Is the issue really the award wages?

(07 /09 /2016)

There have been a number of articles and blogs around the topic of award wages for hospitality staff adding to the hardship of the industry.  Really? If you are a 9-5 worker, would you be happy with working late nights and holidays without penalty/reward?  Yes, sometimes it is a choice but sometimes it is what ever fits your current lifestyle.  I know, I for 1 relied on my restaurant shifts to get me through uni.  How else would I pay for books, rent and petrol when the course I was studying required me to be on campus 4 days a week? I really think we need to look past the ‘wage’ issue and talk about the other factors affecting the hospitality industry.

Firstly, the drop in disposable income of patrons. With ever increasing taxes, utilities costs, fuels, rent/mortgage, school fees, day care, living in general there is not wonder that there is little money left for what is traditionally classed as a ‘luxury’ expense. An increase in the number of establishments and competition for your entertainment dollar will of course affect our industry.  Wages are just a small part of the equation.  Do you start looking at opening hours? Should you open weekends? Nights and public holidays? Do the costs outweigh the profit you can bring in at those times.  Spare a thought for franchises and big chains.  No matter how busy/quiet they are they are governed by the opening times that the franchise sets.

So before we start picking at the obvious ‘wage’ cost, have a look at all areas of your business. Waste, menu costs, leases, insurances, what else makes up your expenses.  If we were to get rid of award wages we would have to start a system similar to say the USA, minimal wages and always looking for tips?  That is a whole new education for the Australian public.

So the bottom line – review your systems and procedures regularly.  Do you have the tools that can show you an indepth and honest look at your business before automatically looking at wages? The Australian Hospitality industry offers fair and equitable remuneration for our staff, lets leave it like that.



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