Observations of a not so Frequent Traveller…

While I generally avoid travelling during the holiday season, there are times when I just can’t avoid being part of the herd, that winds its way through airport terminals, shopping malls or cafés with staff looking tired and worn out from the onslaught over the Christmas period.

My recent experience has me questioning the responsibility of parents while travelling. I observed a situation which clearly has to do with parenting at its worse.

A little girl, somewhere around the age of three years old, sitting in the window seat of a flying kangaroo flight, terrorizing the passengers in front and behind her seat, to the extent of pulling the hair of the lady in front.

When the lady turned around and gave the father the evil eye, he ignored her, and the child continued to play havoc, while the father watched a movie, paying no attention to his child and how her behaviour was affecting the passengers around him. So much for parenting. I feel sorry for the teacher that will have to put up with this child in years to come…

At that moment, I so wished I had a child that would pull the fathers hair and disrupt his movie…an eye for an eye, a pull for a pull…

In several restaurants, I regularly observed tired and untrained staff, just going through the motions of making an hourly wage.

While staff shortages are a general malady in the hospitality industry, some small cafes are really pushing the boundaries. While having breakfast with a friend at a quaint little café in a well-known port city, we both ordered breakfast. Being early, with a 7.30 arrival and the place nearly empty, we were told our smashed avocado would take some 30 minutes….there were three other guests in the café and one cook in the kitchen…

I speculated if the cook was waiting for the avocado to ripen, or for the Turkish bread to arrive from Istanbul or perhaps he was checking his Lotto numbers, so he didn’t have to be there any longer… When it did eventually arrive, it initially looked ok, until I noticed that the avocado was extremely overripe with lots of black spots, surreptitiously disguised with clumps of watercress, and the Turkish bread really had travelled from Istanbul, via economy class judging by how stale and hard it tasted.

The coffee, much to our delight and to their credit, was excellent and we ordered a few encores…

While we keep on talking about why businesses go belly up, we experienced the very reason why first hand. There was absolutely no concept of customer service and the girls at the till looked very sorry for themselves having to work. The Chef in the open kitchen visible from our table, seemed in no rush and had little interest in the food or his job.

I always wonder why people bother to actually open a place, just to blame everyone and everything else for their failure.

While there is still time to reboot after years of Covid, some operators might be able to get it right again in time… Until then, we will most likely see many more failures than feel good stories.

About the Author

Karl Faux is a veteran Hotelier and Managing Partner with Elite Search – a leading hospitality recruitment firm.

For more information about Karl and Elite Search visit http://www.elitesearch.com.au and The Elite Hotelier http://www.elitehotelier.net

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