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We’ve all heard the general perception, the Hospitality Industry is under-performing; a frightening percentage fail. The Industry is amongst the lowest paid and the least satisfying – attracting only transient employees and unprofessional attitudes.

Owners are left nursing a business loan, a home mortgage, car payments and a broken heart. It could be a mere PR problem if it wasn’t true … the real tragedy is that there is truth in the perception.    

‘Business’ on the other hand, has a different reputation. Business is ‘solid, limitless, fascinating’ and, more often than not, the occupation of our wealthiest Wanaka and Waiheke types who attract our ambitious youth hungry to learn and work in the systems that create success.

Of course many Business’s do fail, but a failed business selling baby clothes on the internet is not as obvious as a latest local hotspot selling Latte’s or bottles of Rocker to sip in the summer sun.

Hospitality is ‘front of house’ and usually involves enormous start-up costs, immediate staffing out-lay, and depressing feedback from TripAdvisor. It’s a particularly risky business. The online baby-clothes business can limp along quite happily for years a café, restaurant or bar must perform slickly or it’s a very fast track towards the financial guillotine.

Here is the problem with perception…

You don’t own or work IN a café or restaurant … you’re working ON a business … you aren’t in ‘hospitality’ exclusively – you are primarily in business, and the opportunities should be endless for owners and employees.

You are not a mere café owner you are in business. The perception shift is enormous. One view is limited and encourages an insular view of your work, and it will feel like work because your efforts are circular and repetitive. The other view as ‘business person’ annihilates the four walls of your café or restaurant and opens up a world of possibilities. You immediately understand that there is a lot more to understand, so much more to put into practice and so many more ways to attract and stimulate great employees.

The shift in perception from café owner’ to being in business is powerful. All of a sudden learning, reading and networking is expected; responsibility and presence in the community is customary; intelligence and status assumed.

Perhaps most importantly of all – perception of self changes; more in life becomes relevant to your work. Instead of being a small-minded thinker you become a broad-thinker. You, as the owner or manager become the sort of person others can learn from and the sort of person others want to work with – you begin to attract smart and ambitious employees that benefit enormously from their time with you.

Look up, it is a fascinating read. Not only are Hospitality JOBS amongst the lowest paid, but Hospitality is amongst the lowest paying INDUSTRIES. Forget ‘think big’ incentives – our industry has a history of thinking small. Why would a bright and animated 18 year-old go into Hospitality when they could do Nursing at a salary almost double the national average or specialise in Information Technology at almost triple the national salary? For this they make enormous sacrifices and gain back-breaking student loans.

Bright youth wont, often enough, seriously consider working in a café, BUT they will if it means learning how to build a successful business – that’s another story altogether.

Those who identify with being in business often act and think differently … we all need to shift our perception and start thinking and acting like we are part of something important and focus on all the rewarding skills and knowledge that being in business assumes. It’s not expected from a café owner but it should be.

19/01/2016 Mrs Hospitality