The poster in a local bus was bright and appealing, urging young men looking for a trade to check BecomeABricklayer.com.au. Looked good - maybe some lessons for the cookery trade? Nope, just a load of dense text from a funding submission, and most pages promising content 'coming soon'. Not exactly what a 17 year old lad would be bothered with - where's the MySpace page?
In spite of spending a lot of time in my office at a computer, I'm constantly drawn back to the joy of teaching and training (difference?). Leading a bunch of slightly jaded chefs/managers/owners to find new inspiration and insight into things urgent for them - usually recruitment, cost control and marketing. Often times it's reconnecting them with information they had but stopped using, or combining it in a different way.
Helping them be smarter with numbers (hey, even getting them to use a calculator the right way up!) is a part I love the most - how to do a cost % or, my total favourite, actually understanding the concept of Breakeven Point.
Dan Meyer, secondary maths teacher is a constant inspiration, with his daily outpouring of blog entries and smart tactics to engage students with a 'hard' subject. Here's his recent letter to a new teacher. Most readers here are not teaching maths, but add him to your reading list for some left-field stimulation.
Many people will see themselves, their competitors or their boss in Channel 9's new reality TV show The Chopping Block.
It's started out well - short, sharp and dramatic, and is obviously cheap to produce so if it rates well, should continue. We're keeping track of progress on the Chopping Block page and there's a Facebook Group to join: Chopping Block Fans & Critics.
Characters so far include:
Next week's episode has two Italian restaurants - more drama and cliches...
Short, sharp and very targeted, as every ad should be (and actually quite easy to create).
*why not be one of the first?
The anonymous waiter at WaiterRant is working at a new restaurant, and his latest entry reports on the problem of customers who forget what they ordered.
Most blog reports of restaurant life are a boring moan/whine/bitch about how bad/stupid/incompetent most staff and owners are. This guy presents it all with a wink and a laugh, and it makes for great reading!
I was told about the 2-4-6-8 costing method the other day. I still don't understand it, and the reason I was there listening was because of chronic cost-control problems in the kitchen. Yet another reminder to never assume your key staff can divide or multiply, let along work out %%%.
It made me think of this:
There's nothing like a trade fair for complete immersion in the industry, and the Fine Food Show has been on in Sydney for most of the past week - it's big, exciting and exhausting. Catching up with friends and customers, lots of new equipment to oggle at, new products to taste and try, lots of stories...and lots of sales from our stand!
I caught up with Kate, a teacher who bought the Safety Posters for her classrooms a while back. Her hospitality class is booming, with 80 students currently, of whom a dozen, she said, would be excellent apprentices right now.
We discussed staff shortages and I inquired whether any of the local clubs or restaurants were approaching her for staff, or had a relationship with the school. Nope, not one. If they do take on a student for a week of work experience, they're usually stuck out the back peeling potatoes - just the thing to turn them off the industry. Dumb!
So why don't we see more made of this in recruitment for rural and regional areas? Not shouting 'cheap rent and land!', but highlighting 'affordable rent', 'no long drive to work' or 'yes, you can afford to buy your own home'.
Even saying 'a great place for family and friends' doesn't exclude anyone.
There are applicants who would consider moving to a new location for a better job and lifestyle: they need to be cultivated. These future-oriented people are the very ones we hunger to employ.
But if we assume they know all the good stuff and don't bother to tell them, the phone is unlikely to ring. Sell the job and the location.