Aussie restaurants closing while UK restaurants remain strong… ever wondered why?

In the UK, the minimum wage is currently £7.20 per hour– it has only recently increased from £6.50 per hour. That is regardless of the day or hours you work.

So no penalty rates are putting those restaurants out of business. That averages out to be about $14.90 per hour. Doesn’t matter if you are full time, part time or casual. One rate of pay. Even on public holidays. I personally don’t remember being paid this wage in over 20 years in Australia.

So this equates to restaurant owners being able to have extra staff working to ensure guests have a wonderful experience, instead of a skeleton staff trying to service too many table or just as bad having to increase the cost of meals to cover the wages, without the cost of the food and perishables and the cost to keep a restaurant open.

The fact that those working in the hospitality industry here do so of their own accord. No-one forces them to work for the same rate as those working days or not on weekends

Just like in Australia – it suits some people to work on the weekends and nights for family reasons and to fit in with their own lifestyle.

Until Australia wakes up to the fact that they cannot continue to pay penalties and expect restaurants to remain open and viable without costing an arm and a leg, the restaurant and hospitality industry is doomed to failure in the long-term.

For those people who want to jump on the band wagon about penalty rates here is a quick example of the difference in wages paid. Monday night a public holiday in the UK the staff working were still paid £7.20 per hour as against an average casual being paid $50.79 per hour, as would have been the expected rate of pay in Queensland. I have based this on a ‘Level 2’, casual staff over 20 years of age.

I am not talking about abolishing penalty rates for those in emergency services, who have no choice but to be there for the general public and their safety.

But until Australia wakes up to the fact that in hospitality, it is a matter of choice for most people and therefore you need to rein in the wages before there are no more jobs in hospitality regardless of penalties or not.

The old saying – if you don’t like the heat, get out of the kitchen.

If you don’t want to work the hours, then find an alternative job in a different environment, there will always be others coming up behind you that will be happy to work. Some of those older Australians who want to work, because they need the money or simply because they like interaction with others will take on those jobs and in some cases do a better job as well, because it is not just about the money.

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