Scrap penalty rates and we solve all our problems! Really? Let’s Look Deeper

(27 /03 /2014)

Wages within the hospitality industry is once again a hotly debated topic.  The cost of running an establishment during weekends and public holidays has become a financial burden with a number of operators deciding to close during these times.  As a result, there is a call to scrap penalty rates for workers in this industry.

Is that really the answer?

I have just returned from Hong Kong where they have introduced minimum wages within the hospitality industry and after speaking with some owners of very large restaurants, I found the knock on affect was that finding staff to work was becoming such an issue that they were operating most shifts understaffed!

No one wants to work in a busy, high stress environment for little return.  In some cases restaurants have outsourced dishwashing because they can’t get anyone to wash their dishes!  Is that where we are heading?

In a service orientated industry where reputation and customer care is paramount to the success or failure of your business why should we compromise on quality staff when there are so many other areas of our business that we can look at!

Scrapping penalty rates will put pressure on an already stretched entertainment dollar.  The cost of living is continually rising and why would I choose to work weekends if I was being the paid working 9am-5pm.  As an industry we need to be more vocal about the knock on effects of changing these rates and as a business, yes we need to investigate ways to reduce our overheads that doesn’t mean slashing staff numbers.

So let’s take the time to look a little closer, understand our businesses, put systems and procedures in place to ensure we are costing our menus correctly and understanding our wastage before risking the quality of our customer service.  But let’s also stand together as an industry and take the focus off penalty rates and start pointing the finger at the cost of living and ways at which perhaps local or state government can support and help one of the single biggest industries in Australia.

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