‘Had calculator out to see if they’d get more JobKeeper’
Queenslanders are turning their noses up at hospitality jobs with the industry experiencing a massive workforce shortage, despite the state having the highest unemployment rate in the country.
Restaurant and cafe owners claim they simply cannot find enough staff to fill roles, saying lucrative JobSeeker and Jobkeeper payments make it too enticing for workers to stay home.
Sunshine Coast restaurateur Tony Kelly, behind Rice Boi, Rice Boi Beer Garden, Spero, Market Bistro and Giddy Geisha said finding staff for this five venues had been a nightmare.
"I've had people sit in front of me with a calculator and work out the hours and whether they'd get paid more on Jobseeker," he said.
"People are getting paid too much to sit on the couch."
He believed the government financial initiatives had wiped out the casual market of people who previously worked 10 to 15 hours per week, as they could now earn the same or more without leaving the house.
Amelia Miletic, owner of One Fish Two Fish in Brisbane's Kangaroo Point, agreed.
"People either just don't want to work or actually, more accurately, only want to work five to eight hours a week so their Jobseeker isn't affected," she said. "No one is interested in working nights or weekends so that makes it pretty hard to run a restaurant."
Mrs Miletic said it had taken her eight months to fill a head chef role, and was still looking for waitstaff, with only two out of 10 people showing up for job interviews.
"I have a full-time job, two companies and on the weekend I work in the restaurant because there are no staff," she said.
The problem has only been exasperated by a lack of foreign workers and visa holders, who usually comprise up to 30 per cent of the casual hospitality workforce.
John Gambaro from Gambaro Seafood, Persone and Black Hide Steakhouses in Brisbane agreed, said the lack of overseas staff had made it incredibly difficult to fill positions at his restaurants.
"We haven't got those wonderful people who travel through, the working holiday visas from France and Italy that bring a flair," he said. "I think we'll have to employ on attitude and we'll teach you the rest."
Mrs Miletic agreed and said it wasn't feasible for restaurants to hire unskilled waitstaff
when they had to pay them almost $30 an hour on a Sunday with penalty rates, and almost $40 an hour for a person to train them.
"The mentality is going to have to be training from scratch if as an industry the shortages will ever improve," she said.
While the Queensland unemployment rate sits at 7.5 per cent, Restaurant and Catering Australia data shows that in some regions there is only one qualified applicant per 10 positions.
The Ghanem Group, behind Donna Chang, Blackbird Bar & Grill, Boom Boom Room Izakaya, Byblos and Lord of the Wings, has been struggling to recruit qualified staff locally for its venues, and have been forced to look interstate to fill roles.
The group has just hired accomplished Melbourne chef Tim Young, who has worked in Michelin starred restaurants in Europe and Victoria's prestigious fine diner Matilda 159 Domain, to join the fold.
"The decision was to have a consistent income with a great company and work for a close friend and colleague who I've respected for so long (in Ghanem Group executive chef Jake Nicolson) or continue to slog it out in Melbourne and have unreliable income and uncertainty, so the decision was pretty easy," Mr Young said of moving to Queensland.
"So far I've really enjoyed it … and we've not looked back at all from our move."
QUEENSLAND HOSPITALITY JOBS
Brewhouse Brisbane, Woolloongabba
Seeking casual bar/wait staff member with at least one year experience to work 15 to 30 hours per week. Must hold a current RSA.
Pay: $25-$29.99 per hour.
Industry Beans, Newstead
Looking for an experienced head barista, with at least two years experience, to run coffee program. Must have excellent latte art skills, be able to operate a variety of different machines across multiple brewing styles, with an RSA advantageous.
Bar, Wait and TAB Staff
Caxton Hotel, Petrie Terrace
Seeking casual bar and waitstaff with a minimum six months experience in a busy bar or restaurant. Must have RSA and RSG (or willingness to obtain one). Flexible work over seven day roster, with night and weekend work.
Kitchen Hand - all rounder assistant
Rosalie Gourmet Market, Rosalie
The position is casual and would offer 3-5 shifts a week with casual part-time hours and would include one weekend shift each week. Duties include cleaning, preparation of food for chefs, preparation of sandwiches, packing and labelling.
Pay: $20-$29.99 per hour
Bar manager , Sous chef, commis chef, chef de partie and waitstaff
Ghanem Group, Brisbane
The restaurant group is hiring various positions from a sous chef with a minimum 10 years experience to a bar manager with a strong knowledge of wine, cocktails and spirits with a RMLV.
I Heart Brownies, Maroochydore
This is a permanent part-time position, 15-20 hours per week, and applicants must be available to work weekdays, some weekend days and some public holidays. Must be a dessert lover and an experienced barista.
Giddy Geisha, Maroochydore
Seeking a highly motivated and experienced assistant manager with the potential for career progression and a flexible roster.
Casual Chefs & Breakfast Chef
Season Restaurant, Noosa
Looking for experienced casual and breakfast chefs with a commitment to learning and exceeding guest expectations.
Mamasan Kitchen + Bar, Broadbeach
A full-time position available for an experienced bar manager with minimum two years experience in a similar role. Must have high volume cocktail experience, good product knowledge and hold an RSA.
Assistant Restaurant Manager
Balboa Italian, Palm Beach
Looking for a committed professional with previous experience managing or supervising high-volume, high-end restaurants. This is a salaried position operating on a 5 day roster.
Bartender & All-Rounder
Granddad Jack's Craft Distillery, Miami
Join this award-winning gin distillery behind the bar. Must have an RSA and be 18-plus. Experience not necessary but helpful.
Must have a minimum of three years experience in busy venues, a good knowledge of cocktails and current RSA.
Cocktail Bar Attendant
Coco's Bar, Pullman, Cairns
Must have RSA, extensive knowledge of wine, beer and cocktails, barista skills and flexibility to work a seven-day rotating roster.
Originally published as 'Had a calculator out to see if they'd get more from JobKeeper'