What is job satisfaction anyway……could it be that you are satisfied in your job, or that you are satisfied by a job well done? Personally, I think it is the same thing, people who are not good at their jobs rarely enjoy them, and vice versa.
There is plenty of talk in the industry at the moment about the recruitment crisis, particuarly in the kitchen – here is just one piece on the subject, but we have also noticed the change front of house. When Terence first arrived in this country, he was one of many Aussies, Kiwis and South Africans, who were all keen to work in hospitality. They are still around, and are also now joined by a contingent of Eastern Europeans. All of them with a great work ethic and manners and concept of service. This is fantastic, but such a shame that a falling number of our young Brits think that a career in hospitality is a good move.
Maybe as a nation, we just don’t afford any kind of value to hospitality and the effort it takes to be good at it so it is seen as the poor man’s choice? During the run up to the summer, I am inundated with calls and emails from students who want to earn some cash, but the last time I advertised for a full time front of house member of staff, I got a grand total of one application, from someone not even living in the UK yet. And before anyone asks, we were offering well over the ‘living’ wage, alternate weekends off, paid holiday and bonus scheme.
I get that hospitality is not the highest paid job out there, but neither is retail, animal care or administration, and I don’t think they are suffering the same lack of interest, but maybe I am wrong.
A lot of people think working front of house is easy. Personally, I think it is one of the hardest jobs out there. You have to be high energy, friendly, smily and have a capacity for a near photographic memory of an entire drinks and food menu. Thats before you even add in any customers, who may be easy going and friendly OR the entire opposite! If you go further and reach supervisory level, imagine doing all this, AND having a full restaurant with the associated timings running in your head, having to ensure it all runs like clockwork, and make sure the customers are given no idea as to the amount of effort you are putting into it. It brings multi-tasking to a whole new level!
I often spend time running through little routines with new staff, explaining why we do certain things, and often, until they are in the middle of a full on service, they don’t see why – they just think we are crazy, but suddenly it becomes crystal clear, that no…you don’t just remember drinks in your head rather than write them down, because if you are serving five tables in one go, you will not remember all these things.
So, having done a great job of painting the downsides of the industry….why oh why would we want to be in it?! Well, quite simply, I think, if its your bag, it is one of the most fun things to do with your working day. You get to talk to people, and laugh with them, all day. Granted, if you are a miserable B****** this may not be your cup of tea!
Building a relationship with your customers over years is so rewarding, and often we get to see them through all the important times in their lives, birthdays, christenings, family get togethers and the sadder occasions too, but it is all part of the rich tapestry of life. The best staff we have ever had are real people’s people. They are genuinely happy that another person has walked through the door. I am an avid people watcher, as I think most of us are, and what I love is that a pub bar is one of life’s great levellers – you can have two people from opposite ends of the social spectrum stood together, and in any other situation they would have nothing in common, but for some reason, in the pub, they can chat all night. I love that the pub is a focal point in the community and I love being part of that.
To anyone who thinks they have the qualities it takes but thinks there are no rewards to be had…..work hard (slackers just put everyone in a bad mood!), love and take pride in your job and be loyal – if you do all these things, you will get ahead, trust me! In today’s 24 hour, 7 day world, working evenings and weekends doesn’t really matter any more…..plus, there is something blissful about being off work when everyone else is chained to their desks! If you prefer your own company and can’t stand anyone asking you to do something for them, then a career in hospitality is probably not for you!