‘Oh, you’re just a waiter!’…
…is absolutely unacceptable thinking. Full stop.
Yet, here we are rising out of a pandemic, and I use the word rising because that’s what those of us in hospitality will do, and we are fighting for our government and for our fellow citizens to hear our plea for support. We are made of strong stuff and in 2019, we contributed a whopping £59.3 billion, BILLION, to the UK economy.
To me, that shouts out that hospitality is integral to our country’s sustainability.
Working in hospitality may not require us to do CPR every day or filter water or plant trees. But what life would we be living if we didn’t acknowledge milestones like Father’s Day, Bat Mitzvah’s, St Paddy’s and Christmas, or even celebrate successes like the Euros, the Brits or the Olympics?
The mental impact socialising has on peoples wellbeing is more prevalent than ever in a post-lockdown world. We don’t look at socialising as just residual down-time when we aren’t working our 9-5s, or on the school run, or doing the laundry, or deep in our study books.
We need it to maintain positivity and drive, we need it to reflect and move forward, we need hospitality to live a happy, fulfilling life!
Just take a walk down memory lane and think back to those moments where a person working hospitality was responsible for comforting you or elevating your mood.
Perhaps it happens to be:
- The first smile from a barista that sets your day up when you go for your morning coffee.
- That bar you pull your stool up to when you’ve ‘just had enough’.
- The host that goes the extra mile to help you celebrate your big birthday.
- Or even the waiter that puts you at ease on your first date.
If we cross the seas to a number of international countries, working in the hospitality industry is taken seriously.
It is a career!
A tough one too. Working with customers is no mean feat. Complaints can ruin progression and tips are vital to sustaining livelihoods.
However, the pandemic has seen many people feel undervalued by the government and struggle financially, particularly as the 80% furlough scheme did not include any regular supplement from tips, which can make up to 50% of a waiters take-home wage.
No wonder we now have a mass recruitment crisis within the hospitality industry!
The past 18 months have highlighted that this industry needs focal advocacy from everyone to change the UK’s culture and appreciation for the industry, which makes it great to see schemes like Hospitality Rising come about to encourage hospitality as a career choice.
My hopes, for this industry that we have all so dearly missed in lockdown, is that perception changes to see the skill and value in hospitality roles… and we can all take responsibility for helping it.
Creating memories is what we ALL live for and that is the foundation of a career in hospitality! It’s about time it received the credit and investment it is due.
By Chloe Dodd
Chloe is an expert in the late-night entertainment and bars sector. Her work includes operations for multiple Revolution Bars venues and the prestigious Electric Ballroom in Camden and more recently as Head of Sales for Deltic Group / Rekom UK.