Finding competent staff members who are prepared to commit for a decent length of time is still a big challenge, in addition, in rural areas there are other issues to manage such as transport or even accommodation.
For some reason, hospitality (especially front of house) in this country is still predominately viewed as a stop-gap job, not a career choice. Applicants tend to be students, people on gap years or people generally filling in while applying for other jobs. Which is a real shame, because the opportunities for quick progression are probably greater than in most other industries — we’ve had a couple of staffing issues recently that have highlighted this.
Not long ago an employee informed us he’d been successful in securing a position in his chosen career and would be starting in his new position in four days. The implication being that he wasn’t able to give any notice. The situation worsened when it transpired his intention was not to fulfil his work commitment with us.
“Didn’t you tell them that you already had a job and need to give notice?” I asked. The response: “Well I told them I had a ‘bar job”, pretty much sums up the view many have that hospitality jobs are not proper and exist for the convenience of the worker. Never mind that this ‘bar job’ had provided continuous employment for two years, along with associated benefits including free staff meals and holiday pay. It’s all about respect isn’t it?
Similarly another (now ex) employee put in a holiday request with only three days’ notice and when the request was declined said he was prepared to forfeit his job, giving credence to the fact that these types of jobs are viewed as disposable.
There are an abundance of food-related TV programmes, almost all are cooking, chef or competition based. And search online to find hundreds of food review sites and recipes/blogs written by chefs. But there are very few blogs that give any insight into what it’s like to work front of house, serving the customer.
I think it’s about time we had some TV shows that promote what can be an extremely funny and very rewarding industry to work in and motivate people to choose hospitality as a career. I think it would make compulsive viewing.
Karen Errington is the owner of the Rat Inn, in Anick, Northumberland