Industry Update
External Article12 December 2018

Staff Training Is Essential If The Hospitality Industry Is To Flourish: Michael Fridjhon

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Guests at corporate events at most of South Africa's best-known establishments have no idea what their hosts pay for the same old drab buffets which are turned out by equally bored banqueting staff. What is euphemistically called "finger food" costs between R400 and R500 per person and comprises the inevitable pies and pastries, platters of processed cheeses, bains-maries containing casserole-type "comfort food" and a carvery where often-overdone meat finally leaves the crematorium to join the heavenly choirs.

Everyone is to blame for this state of affairs: the corporates who fund the charade, the hotels which are addicted to these easy pickings, the consumers who are too polite to say how appalling the experience has been. Most of the guests who hover over the unimaginatively laid out (and frequently recycled) spread don't realise that a sit-down meal in the establishment's top restaurant would cost less and that the team serving the food would be better remunerated. In fine dining establishments the waitering staff are probably full-time employees, enjoying the security and benefits which come from having a permanent position, whereas those who work in "banqueting" are contracted to staffing companies who call upon them as and when they're needed.

There's controversy enough around contract work: it's fair to say that until labour laws are given a major overhaul, and the reality of the marginal nature of many businesses is taken into account, the issue is not going to achieve a vaguely consensual resolution. But when it comes to the hospitality issue, there are practical consequences to the contract labour system which are as bad for the country and for employers - in the long term - as they are for the workers.

Read the full article at Winemag