Goldie's plan for tackling the crippling hospitality staffing crisis
What do you do when you open a cafe & grocery store in Peregian Breeze just before COVID hits and the impact on your industry is a staffing crisis...?
Why is the hospitality industry in crisis?
Border closures means no international backpackers looking for bar work and no transient baristas and chefs from Sydney or Melbourne looking for a summer gig. Add to that the housing market boom and skyrocketing rentals prices, meaning a lack of affordable accommodation for hospitality staff to live in. This is why the industry is in crisis and every cafe and restaurant in town is screaming out for staff.
What would you do?
The fastest way to burn out...
James and Georgie, owner/operators at Goldie & the Green Grocer, realised quickly that their small team working crazy-long hours wasn't sustainable. James working 14 hour days, 7 days a week was the ticket to a fast burn out! They tossed around ideas like closing Monday and Tuesdays, reducing their hours, reducing their offering to take away only or reducing their menu so that the front of house team could also prepare the food without a chef. None of these solutions felt right, so James and Georgie kept thinking.
What a great idea!
Why not hire juniors! Local kids (who didn't need affordable accommodation because they still lived at home) looking for an opportunity to enter the workplace. Why not invest in their training and hopefully in 12 months from now- have a team of hospitality professionals.
Don't yell at them, empower them!
Typically juniors aren't trained 'properly' they are just given basic duties like the dishes, polishing cutlery and taking out the bins. James and Georgie's intention was to give the juniors a well-rounded training schedule across all facets of the industry. They also vowed to foster a supportive environment for the juniors to learn and grow. Unfortunately the industry is not historically known for being a supportive environment- long hours, late nights, hot kitchens and old-school industry leaders who think their abusive behaviour is "character building". James and Georgie wanted to change the industry and make it a place that young people WANTED to work in.
The power of social media
They put out the call on social media "Superstar Juniors Wanted" and were blown away by the number of applicants they got! 25 kids on the first day! So they held an information session and let the kids know all about the good, the bad and the ugly of the hospitality industry.
Give it to them straight!
- The Good: Make great friends for life, be able to work all over the world (when it opens up again) and develop your communication skills and confidence in talking to people
- The Bad: Missing weekend birthday parties and BBQ's because you are part of a team and have to be at work
- The Ugly: Customers being rude to you (luckily this is very rare at Goldie's, but is is an awful part of the job) and having to clean up the REALLY gross stuff some people leave behind.
Harnessing the enthusiasm
They were, again, blown away and delighted that EVERY one of them wanted to begin their work life at Goldie's. After months of advertising for staff and getting nothing, Georgie and James were so excited and inspired by the enthusiasm of these teenagers, that they decided to give them all a shot and 'accidentally' opened a Hospitality Training Academy, which is A LOT of work, but such a rewarding experience and will hopefully pay off when these Superstar Juniors are trained into fantastic hospitality workers.