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No incentive for effort

24 August 2006

I would like to take this opportunity to respond to the letter from J Kerr (Caterer, 17 August, page 15) and "Getting away with murder" (Caterer, 3 August, page 17).

I am a 21-year-old hospitality student and have been working in the hospitality industry since the age of 12. In my country of origin, I worked in hotels and bars as well as a contract catering business. I have always worked with a passion for the industry and chose to come to the UK to gain work experience and, ultimately, a qualification in hospitality management.

I have been working in the UK for three years and have worked for both a pub and a medium-sized hotel, owned by major hospitality companies. In both positions, I have been able to "climb the ladder" and filled various supervisory positions.

While I am happy in the position I am in now, I can very much relate to both letters. Currently, I fill a management position responsible for duty management, day-to-day management of the team, achieving GP targets, stock control and so on. However, I have never been paid for these responsibilities and remain one of the lowest-paid employees in the department. I work an average of 45 hours a week in addition to my study, and I am only paid for 40 hours a week. From time to time, I am rewarded with a lieu day.

As I am still a student, I see my work as a learning curve and feel that I gain very valuable experience. However, I also feel very undervalued, underpaid, and frustrated most of the time.

I don't think that my situation is novel and I consider this kind of attitude from hotel managers a serious threat to the industry's future. My only motivation to keep going is the prospect of a degree and experience, but for less fortunate people who are not able to study, what incentive is there?

I feel that maybe the industry as a whole needs to change its attitude, and a lot of managers should get more understanding of the day-to-day work of F&B staff and what motivates them. Until that attitude changes, hoteliers and managers should not be surprised that it is hard to get well-motivated staff, staff who are willing to go the important extra mile and, ultimately, staff who will stay.

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Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

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