I question the use of 'stolen' Wicker Basket recipes.
I am severely lactose intolerant and when Wicker Basket North began adding milk to the baked goods, I stopped buying bread there.
I now buy my bread and bagels at the 'fake' Wicker Basket. They, as Willy53 says, do have the look and taste of Wicker Basket North. But they DON'T use the Wicker Basket North recipes as there is no milk in most of the 'fake' baked goods.
Willy53, get over it. Your rewards are in the good work you do and the better lives you provide for the folks you train.
Thanks for your comments. In the restaurant industry turn over among lower skilled workers is common and in Kunming I understand many young people jump from job to job. Many of our workers have been with us from the very beginning (year 2000). We are happy when a worker is able to move onto a higher skilled job with a better future and higher pay check. Not everyone wants to make the hospitality industry their life work. What is happening and where I object is that some employers are so desperate for workers that they promise the moon to attract new workers, but often the worker is only seeing part of the picture. For example, the Wicker Basket is open six days a week and obeys the law regarding hours of work, overtime, vacations and by far exceeds the minimum wage for entry level labor workers. Some of our workers are tempted to leave because they are offered a larger gross montly pay check at the end of the month, not realizing they will be working extensive (and illegal) daily hours, seven days per week with less benefits and vacation time off and with no overtime paid. These workers are easily seduced and don't consider that the Wicker Baskets are paying above average hourly wages and are providing self-development training, life-skills, looking after their medical and dental nees and so on. Thousands of workers in Yunnan I believe have migrated to areas like Shenzhen for the promise of higher wages failing to account for the fact that they will also be facing a much higher costs of living and substandard working conditions. Returning to an old employer is hard for many Chinese. It is a matter of "face". Workers who have left us for the promised moon might realize that the Wicker Basket was a great place to work but feel too embarassed to ask for their job back. My response to why the North Wicker Basket is not serving dinner at this time goes beyond the loss of a few workers to competitors. There is a shortage of entry level job applicants in Kunming due to the fact that the government has been tearing down so much low-cost housing. Food and rent costs are leading the general inflation across China. It is a real challenge to keep customers happy with the prices and provide the wages necessary for our staff to have a decent standard of living. The Wicker Basket does not recruit workers from other employers even though we are in a position to wage and win a price war. Neither do we promise above average wages while covering up the fact that the worker will be putting in over 12 hours per day, seven days per week to get those wages. We owe our success to having great workers and wonderful customers. We are far from perfect but it is our goal to become the best business to work for in Kunming. If you are interested in what we are doing now to give back to the community please feel free to contact me: [email protected]
Employee turnover is a fact of life - although @willy53 may want to take a look at the Salvadors business model, to generate a form of employee loyalty and low churn. I similarly recognize the same core staff at Sals for several years - it's comforting to see stability in the staff. Employees aren't slaves and as @will53 notes - at their salary levels - the allure of a small increase in pay is irresistable to the unskilled - not to mention the pseudo-skilled. MANY high tech companies in China suffer from churn - the key is to incorporate that fact into your management plan and quality processes, to minimize the business and client impacts.
As for shopping at knock-off stores - while it's fun when they first open - the issue of food safety and food quality is foremost in my mind. Wicker Basket has been around for a LONG time. Although the risk and allure of lower quality or substandard food and ingredients always exists - WB has a fairly stable, loyal, and long-term clientele (like me) - the core staff are consistently polite and courteous - aside from Sals and maybe Flying Tigers Restaurant, this is definitely NOT the norm for China and definitely Kunming levels of service.
I know someone who does not like employing locals, due to their poor work ethic, lack of loyalty, and sense of entitltment. His best workers are, he says, from other cities in Yunnan. These workers from other cities (Qujing, Yuxi, Jinning) are glad of the opportunities offered them.
I know one place that has staff from Fuxing Hu villages who have been with them for years.
As another example, look at Salvadores. He has several long time, loyal, hard working staff from the same village in Lincang County.
Try advertising in the Minorities University, they will be graduating soon. They have English Majors who don't expect to be the next Bill Gates, or do a post-grad in MIT.
As my last post. An earlier post asked why the North Wicker Basket was not serving dinner or the salad bar. Well now you know. I appreciate all of what you have said and have learned from this dialogue. You would think after being in China for 15 years that I would be past the point of airing my frustrations about the way things are. (TIC) I am over it and you will hear me complain no more. Thanks for your input.