The industry here and in the US is adaptable and resourceful—if only governments would recognise that.
Well there is one thing in our industry that is constant—the incredibly fast rate of change! When I was recently in the US at a Board Meeting of the National Restaurant Association, it was evident the Association in the US is in the midst of a dramatic overhaul. The consolidation of restaurant businesses, retracting labour market, reduced migration and increasing wage costs are all taking their toll. The US Association is responding with more intense and active advocacy and consolidation of services to respond to the demand from business. Our Association must do the same. In Australia, the Government has recognised that the industry is an important employer and suffers from low profitability. The decision by the Deputy Prime Minister in relation to the modern award shows that this Government is prepared to act to protect the jobs in the industry. The industry should be very grateful for this concession and recognise that it was only through the focussed efforts of the Association and the Government’s insight that headway has been made.
In both Australia and the US the restaurant, café and catering industry must remain focussed on the advocacy effort if it is ever to compete with the support that the auto, health care, telecommunications and mining industries receive.
President, Restaurant & Catering Australia