Let’s be honest, the Hospitality industry has never been an industry that parents have actively encouraged their kids to go into. Despite ‘eating out’ spend reaching a high it seems an attitude of, “I’d eat there but wouldn’t want my child to work there” still dominates. In a recent independent survey of 1000 parents* the leading jobs that parents wanted their children to go into were, unsurprisingly,
And these top three careers haven’t really changed over the last 25 years. And nor has the list of careers parents would least like their children to go into - topping this list, you’ve guessed it - Hospitality management including General Manager and Directors. I have friends in work in all of these fields, they’ve worked hard to carve out a career for themselves. None of these jobs are easy, they all require long hours, working weekends and the ability to cope with a lot of stress. In fact, I think my Architect friends have it the hardest (perhaps they should go and speak to some of these parents).
Over the last 25 years or so the hours and pressures of being a Dr, an Accountant or an Architect have grown and grown. Smaller budgets, a downturned economy and more competition mean that these jobs are packed full of stress and never ending shifts. Whereas I don’t think the Hospitality industry has actually become that much more stressful, or harder than it’s ever been. Yes there are more restaurants now, but conditions are better, tech has reduced the workload massively, and staff are better trained - if anything it’s got better.
But the perception of the Hospitality industry has not. And it’s this perception of our industry as a low paid, unskilled and unsociable career that’s really doing the damage. Yes, there are restaurants out there that do live up to this perception but there are also restaurants that are changing the landscape. There’s a new breed of restaurant coming through that exemplify everything that’s great about the industry. I think of Restaurants like Kiln, Blacklock, Flat Iron, Smoking Goat, set up by incredibly passionate, hardworking people who care inherently about the food they serve and the people who work for them. They realise that running a restaurant is a truly collaborative process, you have to look after your suppliers, staff, and guests equally. I take my hat off to them, the courage they've had to set up on their own and the risks they’ve taken to succeed. If my kids can be as happy and successful as some of the young guns running these places I’d think I’d done a pretty good job.
*1,004 parents ranging from 18 to 65 were surveyed in July and August 2016 across the United Kingdom by TFL Research. Source Best Western Hotels.