I have had a a few unfortunate experiences lately in the Hobart cafe scene, where I seem to be unable to attract the attention of a waiter of legal age.
Not that there is anything wrong with a 15-year-old waiting tables. I was a spring chicken waitress myself once. And they have to start somewhere. But entire cafes staffed entirely by inexperienced children is starting to irritate me beyond all belief.
It makes me wonder, is there a lack of experienced wait-staff in Hobart, or are the venues in question employing only young ones in an effort to save a few pennies?
My good friend, a hospitality veteran who may or may not remember far back enough to recall being a 15-year-old waiter himself, was telling me the other day about a staff training session he witnessed at Zum in Salamanca. The 16-year-old manager was instructing a
15 -year-old waitress on her first day of the job, and teaching her how to make coffee. Now, I don't know about you, but I have my doubts as to why a successful business like Zum would even contemplate putting someone with no experience what-so-ever behind a coffee machine.
I also had an unfortunate experience over my breakfast at Plum cafe (also in Salamanca) this weekend. The poor army of teenagers emplyed there were really struggling to keep it together, although they were obviously trying their best. At least their barista, Rowan, is an experienced and highly regarded professional.
Waitressing is not rocket science, but it still requires a little guidance and training. I remember when I was 16 (yes yes, all those many years ago) when I first started waiting tables. I was terrified. I was the only waitress at this particular venue under the age of 21, and I did what I was told every single time, although I had no idea why. I was not swanning around with a bunch of other teenagers, having a bit of a chat, forgetting peoples orders and making a great many service faux-pas, because I had supervision. Work was not "fun" (well, not all the time).
These irritating little munchkins are hopefully going to get a good talking to by their managers. But somehow, I have my doubts.
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