Opinion

We must have a look at the prices

Boris Tomic, Editor-in-Chief of dfv Hotel- und Gastromedien.
Salome Roessler
Boris Tomic, Editor-in-Chief of dfv Hotel- und Gastromedien.

Starting signal, beginning or opening - these are the synonyms in the dictionary for the word departure.

What is meant is always the same: A new start. A new beginning in the restaurantindustry is bitterly necessary. However, in relatively different areas and from very different perspectives.

For th esurvival of the hospitality industry, the start in the operational area is essential. Late, but thankfully not too late, hosts in Germany are allowed to host again. In inverse proportion, the number of open terraces is increasing to the decreasing number of corona cases. In almost all federal states, indoor gastronomy is also slowly taking off. Things are moving forward.

That's good for restaurant entrepreneurs' sales - but it's even better for cohesion in our society. Because going out to eat has a much bigger purpose than simply filling diners' stomachs. Restaurant visits act quite significantly as the glue of the current social fabric of a society. Going out, having a good time, eating well, and partying properly are good and effective spill valves, taking pressure off our meritocratic social fabric. Simple formula: Good food in good restaurants is good for all of us ....

But now to the further, in my view much more important, view of this restart announced above. Can the industry really afford to "carry on" in old patterns? I say no. Isn't it time to think about the triangular relationship of price - pay - performance? I say yes. When, if not after such a significant disruption as a pandemic, should the industry think about how to get and keep workers in the future? Today, the average hospitality worker in Germany earns around 28,000 euros - almost 15,000 euros less than the average for Germany as a whole.

Finding workers in the hospitality industry will be the biggest challenge in the coming years. During the pandemic, about 130,000 jobs subject to social security contributions disappeared from the industry. If you add students and other mini-jobbers, that number quickly reaches 300,000.

In the USA, the situation is already extremely aggravated. Restaurants remain closed on certain days due to a lack of employees. Big brand name restaurateurs are desperately seeking thousands of employees. Companies are offering $1000 bonuses at the start of the job, company cars included. If you can get anyone on board at all, US$25 an hour pay is no longer an exception. All while the price of the product, the food, remains relatively constant.

You don't have to be a mathematician to understand that this can't work in the long run. Germany is not yet so badly affected, but the trend is similar. The "business as usual" in the 6.99-euro and 9.90-euro price categories in restaurants or the 69-euro bargain in hotels only exacerbates the problem.

Therefore, it is now necessary to take the initiative and, self-confidently as an industry, to finally demand appropriate prices for good quality. It is the right time for this.

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