Food safety is apparently the #1 concern of the Chinese people. Hopefully this will translate into a radical change in food safe practises. Change, in my opinion, happens fastest in the marketplace, when it becomes profitable to change. Consumers have incredible power, if they can demand changes as a large and unified group.
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.
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]
Thanks Dazzer. We are actively working on the staffing problem. On the good side, the present conditions will help us be better and wiser business people, produce better products and provide more for our workers. It is a temporary bump in the road. We are not alone
The Wicker Basket North Restaurant has temporarily discontinued serving dinner due to a shortage of staff. Unfortunately, other new comers in the local restaurant scene think it is ok to recruit workers from the Wicker Basket, rather than go through the hard work of recruiting and training people themselves. Though it is not illegal it is unethical. Another close competitor has opened a restaurant using almost the same Chinese name and is making baked goods from recipes stolen from the Wicker Basket. It is a compliment in once sense to the Wicker Basket, normal in China but has resulted in reduced business offerings from the Wicker Basket.
The hospitality industry is hard anywhere and especially in Kunming. I have been involved with some restaurants since 2000 and it is really hard to find and keep good staff. Workers leaving for gold in Guangzhou or local compeditors stealing your staff doesn't help the owners provide consistent top quality service. Those who complain about service should also consider the price they are paying for that service and not compare it with what you get in Western countries for a lot more money. I find many expats want Chinese prices and five star service. When is the last time you tipped a server? Over the years I have seen great but gradual improvements in Kunming. I hope you who give a hard review also give praise when it is deserved.