a Hospo lifer and regularly work 12+ hours per day, sometimes 7 days per week and some months of last year I was lucky to have 4 days off for the month.

THIS IS THE INDUSTRY!! The industry I love yes, one that is fair NO.

How dare the public servants tell us to do or that. Are you prepared to pay extra for your beers on Saturday night or Public Holidays? I DOUBT IT.

Hobart is already one of the cheapest places to eat and drink in the country, yet if we passed on our true costs all we would hear all the bitching and moaning, with I CAN DO THAT AT HOME stuff.

My advice to you mate is cut your loses with this person, pay them out and send them on their way. You can't fight the current socialist system. Then give their name to everyone and anyone who will listen, making it hard for them to every find work in Hospo again, I have just done it tone of my staff. Christ can you send their name to me so I dont make the mistake of employing them. (ENJOY THE DOLE QUE MATE).

Employ staff that will work with you through good times and bad and look after and reward them as you have been.

One last thing ... BRING BACK WORK CHOICES!!!

I'll get off my soap box now...

ut si said...

Great post & comments Rita!

Anonymous said...

And people wonder why they can't find staff in an industry where ANON 2.05pm eats people up and spits them out - people like this help enforce the 'hired slave/monkey' mentality - respect is often forgotten in a master/servant relationship but in all my 35 years hospitality work I would do anything my 'respectful' boss asked!
Sometimes all that it takes is a mirror - treat people like you want to be treated yourself ... it doesn't often fail

The world is full of Bastards join them if you want!



CR.


PS
I think that perhaps ANON 2.05pm is taking the piss.

Anonymous said...

Anon 205pm .. Cant agree with you more or these do good public servants and other 38 hour per week workers are the first to complain that there water is not toped up fast enough, there food takes too long. It costs too much... well if i got paid under an award properly i would take home $5000 a week yay to me but your meal will cost double then you wont come and the restaurant closes.. I work as a chef cause im passionate about what i do... If you are not passionate about hospitality get out and go earn your over time rates on our tax payers money in a public servent job (im sure there is plenty in Hobart)

Anonymous said...

Kris and Cr what world do you live in..CR 35 years in hospitality i bet it was a government gig at a hospital or uni.... cause you would not of lasted 35years with your attitude

Kris said...

I live in a world where I decided that I did not want to work in hospitality (despite an interest), because I didn't like the way that I was treated as an employee. My experience seemed to echo that of many others, as do the attitudes expressed here. It seems that my presence hasn’t been missed!

I can see that myself and CR are obviously against the trend here, but I wonder why – if we’re so off the mark with reality – that no-one has chosen to identify themselves or their business in this discussion.

As Sir Grumpy said, many people are happy to pay a bit extra (and do) to support businesses that treat staff well. Conversely, there are those of us who will refuse to frequent a business or service (and not just hospitality, and not just ‘for profit’) that does not.

Anonymous said...

Free range vs battery farmed hospitality workers? heh

Anonymous said...

everyone wants hospo staff to be paid penalties that is until this cost is passed onto the customer, then everyone complains that that place is too expensive?
if the real costs were passed onto the consumer most rest and cafes would simply price themselves out of the threshold of what people are prepared to pay.

Anonymous said...

Kris " Kris said...
I live in a world where I decided that I did not want to work in hospitality (despite an interest), because I didn't like the way that I was treated as an employee. My experience seemed to echo that of many others, as do the attitudes expressed here. It seems that my presence hasn’t been missed!"

Of course your presence has not been missed with that attitude ... I work my arse off cause i like it and i know if i left what i did i will be very missed and your many others used our industry as a way to get through uni and whatever else in life... I love hospitality it gives me the shits dealing with people like you but i just go on and my day gets better.... it is good to be able to tell you here what i think of fuck heads like you .... if i did not i would not have a job.... so fuck you dick head

Anonymous said...

true anon 5.22 but all the dickheads hear will try and make people have to pay crazy rates to staff... then there bill comes........

Anonymous said...

And all you wankers that think master chef etc etc makes this job look easy... stay watching the tv after your 40 hour week .... would love to see any of you guys under the pressure...

Anonymous said...

hey look at this post





I live in a world where I decided that I did not want to work in hospitality (despite an interest), because I didn't like the way that I was treated as an employee. My experience seemed to echo that of many others, as do the attitudes expressed here. It seems that my presence hasn’t been missed!

I can see that myself and CR are obviously against the trend here, but I wonder why – if we’re so off the mark with reality – that no-one has chosen to identify themselves or their business in this discussion.

As Sir Grumpy said, many people are happy to pay a bit extra (and do) to support businesses that treat staff well. Conversely, there are those of us who will refuse to frequent a business or service (and not just hospitality, and not just ‘for profit’) that does not.

January 13, 2011 3:43 PM














wanker

Anonymous said...

You guys make me so angry Kris sticking up for sir grumpy... he can look after him self """"As Sir Grumpy said, many people are happy to pay a bit extra (and do) to support businesses that treat staff well. Conversely, there are those of us who will refuse to frequent a business or service (and not just hospitality, and not just ‘for profit’) that does not.

""""""
none of you guys would pay extra.... Sir grumpy get the shits when thet fish and chip shop wont open 15 minutes early for him......

sir grumpy said...

I know people who have given me tales of how badly some places treat their staff.
They subsequently never frequent those places and tell their friends not too either.
I always like to find out for my self, rtaher than rely on gossip.

But, there are always two sides to a story. Some staff treat their employers with contempt too, sadly.
But I do want people to earn a living wage.
One place I go always astonishes me with the quality of food they serve for the reasonable price.
I go there for the love of their food and convivial atmosphere (an atmosphere that can't exist if one side or the other, or both, are taking advantage).
I pop money into the tips jar to show my appreciation.
People pick up on a rotten atmosphere in places and quickly shy away.
I often long for the old days of a noon clock-off by spermarkets on Saturday and Sunday off People got rested.
But the hospitality industry can't really do that, Unless you run a little breakfast and lunch place.
I am sympathetic to both sides and think our political masters (hah!) need to be aware of all this.

No point in having the ``best'' regulations with nowhere to eat because there's no profit to be made.

sir grumpy said...

By the way, Sir Grumpy did not ``get the shits'' when that fish and chip shop (now closed) did not open up 15 minutes early for him!
Come on.
On his way home from town he thought ``phone ahead''.
We would have been there on or just after opening. Surely the gear would be swiched on?
There was no special treatment request....I thought I was supporting a local.
He's now out of business, so a shame but there you go.
I often phone Dom's Asian place at 10 minutes before opening and get a polite and welcoming person who is glad to take my order.
Doing it for years...I know his woks are heating and ready to go and he looks after his customers. Where's the problem in that?
But thankyou for your kind thoughts anonymous!

Anonymous said...

I dont think CR or Kris deserve to be disrespected last anon, even I might disagree with some of their sentiments.
It's helpful to keep the tone civil. You wont accomplish anything by using profanity or peing overtly personal, in fact you'll just sound like a bit of a dill.
It's obvious you are passionate about your job but reacting this way just makes it easier for those who disagree with you paint you as someone who is happy about exploiting workers, which I'm sure you are not.
I suspect the point you are trying to make is that the world of hospitality is not a nine to five vocation and if this doesn't suit one's disposistion, then find another career. But if you do choose this career, then be aware that it does not attract the same ridiculous conditions that other more insulated jobs seem to enjoy, often to the detriment of the service they supposedly provide.
In this world, you have to wait, line up, be patient, have nobody to complain to, be treated indifferently and at times callously. In this world the staff member is protected, even at times after serious and possibly even negligent behaviour. Yes this world is one where the customer always comes last, stonewalled by a faceless bureaucracy unable to commit to any decision lest it reflect badly on them and possibly lead to the powers that be, question their motives. This is why institutions like these are permanently mired, unable to commit, either way, you lose as the customer.
This is not how most successful businesses operate

Kris said...

Clear and logical argument Anon 5:28 pm. Let me do you a favour, let me know your business's name, and I will assure you that you won't ever have to 'suffer' my custom.

Anonymous said...

Sorry sir g just love to stir you up...

Anonymous said...

Hey Kris you could not afford to come cause all the staff are payed correctly

Kris said...

Anon, don't be too sure, I was out this Sunday and happily spent $150 on a meal for two.

To be honest with you though, the attitude of some who seem keen to define themselves as representing their industry, I probably will dine in for a while.

Anonymous said...

kris $150 dont even buy you a good wine cause thats what the wine waiter costs.. Stay home a sizzler restraunt will open in moonah soon take the family

sir grumpy said...

I can get a decent wine for $10 or so at my local bottle shop. $25 at local restaurant.
So, $150 is way beyond my meagre means for a wine, Anon.
Even on a ``special'' occasion (like getting pissed again on Saturday night....kidding).

Anonymous said...

Well didn't this descend into a food fight ... looks a little like a few too many Anonymous's spoiled the broth.

Its great to have a spirited debate but when it becomes a personal abuse session you know the abusers are lost for a reasoned argument!

CR

Anonymous said...

hey CR, how sanctimonious, what does CR mean anyway? Its as anonymous as the rest of the comments here

Anonymous said...

lol...... lol lol

ski said...

Good lord Anon 5:28 PM !

Pull your head out - all workers are dispensible, esp in hospitality. You will not be missed when you move on, you will be but a fleeting advert in next Sat's Mercury.

"Profanity is the logistical crutch of inarticulate F**kers"

Anonymous said...

Just over 200,000 people in Hobart, about 55,000 of them public servants, thats 1 in 4 people commenting on this blog that is a public servant, people who work 38 hours a week, take a 1 hour lunch break, have weekends and public holidays off, get payed every hour of over time and this is all funded by tax paying dollars, yet they are the first to jump up and down about restaurant food and wine prices, and I am sure if there were more blogs about other industries, they would be right there having their little rants, in their one hour lunch break, god forbid should they do it in their own time, they would not be getting payed for it. Sad but true.

Anonymous said...

this is so boring.
From
Bored Anon reading other boring anon posts

Troisgros 1988-1991 said...

As a former chef with 20 years experience chained to the stove, I've got a few points to make in regards to chefs.

My first point is in regards to wages and how that translates to prices. There is no doubt a difficulty with finding a balance between decent staff wages and an acceptable cost to customers. Restaurants obviously struggle without customers, but they also struggle with unhappy staff. I think there is one major cause of this. And that's big businesses such as Coles, Woolworths, McDonalds, KFC and the like. As most of you chefs would be well aware, Coles and Woolworths come in and clear out the market before we even get a chance. And that many farmers work for places such as McDonalds producing food purely for them for a regular - albeit low - wage. This ends up making things more expensive exponentially for small business. Until it becomes a level playing field, then we just have to cop it. Unfortunate but a reality.

My next point is also in regards to wages, but without the influence of the customer. Having being in the industry, I've got to say that chefs work harder than most. But I've also got to say it is a low skilled job. I'm not saying that chefs aren't highly skilled people don't get me wrong. More that it requires little mental capacity to be a chef as compared to other jobs. It's almost purely physical. This unfortunately means we will never ever get paid as much as a doctor, nurse, businessman or lawyer. We are on the same field as council workers and gardeners. Unfortunately for a chef, people have been cooking on their own for thousands of years and as such our jobs aren't as important as they could be. With the rise of TV dinners and prepacked nasty crap, it makes it increasingly difficult for a chef to make a good wage.

The next point is about those people who are doing "38 hours per week". You would be surprised, but the average working week for most of them is 50-60 hours+. What would also surprise you is that the job they do is often more difficult then yours. And those office workers that get criticised time and time again the job they do is far more important than yours. Time to get off the high horses guys. I was just the same, but after about 18 months or so out of the industry I saw the light. I suspect most of you won't like that very much but it's reality. I have no doubt they couldn't handle a kitchen, but for importance to a functioning society, they kick seven shades of shit out of you.

And that brings me to my final point. And that's the attitude in the industry. In hindsight, I never understood why chefs and waitstaff needed to be so nasty to each other and other people. Having worked outside the industry, I can assure you that workers get far more done when you treat them well. You don't need to have that old school attitude any more. Most of the research says that positive reinforcement is far more effective than negative reinforcement. Sure, you may have to work your arse off. But so do a lot of people. It's a great industry, but it's a bitter old industry. Time to change guys.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for that sermon, trite words from yet another quitter whom obviously couldn't handle it anymore...whos next?!
seven shades of shit indeed

Anonymous said...

rita - a new thread PLEASE

Troisgros 1988-1991 said...

Knew you wouldn't like it... Too bad. By the way, I spent three years under Pierre and Michel Troisgros at La Maison Troisgros (hence the name). Don't tell me I can't handle it.

Anonymous said...

blah blah blah...quitter

Anonymous said...

Jeez hospitality staff whinge a lot. And they can't seem to have a rational argument without bringing up the usual arguments:

"Woe is me, I worked 24/28 days this month" - who cares?

"Woe is me, I work 28 hours a day 12 days a week" - always seems to be blown out of proportion

"You couldn't handle this industry. We are tough and your job is eezee" - Hey. At least we can spell.

"beep beep beep tough job beep beep blah blah long hours why don't you beep off you beep" - No wonder your job is low paid.

"We don't need your kind. We like being understaffed" - ummm.... get a life?

"We are passionate about what we do" - and? Who says other people aren't?

"blah blah blah Why should we stick to an award? If you love the industry..." - and then you get sued. I've read the stories in the paper.


When you are willing to bring you and your industry into the real world and stop treating people like excrement then you may just get some respect. Until then you look like a bunch of deadbeat whingers.

Anonymous said...

Oh, so all hospitality staff are deadbeat whingers, thanks for that. This gives me an insight as to your contempt of people you clearly feel are beneath you because they work in the service industry.
At the heart of your malicious comment is some real arrogance that is frankly disturbing.
Please put your name to that post so I can circulate it around the traps so we all never have to serve you again.

Anonymous said...

Ever considered the possibility that I may have actually worked in the service industry?

Why don't you put your name to all the posts you make on here? Since you seem to be so tough... Hypocrite

sir grumpy said...

This might be therapeutic all round.
I'm still enjoying reading it, Anons who are calling for it all to end.
Let it flow. As Mr Spock would say ``fascinating''.

Anonymous said...

So what levels do chefs, wait staff and the like expect to be paid? What other jobs do you think your job compares to? For example, do you think an executive chef should be paid at the same levels as the head doctor at a hospital? Should a commis chef be paid at the same level as a just qualified university student who completed a degree in commerce? Should a head sommelier be paid the same rate as a chief architect? Should a middle of the road bartender be paid the same wage as a chief fire inspector? Or a maitre'd be paid the same amount as a just qualified lawyer? What's the balance?

sir grumpy said...

I think Anon 6.20pm that it depends on the market.
All chefs are different. Some more skilled, some less. Same with wine waiters and wait staff.
If there is a demand for French cuisine chefs, for example, (you know the rest)...talent will be in demand.
Top chefs will get top money in the top markets...simple economics...supply and demand.
And why not?
Would you shackle them to a token wage? Communism failed because there was no incentive.
Correction...the Communist styles imposed (not proper Communism at all but mere dictatorships).
People are people.Some are more talented, some are more materialist.
What can you do?
Put in a safety net and some rules to avoid exploitation and then let it go....
That's life.
And as we know, there are good architects and bad ones, good doctors......

Anonymous said...

Assuming all things being equal then? With no market driving forces for either industry. In other words, how do hospitality staff see themselves in regards to skills and difficulty of job as compared to other industries.

sir grumpy said...

You can't compare apples and pears, Anon.
There will ALWAYS be driving forces which wax and wane as idiosyncratic humans put ever-changing values on goods and services.
Markets exist in their own little universe...public sector, health, entertainment, food service....need I go on (no!).

Anonymous said...

Humour me?

Anonymous said...

Maybe a few of you should be locked in a cage for a hospitality staff vs customer Death Match!

Michael said...

Isn't this about rates of pay? It was the chefs who turned it into an us vs them thing. People might not stand up to them in the kitchen but in the real world...

Anonymous said...

yeah yeah blame the chefs if it makes you feel better...silly fool

Michael said...

Anon 1:18pm, 2:05pm, 3:08pm and 3:19pm on January 13... That's where it started.

Anonymous said...

Good Exec chef on the mainland working for a large group would earn in the mid to high 100's with perks
Most hands on head chefs in Capital cities busier places earn high high 80's up to a 100k
Sous chefs at these places earn 60 to 70
Qualified chefs mid 50's
Here in Tas is a very different story, wages are seriously lower.
I know that one very prominant head chef(who has sinced moved back to the mainland to great acclaim)was on a pitiful salary comparable to that of a newly qualified chef.

Anonymous said...

It's all starting to sound a little like money envy ...

Some of the best Artisans in this small Island are struggling to make a quid yet they are following their hearts - The one thing I have learned in 30years of working with food is that you do it because you love it not because you have to.

It takes a special kind of person not to become bitter and twisted or ground down into the dirt through all the negativities of this industry.

All the successful Exec chefs I have worked for have always bred a culture of team work and excellence. They loved to teach but expected loyalty.
Anyone who has worked in a Brigade will understand.

Often wisdom accompanies age.

You must agree Sire Grump!

Coolroom

sir grumpy said...

Yes, it's money envy Coolroom.
Some people love it too much, at the expense (!) of all else.
Then they believe that a good education, or qualification should guarantee them a certain high place in the pecking order.
Add in the subjectivity about the standing of jobs in society and you have the recipe for envy and delusion.
Such as: I am a uni graduate and architect, so you must agree I should earn more than a chef who just worked his way up from greasy spoons.
There's no should, only could.
Supply and demand.
Get over it. Some people seem to want a league table of humans and their standing vis-a-vis their jobs.
Tragic.

Anonymous said...

Being a highly educated of highly qualified person should probably guarantee you a better income than a lesser educated or lesser qualified person you would think. Seems pretty logical to me. Nothing to do with envy.

Anonymous said...

Agreed Sire Grump - unsure of their place in the world and using money as a measure.
Envy of what others have ....free time, nice suit, big house fast car.

Unable to understand the force that drives them.

How different life is once the TV is switched off!

Coolroom.

Anonymous said...

Just to stir the pot a little....

So just when the community is happy to pay inflated prices so that workers can get their proper award rate with all the breaks, and overtime they are entitled to - someone like me comes along.

I notice that the competition really doesn't exists because they all have to pay their staff too much.

So I open up my little foodery - sleep 4 hours a night and spend the rest of the year in my store. I don't take breaks as I own the place. I work with the youngest (cheapest) staff I can get and train them to work well until they are replaced when they have a birthday.

My prices are ridiculously low because of the wages savings I make - and now the competition closes and I get more customers. I sell my business for more than a gold mine because all the pay was legit and the books are roses.

The new owner can't work as hard as I did because they haven't been hardened up by the industry to do so because it's soft - so he puts his prices up.....

Anonymous said...

Envy my arse. Some of us worked our butts off in school to go to a good uni to get a good education and finally get a good job. Just because you didn't doesn't make what we do wrong or less difficult. And just so you know, I get taxed far more than you do.

Anonymous said...

^
This.

Anonymous said...

Time to draw a line under this one, I think.
Much of the rant on this post seems to come from bitter, twisted people living in an insular, self-obsessed hospitality bubble. Broaden out your vision a bit folks and take a look at some REALLY important issues confronting us in the REAL world!

Anonymous said...

^
This too...

Anonymous said...

This Anon 2.05 again
I thought the PUBLIC SERVICE was supposed to be a service industry too. Isn't that what I pay my taxes for, yet I see no blog on them. No blog for why I stood/ sat in a que for 40 minutes at medicare the other day?

Why aren't they held to same standard that the other service industry - HOSPO- is?

Did I get compensated for having to wait to be seen like those of you who walk in to my restaurant with out booking on a Saturday night with a table of 10 and then get the shits when you have to wait or even are turned away? NO.

A good Doco people should see is Food Inc. Shows the real cost of food and how it is under valued in current society.

All I am asking for is a little respect and respect for my staff who put long hours in and all we cop is grief from bloggers on websites like this and similiar...

I may be in a service industry but I am no bodies SERVANT.

Bernard Woolley said...

Too right Anon, you never see ANYBODY complaining about public servants here in the Internet!

Anonymous said...

Funny that... You would think how easy it is to criticise and how fickle the crowd is that people would have criticised sooner. Maybe public servant's aren't the problem.

Anonymous said...

I would've thought that some of the high profile food folk around town would have an opinion?

Anonymous said...

thats the point-its just the low profile ones who do

Anonymous said...

very low from the evidence here!!!

sir grumpy said...

I'm hoping this cracks the 100, Rita.
For those unable to grasp the supply-demand thing:

If two people rock up for a job with equal qualifications and pedigree, an employer still has to make the call on who gets it.
One will fit the bill, the other not...supply what the employer feels he and his business needs.
Simple really.

Anonymous said...

Oh sir grumpy,
Do you really expect most of these wankers to appreciate the elegant reasoned simplicity of your comment!!

sir grumpy said...

I suppose, anon. I fear they can get it, it is just that they choose not to.
Maybe wankers is a bit rough!
One almost gives up (almost).

Anonymous said...

these wankers!!!
Had a punter ring me up and say she loves our place and visits frequently. She also said she recommends people to my place which is great. She loves our food, ambience and service. However she won't be doing this any more based on a single event. The event in question was when she was told by our waitstaff that they couldn't split her bill as we were extremely busy.
Threatening not to ever come again or recommend us to others based on this seems like an overreaction to me especially since she says she loves everything else about us?
How is it that you can do almost everything right yet one small occurrance over a very busy period and people are so quick to find fault? If I worked in the public service people would just have to put up with whatever we dish out. And you know what, there's a whole different mind-set when it comes to my business and peoples expectations when thye go to say, Medicare or Service Tas, they'll accept the narrow terms and conditions for them but not for us.
Fair playing field? I dont think so.

Gavin Grasshopper said...

Then I'd say you're in the wrong game. Seriously, you're comparing a Medicare office to a restaurant?

It's not like for like.

Anonymous said...

hey gavin jobhopper, you haven't even addressed the question so why not pipe down and let the adults talk. I dont need to be judged by you, I'm asking if the original premise is fair or not. If you are capable of contributing, then please do so.

Gavin Grasshopper said...

Which question? If it is "Do you or your readers thinks this [the situation described in the post] is fair or equatable?"

I think that it is fair that the employee got paid their legal entitlement in the case described above.

sir grumpy said...

I must say anon 5.58 the customer seems a bit harsh.
I don't know if you could say you were sorry she felt that way but hoped she came back for all the reasons before the bill thing.
But then customers can be unreasonable and maybe you are better off without her.
It's like those tailgaters on the highway...let them pass you by the easiest means (even if it is pulling over). They'll just hurry on up to bother the next person.
It can't be personal, they don't even know you. But it is annoying.
As Marie Antoinette said: Let them eat chips.

Anonymous said...

Looks to me after reading all the posts that there a number of wankers out there on both sides of the checkout.

It was very nice of the nice lady to tell you why she has gone off your place and maybe you should examine why you couldn't split the bill as usually that is a reasonable request and quite necessary in this day and age when people pay by credit and debit card. Maybe for example you could look at a different way of charging people, a portable Eftpos machine out at the table for example! You do need someone at the table to semi organise the people, like tell them it is $70 a head and them to tell you if there are any complications but in the overall scheme of things hey its not that hard!

The restaurant game looks to me like a much like any other business and there is no wins in being too precious.

In the end the successful ones who know how to market the business and know how to control costs and know how to look after their customers seem to drive the good cars and go on the good holidays and the other ones don't.

Same as any other business!



the merchant banker

Anonymous said...

It's been around for many years ...


If 'they' pay the bill .... and leave happy - studies show they tell friends about the experience and often return to use the service , if 'they' leave unhappy the same studies show that they tell 10X as many people about the poor experience and avoid using the service.

Yes public or private 'service' the business needs to offer what the customer wants (that is why Service Tas was created).

It's not rocket science ...

I am not saying the customer is always right ...rather like prostitution you roll over and give the customer what they want as you Want their MONEY.

Q: Every business needs an edge - ask yourself why the successful business's are successful...

A: They reach or exceed the customers expectations !

Its not about taking shit from lippy customers its about understanding your customers.

I think that the Industry needs to understand that the customers attitudes and expectations have changed. This blog is an example of this change - once it was discussed at dinner parties etc... now it goes viral and at least on a local level an issue can spread around town and has the potential to destroy a business, often without any recourse to a 'reply' in defense of the issues raised.

More than ever the customer with an axe to grind has access to potentially a very large audience.

The Virtual Soap Box has arrived !


The times have changed, don't you think Sire Grump.



CoolRoom

Anonymous said...

Has sir grumpy had a personality transplant of late? The new reasonable, conciliatory persona is totally different from the bullish, beligerent character of old! I'm not complaining, though.

sir grumpy said...

Yes, Coolroom, trial by blog. Often dangerous and unfair.
Best to find out for yourself, benefit of the doubt and all that.

And Anon, I have not had a personality change.
Why would you change this personilty...I ask you!
I speak as I find.
But I don't mind having a go when something shitty is done.
Bottom line is fair go.
If restaurants or customers are bastards they deserve a serve.
But I often think things are getting worse.
Sidling into the library today and a mere half dozen steps from the slot you put your return books into, I was overtaken by a silver-haired woman who pushed in front to deposit hers.
Oh how I chuckled inwardly as she had difficulty getting her return through the slot.
What is it with people? Why couldn't she just file in behind me and wait half a tick?
She didn't race off afterwards, but just sidled on.
Manners!

Anonymous said...

Where's Rita? We made it. This is 101.
Now let's all kiss and make up!

Rita said...

Yay! Thanks guys! 101 comments! Well done.
Although feeling absolutely crap (still boring heart issues!) with medications, I have been keeping what little remains of my concentration on this blog.
I checked in this morning and saw the comments were up to 99. The final comment being about Sir G, I figured he would respond this afternoon (which, from my observations of his habits, seems to be the time of day he goes interneting), and to him would go the 100 comments title - and so it was!

sir grumpy said...

Have I been baited again!?
Get well soon Rita, your blog still has pulling power, something that left me decades ago!

Rita said...

Hey Sir G - let me tell you I too lost that power many years ago, so you're not on your own!
I think my health still has a long way to go before I am well again, but thanks for the good wishes, and positive reinforcement of the blog.

lemon curd said...

I'm trying my hardest not to comment.... lol

Congrats - it's been a while since your last 100 poster, fitting for your millenium celebration though!

Best wishes from up 't coast

Adam said...

The fact of the matter is that society is cheffed out. It was nice in the beginning to see people get passionate about something so simple as food, at a time when society and life was becoming more and more complex and we needed something to take that edge off. Since the Gulf War, we've seen increased acts of terror, economic collapses, increased consumerism and increasing globalisation, which is a big shift in society. Food media, and it's own self created consumable chefs, are just a by product of all this and as such have become the (former) next big thing.

Now, I think we have been saturated with so much food, so much celebrity and so much technicality that it's just become too difficult and, well, boring. Food is the epitome of the consumable - we need to consume food to live - and as such our consumer society got suckered into celebrity chefs and food. I know I did. I even became one. How hard can it be? Turns out bloody hard. Yet we still see on television shows like MasterChef, with the ridiculously difficult celebrity challenge for contestants, where stunning dishes like the Snow Egg are promoted to the average home cook. The fact is that very few home cooks could even get close to creating a Snow Egg up to the standard shown. Or a V8 cake. Or any of the other dishes. Not even a reasonably good chef could do them without years of practice. Yet our consumer culture still forces us to keep trying to do it, or to go and buy the original product from the producer, time and time again.

Even the shows themselves are designed for the consumer. Huey's Cooking Adventures zooming in on the ingredients, product placement in MasterChef in regards to appliances as well (imported from Asia - hello Globalisation and trade deals), the image and lifestyle created with Bill Granger or Nigella Lawson's perfectly manicured home, or the image of our socially engaged "hero" driving around London on his Vespa to buy ingredients. Even the ingredients themselves are highlighted - who can afford Wagyu beef anyway?

But now society is struggling under the strain of one of the biggest financial collapses in history, and I think some of us are beginning to see that what has been promoted is just not attainable any more. Who can afford a Thermo or to eat at Quay or to buy Wagyu often? Who can afford a home like Bill Granger, when we struggle with a mortgage and record credit card debt? Not us - not even the public servants. Food was meant to be simple and to bring people together. But it got tainted by the very thing it was meant to be against - consumerism and a complex world.

Now you have a multitude chefs whingeing that we "just don't get it" or that we "can't handle it". You created this. You got caught up in your own self-importance and money, that you destroyed and chance you had of having long term success. Just stop. Get back to what's real. Simple food, cooked well and served by people who really do care about the customer. It's your call.

Adam said...

That hero is Jamie Oliver by the way.

Anonymous said...

What an insanely good post. I too am feeling overwhelmed by the amount of food and celebrity chef that is on television. It WAS a nice release from the complexities of life for a while. But now it does seem to me that a lot of it is unattainable and it is becoming boring. That consumerism/materialistic society point you make is spot on.

Overall, It's a superb analysis and it makes a lot of sense, especially when you make the point about food being the epitome of the consumable, and how that connects everything. Not sure how the restaurant community will cope with the fact that some if not many consumers have become "cheffed out". We all love food, but too much of a good thing and promoting the unattainable is downright depressing. I've given up on cooking some of the stuff they make also. And I used to buy their products but gave up because it COST TOO MUCH. Then there are the other, "lesser" chefs who build themselves up into their own little celebrities. That unattainable food we see on television we expect a chef to be able to do. But they can't. After all the arrogance, pomp and promotion maybe we expect too much. Then we walk away disappointed. And then we get criticized for not "getting it". Hmmmm... Bizarre. Product of their own environment? But anyway....

Anonymous said...

P.S.

Rita, this may end up deserving it's own thread - are people cheffed out?

Anonymous said...

i dont think its a case of being 'cheffed out' as much as getting overwhelmed by the constant bombardment of food info everywhere you turn. Steve of my porch blog wrote about this very thing last year, here's the link:
http://tiny.cc/qrhoc

Anonymous said...

Not so much cheffed out - I think we're a little more chef-savvy now. I've copied recipes off Masterchef and got a huge confidence boost, after spending a whole afternoon traipsing around Greater Hobart trying to source ingredients!

But people like Sally Wise have also introduced me to the joy of the slow cooker (I was born in the 70s, so all I can remember is the burnt orange crockpot and stew - not fancy pants stew either, stew with half-cooked potatoes and stringy meat). I'm even dabbling in a bit of home-preserving this weekend.

I've gained a lot of confidence by following celebrity recipes to the "t", fussing about with all the foreign techniques, sweating, stressing and cussing about it getting to match the picture in the book. But now I'm at the point where now I don't mind if I can't find some obscure ingredient that is only havested by the light of a full moon by highland natives in Bolivia and costs a week's wages, and I don't care if the result is a little wonky. If it tastes good - the family is happy. And noone makes comparisons when we go out and get a professionally-made version of the same dish (either about my effort or about the cost of the meal at the restaurant).

Having said that - made a fabulous greek-style lamb roast in the slow cooker on the weekend. Other half was super-impressed by my plating up effort - just by serving it on a bed of wilted spinach with baby roast potatoes on the side, he thought I'd done something super-special...

Madge

Anonymous said...

I'm cheffed out. Too much is too much. It's virtually impossible to cook as they do, and afford the products they use, week after week. Seems a perfect environment for sales actually. No one wants to quit and no one wants to take a backward step. They cook food for fuck's sake. Yet they get praised and promoted like they are deities. And many believe their own press. It's only food...

Anon2 said...

Adam's observations are spot on - the best post in ages!

Anonymous said...

It's the best post I've ever seen on here - and there's been a few. That point about being tainted by the thing they were meant to be against really nailed it AND struck a chord with me. It is so true. Whether it's a conscious choice by chefs, whether it's the new "thing" by producers for complexity or is just a product if it's own environment I don't know. What I do know is that it rung true for me.

Anonymous said...

not sure that the current thread is really addressing the original post, which was essentially about staff wages however its interesting to see what people are thinking. I am shocked though at the venom toward hospitality people, particularly chefs. Equally shocked at what appears to be hospitality people retaliating and being very personal toward those who differ in opinion.

Anonymous said...

Hey Madge can you post your slow cooked lamb roast recipe please, sounds like just the thing for the weekend!

Anonymous said...

Should probably be made into another thread. Or keep it going. It's really quite fascinating to see what people think.

Rita said...

I agree. I reckon Adam's comment was very well thought out, and very well expressed.
Thanks Adam.

Dreamboy said...

Amen

sir grumpy said...

One of the UK papers tried Jamie Oliver's latest thingy 30-minute meals or something.
Reporter and reasder gave a posse of his show menus a go. None of them replicated his dishes in 30 minutes. One of them was a cook himself (like in real life and stuff and that, yeah).
All liked the grub they produced but none came close to 30 minutes. The wash-up was if you have a team around you to prompt and provide you can do it.
But then there's the shopping for ingredients and the washing up...30 minutes, come on.
The whole day more like.
Me and the wifelet like to eat out for lunch at the weekends and have snacky things later.
So it coule be roast duck at Touch of Asia followed by a butcher's or supermarket's burger on a good roll from the german baker at Sandy Bay...or a slice of quiche with a few green leaved and a tamata, etc.
All minum prep and washing up. So you have a clean kitchen and a nice drinky-poo without the hassle.
Ah yes.
Maybe I'll get rid of my super knives and le creuset pots and just eat casual-like. And the juicer and blender and bamix.
I feel like bursting into song...Freedom's just another word for no pots left to do.....

Christina said...

Saw that article myself Sir G. Gotta love Jamie though!
I've never met a cookbook I didn't just have to have but Jamies are up there for ease and simplicity. Must admit I didn't get the 30 minute one, nor the one before that, Jamie does Spain or something, {I can hear you now}.
I think he's good people but there is a lasgne recipe of his I have that literally takes about 5 hours! So worth it though!.....
and if your giving things away, I bags the le crueset!

sir grumpy said...

Hello Christina,

yes I quite like Jamie but not his change-the-world programs.
(UK and US kids and their school dins). And that ``make them up t'north of ingerland cook proper like''.
Shit that was depressing as hell. Leave the buggers to their own devices I says.
His straight cooking shows are fine.
My daughter already has my juicer and the blender is off the bench and at the back of a cupboard.
But when I put it there I did discover a nice heavy-duty cast iron pan which I had salted away. Still with a fine coating of oil to stop it rusting.
Wow, my beef is better than ever on that baby.