Instalment One: city hospitality

So I have worked in and out of hospitality since I was a little girl. My mum was a waitress, come bartender, come manageress, and my father is a master pastry chef. We have worked in small towns, coastal oasis’, and bustling cities. But one thing I have noticed is that the hospitality industry is losing its hospitality.

I meet ‘career hospitality’ members who don’t know the answer to  – “how do you greet a customer” or, “how do you deal with complaints?” The new generation seems to be hell bent on fancy spaces, and cool décor rather than customer relations and atmosphere. Everyone seems to think they can open their own restaurant and do it better than the guy before them, unfortunately though, doing better than rubbish isn’t much of a goal.

I am sitting down over the next few weeks to share with you some stories that make me really see the lack of care, attention, and most importantly hospitality in the hospitality industry. Some of these stories have happened to me, some I have merely observed or been told. These are not complaints, they are observations, these are not necessarily new tales, I have had my eye out for many years. So sit back, cringe, laugh, cry, and enjoy.

Instalment one:

The city, a bubbling cosmopolitan, a mixing pot of colour, life, and enjoyment. You only have to stroll down one street to meander past a varying array of pubs, clubs, cafes and restaurants. While this adds choice and variety to the consumers, it adds uncertainty and increased pressure to those who man the bars, and run the food.

In the past few years of living in the city I have noticed unlawful practices left right and centre, mismanagement and inappropriate conduct from staff that goes unchecked purely out of fear. Because, why would you correct someone when there are 100 more people ready to take your place? The employers know this, and it seems in a city they take full advantage of it.

I have worked eight hour shifts without so much as a five minute break, I have been called a bitch, a cunt, incompetent and stupid for things I haven’t even done, I have had rosters that ignore my university timetabling which was a promised factor in structure, and all the while I keep quiet because I need the money and the market is so competitive. These things would never happen in the smaller towns, the coastal oasis’ but we deal.

I have watched girls hit on, grabbed at, forced to pay for transaction mistakes and tips not shared out when they are promised. I have watched men forced to do all the heavy lifting, jobs not anywhere close to their actual job descriptions. I have noticed rostering that doesn’t allow for the legal break between days… the list goes on.

However, despite the crappy conditions that workers endure in the hospitality cityscape they sit and deal because at the end of the day it pays the bills. And sit and deal is literally all they can do at one particular job. I have observed a place who takes full advantage of the employee pool by fully leaning on their staff regularly. This establishment is busy predominantly on nights where there are events nearby, on these nights pretty much all employees are rostered on, but if you arrive at your rostered time and its not yet busy? You better believe you will sit outside not clocked in, not getting paid, just waiting, waiting, and waiting, and you say peep? You better believe they’ll probably replace you, so you waste your night, on illegal hold. Yes the work is fun, and yes it pays the bills, but should workers really have to endure such wasted unpaid time just because they’re deemed replaceable?