Quit whining, suck it up and drive on!

Placeholder ImageI get it. There are just some days that will bring out the beast in you. It could be those days when you had a late night with a friend but still needed to get up and go to work. It could be one of those days when you had a fight about all things stupid. Some days when we don’t know what day it is because we feel like it is the same as the others. Or one of those worst days when it feels like we are stuck in a nightmare.

OK, everyone has one of those days. But what I do not understand is when someone moans, complains, and slags their jobs and colleagues constantly.

One regular customer starts her day with what hard day she is going to have and must get the strongest coffee. She continues on with how stupid her boss is and has no clue of running a business. Then followed by how hard she works and her colleagues are just waste of space. Believe me, we are so lucky her orders are to take away. I could just imagine what fun she is to work with. But looking back when I used to work in the hotel/restaurant, there was this person that came in to work always moaning about how tired she was even before she started her shift and how many big tasks she must accomplish everyday. No matter how hard you tried to top her stories of difficulty, she always came out victorious for having the worst day ever. Now, I am not saying women moans a lot more than men (no pun intended). It just so happen that these two women stand out in my mind. I am sure there are plenty of stories when men bitch about all things too. I mean, we discovered man flu didn’t we? So this is about people not being happy with their jobs and constantly complaining about the people they work with. But my question is…why do they keep on doing it? Why do they still come to work and make us all miserable? I get that we all need money so we need to work. Fair enough. But to be miserable everyday – day in day out, is just unacceptable.

I really do not know if the complaining is just to draw attention to themselves and implant things in our minds what tasks they can do and they should be paid more than others? Or could it be they just need some hugs and kisses to make all misery go away? Remember, there is always a choice. Being miserable and negative at work is not acceptable. If you are not happy you can find another job and move to another island. But somehow I feel that this kind of people will be the same anywhere they go. Unless, they change their attitude towards work and colleagues. They change their perception of life. Otherwise negativity will consume them and destroy everything around them including their friends and family. Because to these people, nothing is good enough, nobody is good enough and therefore life is miserable.

So, in the end where are we on this issue? If you have a moaner in your team or at home, advise them kindly and positively to take a long holiday and preferable not to come back. Or, tell them,” quit whining, suck it up and drive on!”




The dreaded topic – PAY

Placeholder ImageBusiness owners, senior managers and whoever wants to run successful businesses…pay your hard-working, fantastic people well!

How much? I will tell you. Now we can just Google anything. Type in a job title on your computer and add the place of your work and shazam! You got the information! Also, there is the “imposed” national minimum wage. So nothing is difficult about just following what the minimum wage thrust upon us. Like it states – minimum not maximum. So everyone just gives the minimum. Very convenient isn’t it? But the big question is…is the minimum wage or what Google search comes up with shows the real representation of your hard work? Pay is defined as: money due for work done. Is the minimum wage really the going on rate for your hard work? For supervisors, assistant managers and managers, does the Google search engine really gives justice to your commitment to the job? Your unquestionable honesty and dedication? How about those extra hours you put in just to make sure your team is ok and business is doing well? But how about those missed out family gatherings and celebrations due to the “unavoidable work”?

The funny and sad thing is, I have witnessed many cases when one great manager is paid less than a crap manager for the same or similar job. How is this possible when we stated that there is a search engine, a sort of market value marker to follow that helps us level all salary and wages to fair and equal status? You would think that is the case isn’t?  Like everyone will get same salary for the same job. No, we are wrong. It seems you can make your employer raise or decrease your salary rate depending on how good you are in haggling/negotiating. Or how desperate the company or business is to fill that key position. So this means, with all that information out there that says this is the salary for that kind of job in that kind of place is just full of nonsense.

The reality is, asking for the right salary for you is like playing poker. Even if you are rubbish manager/team member but knows how to “read the desperate cards” of your employer, you can still win big time compared to the hard-working, dedicated and honest manager/team member who does not “play poker” at all. Why can’t it be just simple? Pay the good people good salary and the great people great salary. Of course these people need to prove their worth. A year or two will do it. You would know already if its worth to invest good money to that one who makes your business work well and gives you the profit you desire. Dont wait for these people to beg for a raise. If you wait too long you might lose them and you will end up with the burden of training cost again and again and still get those rubbish ones.

But how do we weed out the bad from the good? From my experience, I would check how long this candidate stays in his/her present or past jobs. Anyone who stays longer than 3 years in a job for me is worth offering more than the base entry-level salary. Why? Because these people show stamina, dedication, stability, dependability, sense of loyalty, ability to commit to progress, or withstand changes/challenges of the times. These are the people we need even they don’t know how to play “poker”.

To sum it all up and answer the question, how much do we pay great people? My answer is in the form of a question…how much does your business means to you?

Remember, great people makes great businesses.


How do we really hire people for the job?

After all these years in the hospitality and catering industry, I am still puzzled as to how we really hire people. Yes, yes, I know we have company procedures and all those recruitment baloney. But for those who have been long enough in the industry, let us be honest to ourselves – we really don’t have a clue. Because if we did, recruitment agencies will be out of business and we will have a perfect team at all times. Imagine that, no staff turnover.But in reality this is not the case and we all know it. Why? Because we are all still hiring.

Yes we advertise, we collect the CVs, we select the best possible candidate for the job based on their CV, set interviews, give interviews and finally do the trial shift and if lucky, second interview to finally get the job. And after all that rigorous selection process, within six months if lucky, we are back to square one looking again for a replacement.

What is it? What is that secret to finding the right people? Obviously interviews will never be the true gauge in finding the best people. Unless you are an expert mind reader, fortune-teller, or accomplished torturer to get the truth out of people, interviews can only get you scratching the surface. All the candidate needs to do is to be brilliant for two hours and he/she is laughing to the bank doing bare minimum.

Having stated the facts above, it may also be the case of finding that true good ones but we failed to support them. They got overwhelmed and lost it.

So where are we on finding the right people for our businesses? From my experience, it is like gold panning. We sift and sift and continue to sift that mud and sand until we get that one tiny tiny gold spec to collect and preciously keep. Gold panning is a simple process for finding gold. But it takes a lot of patience, skills, and a bit of luck.

This subject is still my mission. An open case that we still need to solve. I want to find the secret formula to finding great people. But until then, we just keep panning for that tiny gold.

If you know…share.


To those who look down on us, think again.

When a doctor attends to your health, you see the doctor as a respected professional who takes care of you. When an architect builds your homes, you see him/her as the genius that made your dream house come true and you are happy. When a lawyer speaks with you with such great expertise on the laws we are so impressed. When a middle age man/woman serves you coffee and sandwiches, what do you see? What do you think of this person? Or have you not even noticed?

Some of us start work as early as 4am. This is so because we want to make all products fresh and good for you. We spent long hours to make sure your business conference run smoothly. We took a great deal of effort to understand how to make the best food and drink that you can have.

By providing you with quality good food, have we not looked after your health like the doctors? By making sure your business conferences/meetings run smoothly without any distractions, have we not contributed to your dreams of success like the architect? When you ask how we make the best dish you have ever tasted, do we not speak of expertise like the lawyers we admire?

Why do you still look down on us or even worst, do not see us? If you think hard, we have been a part of your life in some ways or another – your birthday, your wedding, your first job, celebrating your promotions, wedding anniversary, the birth of your first child, the everyday coffee you take with a friend…

You had seen the doctor few times. You asked the architect once to build your home. Maybe not even spoke to a lawyer but still admire how intelligent they are. We have been with you almost everyday.

I hope the next time we meet again, you can see a friend that had been with you all these years.


The ugly truth about hospitality

Some people think hospitality is the worst industry to be in. Sometimes I do too. They view it like being trapped in a life of servitude. God knows how many times we say, “yes sir, yes mam, sorry sir, sorry mam” during our undefined daily working hours. How we must apologise for everything and anything. How we always fail to meet their ever-growing expectations. And how we must stretch to give into their every unreasonable requests. On top of this, let us just get it out there…the pay sucks! The industry is the lowest paid industry across the nation. No wonder majority who works in this industry are foreigners. Just because no local will work in these conditions so foreigners will have to make do even not able to speak a word of English. And yet, locals still has the guts to say that foreigners are taking their jobs! What?! Nobody wants this job except foreigners, middle-aged has been, lazy benefit sucking individuals who are obligated to at least do 16 hours work per week to get benefits (and do bare minimum at work) or students who are looking for work experience. Even when we get few candidates in for training, after few weeks or months they are gone and it all starts all over again. Honestly, the hiring advertisement we placed online and on the window stayed their for months without a hint of any positive results. If you have an HR office, I bet it is either busy recruiting again and again because nobody stays or the office is so quiet because no one is applying.This is the truest reflection of how this industry is viewed by outsiders. And this is the plain ugly truth.

But why some people stay and do well in this industry? Because believe it or not, some people are passionate about this job and actually loves it. Yes loves it despite of all the ugly truth behind it. However, they are very few and like endangered species they should be taken cared of and protected.

I could never forget when this business owner asked me, “how can we bottle great culture, excellent work ethics and amazing passion?” so that we can distribute this to all of our businesses and make them work well.This is why I am here…this is my mission. Finding the great ingredients to distribute them to make great people and build great businesses.

Until then…


Things that happen in the catering/hospitality industry

  • Lazy and uncaring managers leaving staff on their own to do all the work without any support, supervision or proper instructions/training. This kind of managers will say it is a kind of management style called “delegation”. Such managers pretend doing back office jobs during busy hours until it becomes quiet then they come out to “check on things” as if he/she cares. Mind you, the staff knows. They are not stupid like these managers think, so managers of this sort should think again. These kind of managers have no clue how the business is run and in effect demotivates the team and crashes the business down. Sad that this is happening and to those business owners/hotel GM/ HR (another clueless managers as well sometimes) who hired such managers in the restaurant, bar or cafe, we hope you know your key performance indicators to realised not too late that you hired an expensive idiot or con artist. We have seen so many of these kind of managers over the span of our careers that it is really another reason why this industry is going down the drain and good team members leave. In the future and for the success of businesses,always check your KPIs and the staff turnover because all these point to the performance of the manager in charge. And if the KPIs and staff doing well, please, I beg you please, reward these managers as they are very rare now.
  • Hotels,restaurant chains and Cafes only hire managers of the same nationality…go figure.How they get away with this racism? I do not know.
  • HR manager so uptight about uniform standard that a scarf that was off 2 inches from the left is already unacceptable. If this is not funny to you…better get tested.
  • Staff greets managers “good morning, good afternoon” and does not respond back and ignores them totally. No managers should be this busy or preoccupied not to give same courtesy to their team members.
  • Managers who think bullying is a management style.
  • Manager took store Hoover home thinking he/she could get away with it. Funny he/she knows there is CCTV…
  • Now I am leaving this topic here so that you all may add in your own funny, sad and insane experiences on the comments below. I am sure you all have lots to share.

The Challenges we face in the hospitality/catering industry

Why nobody wants to work in this industry anymore?

Well, apart from the very low pay, there is also the unsociable long hours, split shifts, stressful work environment, unreasonable demands of the management/customers, high staff turnover, unmotivated team due to lack of teamwork and high percentage of staff absences, lack of clear communication, poor training, very poor recognition and incentive programs, harsh penalties or not strong enough disciplinary measures for underperformance and undependable zero hour contracts are just the very few that comes to mind.

But this can not go on like this. There must be  way we can reverse the downward spiral of this industry. How can we make it better for the people who still believe and hope that one day someone will figure out the formula to better this industry?

To me, I think we must begin how we perceive this industry and the people working behind it.How we categorise the people who work in this industry should change. Do you know that we are classed as unskilled/semi-skilled workers? Which means:

Unskilled labor is a segment of the workforce associated with a limited skill set or minimal economic value for the work performed. Unskilled labor is generally characterized by a lower educational attainment, such as a high school diploma, or lack thereof, and typically results in smaller wages.

I totally disagree with the definition and how our industry workers are classed as. The fact that we can tolerate the insanely spoilt brat attitude of some customers and the delusional demands of some bosses already show a great high skill and ability to still smile and not to commit murder on a daily basis. By this fact alone, we should be paid more than doctors because we save more people for being stabbed or shot by just using our high degree of skills called control and professionalism.

We are much more than what people perceived us to be. We provide nourishment for you and your family with good food, make you smile on your worst days, help you celebrate success and the best times of your lives. We assist you in making your work easier, lighter and we provide you the best rest possible away from home. All these uses high level of skills, so much dedication, and genuine concern for others.

It is hard to be nice when people are not nice. It is difficult to work when the environment is not ideal, and heart breaking when our kindness are being abused and misunderstood as stupidity. To make this industry better, let us start from here…respect the people working in this industry and give them the best chance to make their standard of living better.

Until then…