Lure of bonuses could enthuse waiters

Last updated 08:22 08/05/2013

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The hospitality industry has mixed views about how to improve service, upskill staff and retain skilled employees.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment says cafe, restaurant and bar manager jobs are among positions for which New Zealand has an immediate skills shortage, while chefs are listed on the long-term skills shortage list.

The Dominion Post reported yesterday that the sector was struggling to find skilled staff, paying $14 to $15 an hour for wait staff.

Hospitality consultant James O'Connell believes cafe workers and wait staff should be paid a low base salary then commission for sales made.

"We need to create staff who feel like they are almost self-employed, loaning themselves to the business to make as much money as they can."

Lone Star Dunedin co-owner Nick Nilsen said sales rose 15 per cent after he started paying staff around minimum wage, plus an extra 1 per cent if their customers ordered a certain amount.

Whether targets were met was calculated on the total spend, so staff were encouraged to sell entrees, desserts and side dishes.

But Tim Clarke, marketing manager for Wellington bar and restaurant Southern Cross, believed incentivising floor staff would be unfair to cleaners, kitchen staff and office workers who contributed to the business's success.

The industry needed to encourage training, he said, to make people aware it was a career, not just a time-filler.

Jeremy Smith, managing director of bar owner Trinity Group, said turnover targets and bonuses had mixed success.

"It doesn't always work. Some people are not as motivated by money."


"You cannot just employ anyone, customer service and choosing cooking as a career is demanding and a great deal of skill is required. It's hard to find the skilled staff with the same passion as yourself to keep your business moving forward." - Sweetsugar, comment

"I've done my time in hospo, and the pay is crap and the hours are crappier. I can't imagine why anyone would see it as a career." - Mel Craig,

"As a restaurant manager I get paid well, but have worked for it. The owners are not making huge profits but have genuine love for the industry. it's not all doom and gloom out there!" - Deep Purple,

"The problem is that New Zealand hospitality workers confuse "service" with "subservience". Until this is addressed, professionalism will continue to elude the industry." - Aurora1840,

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- The Dominion Post


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