What the minimum wage shift moving toward (but still a long way from) a living wage means for the hospitality industry is radical and timely evolution. It signals the end of an anachronistic, patriarchal system, which is only one step ahead of farm labour, which remains medieval, except for the robots. Books like Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain and Devil In The Kitchen about Pierre Marco White in London (where Gordon Ramsay apprenticed) may have been marketed as novels but they were not based on fictional fantasies.
Short years ago, the backbone of hospitality was underpaid foreign labour, something the industry is pushing governments to return to. That ship has sailed, and the hospitality industry needs to evolve to a place where screen addicted, and to be honest to my opinion, lazy and spoiled, young workers “we were driven to school every day” are actually attracted to want to work.
Change is happening, the industry is evolving at the edges, and I am excited for the future of one of the only industries that cannot be AI virtual or ‘Made In China’. But are the days of a young and servile person listening to insults for meager tips over? Has that movie played its last reel?
Take a guess.
There are new success models, some look old and some are new. One of the reasons I love designing for hospitality is because of the constant change. People say to me, “We always do it this way!” to which I reply either “Did you look at the Big Number on the front of your wall calendar?” or more often “That’s why I’m here”.
My mottos is ‘Redefining Traditions’, and some of, if not most of, the traditions of the hospitality industry are overdue for redefinition. Read the book Eat Like A Fish: My Adventures as a Fisherman Turned Restorative Ocean Farmer by Bren Smith, and or the very well researched book by Corey Mintz – The Next Supper: The End of Restaurants as We Knew Them, and What Comes After.