“True hospitality is marked by an open response to the dignity of each and every person” Henri Nouwen

My first hospitality job was making fries at McDonalds. I was fortunate to work for Camberwell (Boroondara’s) Brian McMaster – a McDonalds franchise legend with AAA ratings coming out of his nose. We learned how to clean, be efficient and emulate hospitality like we were the original MacDonalds brothers from 1984. It was a privilege and an honour. And then I was fired.

The reality is that hospitality is an ugly business. Chefs can swear at you, not feed you to manipulate you. Employers can harass, not pay, and discriminate against you, and that all on a daily basis. Its not all the employers’ fault. It is a complex combination of the following:

  • The recent increase in service-based economics; from manufacturing. Australia is a service and ideas economy (Phillip Kingston)
  • There is less protection for workers
  • Hungry, caffeine lacking people can be mean.
  • Transient workers due to the above.

The reason I am honest about being fired from McDonalds is that it’s just not a big problem. I was fourteen years old and have since worked for scores of employers, been esteemed and valued in some workplaces where I have been promoted and equipped for years at a time, and been self employed.

If you maintain your focus on hospitality – serving others – you will do well.

The businesses I have worked for, mentored, trained and managed have done when, consistently, profitably well, when they look after their customers. Wait times need to be low, orders need to be remembered, regulars need to be rewarded and staff need to be happy.

Here a great article on “Becoming a Customer Again” by Jim Seven of UK

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