Have your say on our top three discussions of the day.
The new group functionality enables users of the site to start and participate in online forums, allowing them to have meaningful dialogue with colleagues, customers and industry peers. Here are the three subjects engaging our users this week:
1. Is the National Living Wage unaffordable?
The impact of the National Living Wage is still dividing opinion in the Should hospitality introduce the Living Wage? group.
An initial post asked if the Living Wage could potentially put some small companies out of business and users were quick to comment.
Soran Marshall, PA at the Cavalry and Guards Club, suggested that the wage increase would "hit small business very hard, especially those not charging five-star prices".
Chris Clifford, director at Blunsdon House hotel, said: "The margins are pretty slim now particularly on food and beverage. The recession drove up costs and deflated the market. This wage increase should be welcome, [but] I fear it will just be inflationary."
Peter Davies, registered on TheCaterer.com as an employment tax director at WMT Chartered Accountants, pointed out that for some, the new National Living Wage (NLW) would mean employees could see an 11% pay rise in six months. "That is some increase!" he said. "I know that for many in London things are going well…but in the provinces it still seems more patchy, and to be increasing wages at that rate is simply unaffordable for many."
Edna Rylands, general manager at the Ramada Plaza Southport hotel, said: "The implications are massive, even in larger hospitality operations. How can we increase the wage of those over 25 and tell their 21-24 year old colleagues "sorry not you"?. In effect that could add 10% to a business payroll overnight. Ouch!"
2. Is it worth trying to trip up TripAdvisor?
So far, the TripAdvisor group is pretty unanimous on this topic, after a post asked if an Italian newspaper was justified in creating a fake restaurant which then shot to the top of the town's rankings. The newspaper attempted the exercise on purpose to test TripAdvisor's ability to detect fake reviews. The review site itself called the experiment "meaningless".
And so far, our group users agree, with Giovanna Fusco, a kitchen manager and head chef at Indeep, dismissing the experiment completely. She said: "That is a nice idea, but since it's possible to buy 100 reviews (good for you, or bad for a competitor, or mixed) for 35 euros (£25), I think it should be totally ignored."
3. Would a four-day week or "stay interviews" solve hospitality's recruitment crisis?
A big question still waiting to be answered on the Groups is whether significantly changing the working week would have an impact on staff morale, or improve recruitment rates.
The Caterer editor Amanda Afiya pointed out that the Michelin-starred Nottingham site Restaurant Sat Bains had reduced its working week to four days to improve staff working conditions. We asked if your company would consider doing the same.
We also wondered if companies would achieve better results from staff if they conducted "stay interviews" rather than exit interviews. Would this stop employees leaving, and address any concerns they might have before they have already announced their leave (and therefore have one foot out the door)?
Does your business conduct "stay interviews", or work a four-day week? Do you think this would help, especially in this era of difficult recruitment? Whether you're an HR professional or not, we'd love to hear from you on this. JoinTheCaterer.comand get involved with theRecruiting Staff groupto have your say.
But wait, there's more! Check out our other groups for a chance to discuss a host of important hospitality issues. Right now there's a group on the hot topic of lowering VAT, and one on rumours about the Michelin Guide 2016…
Register now atTheCaterer.comand join the discussions.