Lets just take a moment to talk about tips, because hospitality staff in Australia should not expect to be tipped for just doing their job.
Pouring wine, suggesting menu items, clearing plates and offering dessert – these are basic expectations of your job. If you're traveling from overseas to work in hospitality or events in Australia, there are some important things you should consider when it comes to service expectations and the allure of tips.
In the US and Europe, wage costs are significantly lower than Australia, currently around $7.25 in the United States and £5.60 in the UK. Culturally, service is ingrained in the workforce and has been for decades. It’s rude and insensitive to not tip because:
- The service is outstanding (usually). If it isn't then it severely effects the livelihood of the people that provide it.
- Customers are aware of the minimum wage, and it’s naturally expected to tip anywhere from 10-18% of the total bill.
- The workforce is conditioned to serve to a high standard, and they use the opportunity to earn as much as they can.
Base rates of pay here in Australia are around $25 per hour Monday – Friday, and rising up to $36 per hour over the weekends if you are contracted to one of the many awards covered in the hospitality industry. With technology advancements in mobile payments, service staff can't rely on someone tipping and signing off. Instead staff need to evolve and actually provide an experience that is beyond F&B, and beyond what’s expected by their guests.
It’s absolutely not acceptable to stand over a guest while they are entering their details on the merchant terminal while you wait for them to complete the transaction or actually inviting your guests to tip, if you have not provided service that is beyond your actual job.
If you’re here in Australia on Working Holiday Visa (WHV) or you are an international student, you’ll clearly notice the dramatic increase in you're hourly rate compared to being back home. Here are some basic maths for you, working in any hospitality jobs in Australia you will be paid between 5 & 6 times your basic hourly rate in the US. On top of this, you have the opportunity to earn another 10% at least in gratuity per table, if you adopt your service culture from back home.
Regardless of what your manager or a travel blog tells you, people in Australia DO TIP, that is only if the service is deserving of it.
If you do adopt that service culture, then that on it’s own is sure to impress not only your manager, but your colleagues along the way. Most WHV holders are completely unaware that they hold this competitive advantage! Include some of the other characteristics typical in an exceeder, and your bound to make a positive impact and get noticed.
Drawing on 22 years personal experience and over 23,000 professional hours working across Sydney’s hospitality industry, these articles intend to inspire young candidates to join our industry and support aligned operators in building positive employment environments for the aspiring hospitality professional. Please feel free to contact me directly if you feel I could help or if you would like us to cover an important topic or industry matter.