There’s no denying that hospitality is a fast-paced and ever-changing industry. However, none of these prior changes have been more sudden or drastic than those brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The good news is, as new restrictions are being lifted, many venues across Australia have already re-opened or will soon do so. As we prepare to re-enter our favourite gathering spots, a few questions remain: what will our outings look like? How have hospitality workers been faring amid the pandemic? Will there be job opportunities for international students in the industry post-COVID and how can you prepare yourself for such positions?
Let’s break down each of these questions to ensure a smooth re-integration into the world of hospitality.
What will the hospitality industry look like?
Hospitality outings are likely to look a little different from what they once did. The Federal Government’s three-step plan for re-opening the economy features rules on the number of patrons allowed in a venue at once and ensuring four square metres of physical distance per person.
Restaurant and Catering Australia has made a number of recommendations that hospitality venues across the country are likely to enforce, including separate doors for entrance and exit, encouraging patrons to make reservations, and no communal water areas or buffets. You can also expect to see hand sanitiser stations for guests and plexiglass protectors at tills. Businesses will also reserve the right to refuse entry to any patrons who display symptoms of COVID-19, such as coughing or fever.
How have hospitality workers fared during lockdown?
Though this has been a challenging time for hospitality workers, many are using this as an opportunity to use their skills to help others. Take these four alumni from Le Cordon Bleu Australia, who have demonstrated exceptional resilience and innovative kindness in the face of COVID-19.
Known on social media as @sincerelycake, alumna Jeong Min Sylvester has shared her beautiful patisseries with healthcare workers at a local hospital, helping to brighten the days of those on the front lines.
“Let’s support each other, anyway we can,” was the sentiment shared by alumnus Hyunwoo Kang, who walked the streets of Adelaide to hand-deliver 20 take away meals to the homeless (an especially vulnerable population amid the pandemic). As part of an entrepreneurial team, Hyunwoo co-owns four Adelaide-based restaurants, including Plus 82 Pocha, Plus 82 Lite and Plus 82 MiMi.
Owner of Jillian’s Cakery, Jillian Butler began diversifying her products following the outbreak, featuring cupcakes with inspirational messages to lift people’s spirits. Located in Surry Hills, NSW, Jillian’s Cakery is offering both take away and delivery options for Sydney locals with a sweet tooth.
In an effort to support local hospitality businesses during COVID-19, Sewoo Son, Head Chef and General Manager of General Chao in Sydney, has teamed up with online delivery service HospoMarket. Fostering a sense of community is a top priority for this duo, who are working together to deliver chef-made meals, meal kits, and convenience items to customer’s doors.
Will there be job opportunities?
Despite changes to the way the hospitality industry operates, Australia’s food and drink scene is starting to get back on its feet, and there are still opportunities for those looking for work. Many venues are currently seeking new employees to fill various positions including bartenders, baristas, and cooks.
You can consult employment sites like Seek.com.au, Indeed.com.au, and StillHiring to search for hospitality jobs in your region. You can also request to join Facebook hospitality groups for the city you live in, in which employers will post job vacancies. There are groups for most major cities, including Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, and Brisbane.
How can I prepare myself for these opportunities?
If you’re planning to return to hospitality – whether you’re already experienced, or a career-changer – why not explore study pathways that will give you a competitive edge in the new employment market?
A Master’s degree such as Le Cordon Bleu’s Master of International Hospitality Management is an internationally recognised degree that takes your employability to the next level, with subjects like hospitality design, strategic thinking, and leadership strategies. It could be your stepping stone back into the hospitality world and includes a six-month industry placement, giving you the chance to make industry connections and practise skills in a real-world setting.