8 Enterprise Skills – the New Essentials for a Well-Paid Hospitality Career

The New Basics is a very interesting report on the Enterprise Skills young people need for the new work order. It’s been prepared by the Foundation for Young Australians, and they have a steady stream of good articles about work and wellbeing.

Enterprise Skills are transferable skills, and Technical Skills are those specific to a particular industry. It’s a good checklist for people who are thinking about moving into or out of hospitality, and finding a well-paid job.

I’ve had some recent conversations with chefs and managers about where they will take their careers after restaurant work – this is useful to see what they need to strengthen. I’m guessing #1 would be on most people’s improvement list…

I’ve taken the 8 Enterprise Skills they’ve listed (in the order of increased demand for these skills), and added some examples from hospitality – what else would you add under these headings?

  1. Digital Literacy – using business software, POS and cloud-based services, typing, Google searching, managing email, using photos and editing images, managing social media.
  2. Critical Thinking – comparing supplier quotes and proposals, weighing up options for menus and events, choosing between a number of job candidates, examining options for business changes.
  3. Creativity – recipe and menu development, music and entertainment, events, improving restaurant design and atmosphere, motivating staff in new ways.
  4. Problem Solving – handling conflict between staff, managing a sudden growth or decline in business, dealing with critical customers and staff not performing as expected.
  5. Financial Literacy – recipe and menu costing, working out wage costs, using a calculator and spreadsheet, reading POS reports, working out Return on Investment for equipment purchases, understanding a Profit & Loss statement.
  6. Presentation Skills – explaining changes to a team meeting, talking on your feet, presenting a new menu to senior management, justifying the cost and benefit of a proposal, using PowerPoint, talking to prospective employees eg school students.
  7. Communication – having a constructive conversation with staff, writing a report, expressing praise or dissatisfaction to a supplier or staff member, effective emails, having a good sales manner with prospective customers – phone and in person.
  8. Teamwork – organising and running a meeting, monitoring performance and results, supporting staff who are not performing, creating a team with a positive mix of skills and personalities.

The biggest increase in demand is for skills in 1, 2 and 3:  Digital Literacy, Critical Thinking and Creativity.

How to Promote Harmony Day on 21 March

Harmony Day celebrates Australia’s cultural diversity. It’s about inclusiveness, respect and a sense of belonging for everyone. Hospitality is uniquely placed to celebrate this event – we employ, and depend on people from so many countries. With a world in conflict, let’s promote the people who are the foundation of our business success. The date coincides with the United Nations’ International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

Here are some celebration ideas…

  • Take lots of team photos – staff working, group shots, setting up, cooking and serving.
  • Share the photos on your Facebook page, Instagram and other social media accounts – take a few with people holding up a Harmony Day 2018 sign…
  • Make an extra feature of the kitchen – it’s often like the United Nations, and sometimes forgotten because they work behind the scenes. People are always fascinated by how kitchens work and the life of a chef.
  • Use the #harmonyday2018 hashtag so others see your posts on Instagram and Twitter
  • Tell some team stories – about Ketut the chef from Bali, Connor the Irish manager or Mohammed the apprentice from Iran. It just needs a photo and a few sentences about when they came to Australia, where they trained and what they like about hospitality. Share them on your Facebook page, newsletter or website – these are the type of post that are shared widely.
  • Promote the event internally – sharing food, family photos and stories.
  • Tell the local paper about your great team, with a tie-in to Harmony Day. Talk about your business representing the face of modern Australia, with people from, for example, 12 nationalities serving more than 1500 customers every week.
  • Use the customisable posters and resources on the Harmony Day website.

There’s also a serious side to workforce diversity – be aware of the stress many staff are under with immigration and visas.

These processes are lengthy, complicated and expensive. It’s become an undignified political football, and the changes and politician rants are felt keenly by people who are waiting for permanency or citizenship. Your support and understanding will be greatly appreciated…

Harassment: Urgent Action to Protect Your Restaurant Staff and Reputation

Sexual harassment is all over the news, and likely to remain there for some time to come. And as journalists and celebrities find the courage to speak up, everyday workers will also find the confidence to talk about their past experience, or draw the line on something they are going through right now. The smart restaurant manager or owner is doubling down on anti-harassment action  – here’s what I suggest:

  • Bring out your Anti-Discrimination, Anti-Bullying, and Anti-Sexual Harassment Policies and give everyone a printed copy in a plastic binder, with their name on it. This shows how seriously you take the issue. Don’t have one yet? The Profitable Hospitality downloadable versions are an excellent start. Put some extracts or quotes in poster form on the noticeboard.
  • Hold a number of short staff meetings where attendance is compulsory. Go through the policies line by line and invite questions and discussion. Listen more than you talk. Ask for examples of what people may have experienced at another workplace. Request that it not be named, but by talking about somewhere else, this can sometimes give people the confidence to take part in a discussion.
  • Talk about those jokes. It’s challenging for many people to accept that what they think is just funny, could be regarded as harassment by someone else. That joke about the apprentice’s new girlfriend? All the guys laugh, but how did the women in the kitchen react? Talk about his car instead, and respect his relationship. Does Sleazy Stan the barman need a private chat about his behaviour? Hopefully he’ll get the message and clean up or move on.
  • Be real. Acknowledge that you’re uncomfortable talking about this, but it’s in the news and you know people may have questions. Renew your ‘my door is always open for a private talk’ promise – provide your email and phone number. Is there a rumour you should act on, and reach out to someone vulnerable?
  • Explain that managers have a special responsibility. Meet separately and explain their duty of care, and how they should handle infractions. Get them to listen to this podcast interview on Reducing Sexual Harassment Risks with lawyer Richard Edwards and HR specialist Natasha Hawker. This is hard but necessary work for all managers to do – role-play some situations and promise backup when they need to handle a situation.
  • Get rid of questionable products from your menu: how can we have a serious discussion about this and still sell ‘Blow Job’ and ‘Sex on the Beach’ cocktails? Delete them, and no-one will notice.
  • Be friendly, but not friends with your staff. This is a challenging one – so many hospitality businesses are run like a big, unruly family, with all the usual banter, joking and excuses. Get real – your staff already have friends and family of their own – as owner or manager, they want you to be kind and friendly, but they’re not after friends who may be twice their age.
  • Cut the swearing. It’s ironical that the F, C and Sh words are now used freely on TV,  but I’m suggesting they should be eliminated from daily use by staff, managers and owners. There are other ways to express your anger and frustration. When you clean this up, there’s an improvement in the emotional tone and the way people relate to each other. A challenging one!
  • Protect your staff from customer harassment. Alcohol changes everyone’s behaviour, and young attractive female and male staff are often groped or ‘hit on’ by customers. It’s not OK. Give staff a method to alert their manager if they feel threatened, and be ready to politely but firmly ask those customers to leave. Another challenging situation, upending decades of tolerated behaviour in bars and everywhere alcohol is served.
  • Make the Christmas party a test for future socialising. Many restaurants have their party in January, after the rush. It’s good for everyone to relax and let their hair down, but the same rules apply about behaviour, intoxication and harassment.
  • That’s my quick list – any other actions you have taken? Drop them into the Comments below, or on the Ken Burgin Facebook page…

Help Staff with Smoking, Drinking, Gambling and Stress Problems…

We’re preparing for RUOK? Day on 14 September, and sharing some podcasts on handling addictions and stress. Pass them on to a friend who’d appreciate some help, or make time to listen by clicking on the link below. You can find all the Profitable Hospitality on the Podcast app on your iPhone, or the Soundcloud app on your Android.

Preparing for RU OK? Day on Thursday 14th September

The momentum for RU OK? Day is growing each year, and with the recent focus on mental health in the hospitality industry, particularly with chefs, we will be highlighting the issues and suggested solutions over the next few weeks. And it’s not just for one day – the RU OK? themes are important all the year round.

The action steps are simple: Ask, Listen, Encourage Action, Check In. This is working on the individual level, and there are also many things that can be done in the workplace to make it less stressful and more supportive.

Here are some Profitable Hospitality podcasts that may be helpful for you or your staff – listening to something privately can be a great first step…

50 Things You Can Control Right Now…

If you turn on the news, it’s easy to feel helpless and despondent. Or maybe things at home aren’t going in the best direction.

This great list reminds us of all the things that we CAN control right now – here are a few that jumped out for me:

Whether you listen or wait to talk (I’m working on that…)
The type of food you eat.
How much time you spend trying to convince people you’re right.
How clean or uncluttered you keep your space.
How much information you get before you make a decision.
How many negative articles you read.
Which commitments you keep or cancel.

Check the list and share with friends and family…