Thursday, January 10, 2013
A Waste of Potential
There are a lot of people who think bar tending and waiting on tables is a bit below them. That they can walk into any job and be able to carry a tray of drinks to the table would be no problem for them. It's true perhaps you do not need a university education to become a server or bar tender but having some idea of what you are getting in to before you enter a restaurant or bar to fill out an application would be helpful.
In Europe there is actually a 3 year curriculum on serving tables and bar tending. In Iceland where my wife took her course she had to experience what it was like to wait on tables for 6 months as part of the required tasks you had to do to complete and pass through to get your papers. It is a skill to wait on tables and highly touted. I can tell you my wife knows how to fold a napkin 30 different ways no problem whereas I would struggle getting up to 4 ways.
Of course in Iceland as in most other countries excluding North America they do not work for tips but get paid a pretty good salary with all the benefits. All servers belong to a union. It is just like any trades person here. They spend time learning and perfecting their craft.
In order for it to be the same here the employer must start demanding higher standards of their pool of people to choose from. If the employer is going to pay people minimum wage and offer at best part time hours and provide no benefits or incentive to get better at their trade they will reap what they sow.
That is a pool of talent that has no desire to make serving or waiting on tables a career choice. For most it will be just a job to do until they get a real one. With the real crisis of finding good people to fill spaces vacant in the hospitality industry it should be made more attractive by the employer. However in most cases it is not the case.
That is unfortunate.
Radio talk show host of "The Hospitality Industry News Network" and author of "You Only Live Once" about his early years traveling around and working on ships and foreign countries Steven blogs about his thoughts on the restaurant industry as he sees it today.
Check out his web site at www.stevennicolle.com for more information.