Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Workplace Reform

John Hart, CEO of Restaurant & Catering Australia, reckons the restaurant industry won't last 10 more years if John Howard's workplace reform agenda isn't brought into being.

Well. Bugger me. I thought it was good food and great service that predicted the viability of restaurants, either individually or as an industry.

I know it's tough out there in restaurant land, and the GST hasn't helped. But I would have thought that those restaurants who run a tight ship, hire good staff, and use the best of produce (and yes, charge us appropriately .... note the use of the word 'appropriately' here) should have nothing to fear from the dining public. If you're good, we'll come. And then we'll come again. The ability to fire at will and push one-sided workplace agreements should not come into the equation.

But what do I know?


Anonymous said...

Dear Georgie,
Interesting comments about work place reform. Due to the casual nature of restaurant employment I doubt the power to "fire at will" will have much appeal to restaurant owners. Of more appeal would be the ability to pay inexperienced staff less money ( currently the award dictates that a virgin waiter and a 15 year verteran both get paid the same - why hire any of the 20 or so 18 y.os a week who come and ask for work? And I doubt owners fear the dining public as you suggest( "... should have nothing to fear from the dining public" ). I think owners fear the hours they currently work to cover all the hours they simply can't afford to pay staff to do due to the current award and penalty rates are unsustainable. Working extra hours is how most honest small business owners absorb increased costs and every time you visit a small business and think "Gee - they should really do this" and "I don't understand why they don't do that" it is most likely that the business owners are already working so many hours that they don't have time to make even the most obvious and basic of improvements. I would also suggest that business owners who complain about award rates are the ones that pay the award knowing that there are plenty of people who are not paying award rates.

I love HRB but there is a real Famous Five ( "Julie, Dick, Anne, George and Timmy the D-o-o-g" )type naivety when you start talking about the business side of the hospitality industry.

PS When are you coming to my shop?


Stephen said...

Jack said: currently the award dictates that a virgin waiter and a 15 year verteran both get paid the same

No it doesn't, you're free to pay over the award, so you could pay extra to the 15yr veteran.

My guess is that the truth of the matter is that many restaurants don't really value excellent service and are happy with merely mediocre waiters (ie anything short of spilling the soup in the punters lap).

Georgie Weston said...

Dearest Jack,

I may well be naive when it comes to the business side of the restaurant industry (actually, yes, I'm fucking naive), BUT don't be quoting the Famous Five at me ... it's JULIAN, Dick, and Anne, George and Timmy the D-o-o-g ... with lashings of ginger beer ... hurrah!

Now that we've got that straight ... Thanks for the invitation Jack. Of which shop do you speak?

Anonymous said...

Dear Georgie,

hmm ... not sure about poor old Julian - didn't his name get abreviated to Julie in the theme song? ( I think it ticked him off too - he was always cranky about something ).

And appologies, it was very cheeky of me to mention that I have a shop on YOUR blog. HRB is brilliant, it is all your work and a testament to an exciting personality. For me to try and ride your coat tails is a poor show. No doubt you'll come and visit one day and I hope when you do you'll enjoy it.

Congratulations on your 1st Anniversary and please keep up the good work.



Georgie Weston said...

Most galant, Sir Jack. Thank you. And I don't care about blatant self-promotion ... what is your bloody shop! Or are you scared I won't like it? It's ok, I understand.

(email me if you're shy)

GW ;-)

p.s. Ever seen "Five Go Mad in Dorset" ... most hilariarse (Jen Saunders, Dawn French, Adrian Edmondson, and some cranky bloke playing JuliAN). xx

Anonymous said...

Well spoken Jack!! As a small business owner myself (in hospitality) i have never worked less than an 80 hour week in the last 3 years because of exactly what uyou speak of. And i get so frustrated with punters saying "oh you are busy. How lovely.. you should take some time off and get someone else in for a while..."

Well duh, when i win tattslotto maybe i will.

Buit that it not to say that i support little johhny and his wpr reforms. but i would never tell anyone how to run their business.

Enjoy those sticky buns jack.

And what is your shop???