Bartender 7164196

The hospitality industry is a realm I have long been immersed in, a journey that began in my teenage years when I toiled as a dishwasher at the tender age of 16. Today, as an industry ‘insider’, I am filled with a mix of confusion and frustration about the prevailing state of affairs.

The pandemic has served as a stark reality check, thrusting the mental and physical wellbeing of hospitality workers into the spotlight. This narrative has gravitated towards the reduction of exhausting working hours, improving working conditions, and wider strategies aimed at reducing employee attrition. 

From my years in frontline operations, I have deep, personal knowledge of the gruelling experience of labouring through back-to-back 18-hour shifts, a Herculean feat that comes with scant financial reward.

This leads me to the critical and vexing issue: the measly pay packets synonymous with the hospitality industry.

 It's a conundrum with a circular argument. As an industry, we are culpable, and yet, the patrons of our establishments (yes, that includes you), are also unwitting contributors.


Allow me to explain.

The heart of the matter revolves around our habits when dining or drinking out. The hospitality industry's underbelly reveals a constant struggle between offering attractive pricing to customers and remaining profitable. This price competition amplifies the problem.

The constant pursuit of affordable leisure activities exerts immense downward pressure on pricing. The industry reacts by resorting to price cuts, offering special discounts, promoting happy hours, bottomless brunches and more.

Yet, who bears the brunt of this strategy? The hardworking staff, that’s who. They become victims of a system that's tightening its grip to balance the books, this is the industry’s dirty little secret.  

It's a paradoxical reality where we vocally condemn the ill-treatment of hospitality staff, yet our actions betray us. We're all eagerly scouring for the next great deal, but we must recognize the impossible contradiction we're perpetuating.

It's high time we reconcile with the fact that enhanced experiences come at a price. If we become more willing to shell out a few extra bucks for our outings, we pave the way for the industry to attract and retain top-tier talent.

This quandary is reminiscent of the age-old sausage factory analogy; we savour the taste of a good sausage, but few of us are willing to acknowledge the process behind its creation.  We must take a more balanced view of our demands and expectations if we wish for our industry to truly flourish. 

Background 03