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Thu 12 Nov 2009 04:00 AM

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Slaves to the wage?

I came in for a fair bit of flak following my editor's comment last month - Put the fun into F&B, a light-hearted piece urging operators to inspire and encourage staff through the use of motivational measures in the workplace.

I came in for a fair bit of flak following my editor's comment last month - Put the fun into F&B, a light-hearted piece urging operators to inspire and encourage staff through the use of motivational measures in the workplace.

This comment piece was prompted by our August issue's F&B industry survey How happy are your F&B staff? in which 31% of respondents said their managers had taken no steps to boost morale and motivation in the workplace this year.

Fairly innocuous, you might think; but it has provoked a tidal-wave of emails into the Caterer Middle East inbox!

I don't think anyone disagreed with the idea of trying to create a happy workforce in principle - none of the emails I got actively extolled the virtues of having miserable staff, at any rate.

But the overwhelming point raised was that, by concentrating on additional proactive measures to boost employee happiness, we are simply tiptoeing around the elephant in the room - namely money.

I'm sure it won't surprise anyone to learn that getting comments ‘on the record' about the fairness or unfairness of salaries paid by employers in this region is not an easy task. No one wants to be the whistle-blower or the one pointing the finger - particularly when, in some cases, that finger may be directed towards their own employer.

So taking a more general view, you may recall that our online home,
HME.com

, ran its inaugural hospitality industry salary survey in May this year, in which almost 500 hospitality industry professionals took part.

Top earners were, predictably, executive chefs, taking home a salary of US $8696 per month. Standard chefs earned around $3125, while earnings for food service staff came in at around $2310. Bar staff were the lowest-paid in the field, with an average salary of $1250 per month.

In last issue's roundtable, the group of bar professionals taking part actually raised the issue of underpaid staff in one of the most candid on-record discussions I have heard during my time here - and I applaud them for that.

To the rest of you: do you think wages paid by Middle East F&B operators are a scandal? Or is it that money-hungry employees expect too much too soon?

To voice your opinions on this subject, please email our letters page:
caterermiddleeast@gmail.com

.

Lucy Taylor is the editor of Caterer Middle East.

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