Written on 22-Jan-2018
Guest Chef Blogger, Kristian Fisher shares his views on the current state of the hospitality industry…
The hospitality industry has been featured in the national press a lot recently for many negative reasons; long hours, low pay as well as being attributed to causing poor physical and mental health to employees. All this considered, many people ask why anyone would want to enter into this industry? Myself, having worked a variety of roles both front and have back of house in the industry for nearly 16 years, from the age of 13 when I undertook my first job as a kitchen porter, has seen the good and bad that the industry has to offer. While demonised in the press, I would like to look at the positives of hospitality.
Hospitality can be an industry of opportunity! Relatively few or sometimes no qualifications are needed for entry level positions, which provide a viable route into a career for many people who didn’t perform well within education. Within my working life I have seen employees with few other options come into catering as porters or waiters and work their way up into management positions. This is not an easy task and takes years of hard work and dedication to learn their trade and climb the proverbial corporate ladder to reach a point that wouldn’t have be possible in many other career paths.
It is well documented that long hours are regular in this type of service industry, many employees work over 60 hours a week which means that you end up seeing your co-workers more than you would see your own family. While this may be viewed as a downside to the industry (and I would have to agree) the other side of the coin is that there is the potential to form strong bonds and lifelong friendships with colleagues, the type of connection between people that is rarely seen.
In my own experience I’ve run into chefs that I haven’t worked with in years or even spoken to for that matter, however within minutes of speaking you would feel like you had never been apart. This sense of community gained from enduring long hours and frantic services together can create a fantastic support network.
The industry of catering also allows the possibility to travel and see the world. It’s one of the few jobs in which language barriers, while they exist, are less of a factor due to the practical nature of the work. With the general lack of hospitality staff globally there are opportunities to experience different cultures of many countries while earning a living which would be far more difficult to achieve in many other lines of work.
While there are many downsides to the hospitality industry, I personally feel that there are many positives to working within this sector that other careers don’t offer. Hopefully the negative aspects of this trade can be rectified by employers to make catering a more desirable career path and improve the quality of life for employees.