If there is one thing I did not expect to happen in the last 12 months, it was returning to Amsterdam. It was not that I was not prepared. What surprised me the most was that I was fortunate enough to make it work. Good friends make a difference in this cruel city.
In Amsterdam I rolled back into running and driving around Amsterdam to serve customers. Despite the the fact that the city is descending into chaos you can still survive there. This made me think about all my years in hospitality and catering. Since 2009 and 2010 a lot has changed.
My start was in the formal side of hospitality. Polished shoes, formal trousers and white shirts for days unless a black shirt was required. It was up to you to keep your gear in good condition. Additionally you had to memorise and execute routines as if you had been running tables in a past life.
Whatever you did not learn from your employer or agency you had to learn on location. Briefing or no briefing you would adapt and move. Mind you a phone was not allowed unless deemed necessary for the job or situation. Nowadays smart-phones are everywhere. Too many distractions if you ask me.
Fun was only to be had if you could stay a step ahead of your manager. I am serious, when the manager was out of instructions or remarks the job was easier. The more you could finish in less time, the more you could actually enjoy your coffee, break or conversation with your colleague. It is easily overlooked how that skill keeps operations running.
Recently I have read and noticed how experienced personnel is decreasing here and there. Well it makes sense to me. There are less demanding jobs available that pay more. Why put up with the stress and dirt if you can get more money for lighter work? Covid-19 measures really impact the job market.
Hospitality and catering in the coming years face many challenges. Depending on the situation some people might find their place and/or team and they thrive. That is not a given for most people. After leaving Vapiano (April 2020) I did not expect a return to running around in a restaurant.
I am back though and the future will be tough. I am already grateful when the coffee is decent. Count your blessings.