The truth about working in top restaurants

The truth about working in top restaurants

Working in restaurants can come with perks for a diligent employee – tips, a strong sense of comradery and a lively working environment could potentially be a dream for a jovial HR Director.

Working in a high-end restaurant is more of a vocation than a job for many of the staff - who ride on the high-thrills and intense day-to-day activities their employment brings.

However, beneath the smiles and the laughs, a more sinister and worrying side of the hospitality industry has been uncovered. Part of HR is knowing and standing how problems with your staff affects the wider brand identity and productivity of your business. Many a notorious company has fallen foul of their staff body, through unreasonable working hours or low pay, only to feel the media repercussions for years to come.

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A recent article in The Guardian had employees anonymously submit instances that they had witnessed at work in the hospitality industry, with some surprising results.

'We’re told we have to wear make-up, as if it’s a first date' – Front of House at Private London Members’ Club

“I’ve been working here for eight months, but it feels much longer. It’s a glamorous place, full of celebrities, artists and creative people. It’s got a liberal, chilled-out image, but behind the scenes it’s quite different.

“On my first day, I was given a dress as my uniform. I asked if it was OK to wear black tights, because I had hairy legs, and they said, 'not really' and gave me a razor. It’s archaic and sexist to make us wear a fitted dress and see-through tights, and it’s really uncomfortable. We’re told we have to wear make-up as if it’s a first date, which is weird.

“I’ve overheard managers say that if money is missing from the tills at the end of the night, they take it out of the service charge pot. If a customer walks out without paying (which happens a lot), the waiter has to pay the full bill. I recently had to cover a £45 bill, which meant I earned under the minimum wage that shift.”

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