I have strong feelings about hospitality wages and how the public has viewed this profession and industry. Well for some, it's not seen as a viable career path but just a gap fill for their next thing. Fair enough, we've all experienced mediocre service and products but success rarely thrives in such places. We've all tolerated this and have never had the courage to demand for a better level of hospitality and service, especially when you're charged under $5 for a coffee. It's a cycle that really needs to stop.
Operators within the industry have lots to be accountable for. Hospitality has had a string of bad reviews, from being known as the ungraceful workplace to egotistical bosses and constantly unhospitable co-workers. Stories of a stagnant cafe work life with no visible route to a successful and fulfilling career are all too common, but it's not right. No fluorishing industry leaves its people behind. Without a vision for people, it's nearly impossible for a business to grow.
Paying at least the Living Wage in our world is also a commitment to learning and development. With our current business model it's quite tricky to make it work. Our guests expect to be served within 9 minutes from ordering, some expect it within 2 minutes. They expect consistent beverage quality served fast. They also expect amazing experiences every time, no failures or mistakes. Lots of moving parts, all of which take a margin out of the price of a cup of coffee.
Labour cost is already our biggest business expense and increasing it further doesn't seem logical. My view is different. My vision is to lift everyone as best as I can not just in terms of pay, but also in development and leadership. I'm committed to everyone's development and so when the time comes for our team members to move onto bigger things and leave Your Local, the business has made a difference in their professional development and hence they will be not be paid any less in hospitality. It's not the way to move our industry forward, but I strongly believe that it is one of the ways.
It does take courage and a great deal of visioning and foresight to be able to do this. Having been certified as a Living Wage employer means we are confident that we can achieve our financial goals and be constantly smart in our vision and day-to-day work. We strive to uplift our hospitality game and so we can all have a successful career path forward. We chose hospitality as our profession and not everyone can be excellent in it. Excellence is our gold post, and only people who, like us, strive for that end game, who love their work and serving others, our staff and guests, can be part of Your Local.
Learn more about how you can be part of the movement at LivingWage.org.nz