Voluntary tip to boost Buzz workers’ income
A voluntary 3 per cent gratuity was introduced at Buzz outlets to make the quick-serve hospitality sector a more attractive industry in which to work, the chain's owner said.
Holger Eiselt said he and the management of Buzz owners Take Five Ltd introduced the voluntary gratuity to supplement the income of their employees. The other option, he said, was to increase prices to cover a salary boost.
Mr Eiselt said it “would have been easier to do a quiet price increase” but he and the management team are committed to the new plan, which he says is “transparent to the staff and customer base”.
He added: “Change is always hard for people, a lot of people don't like it, but change is needed in the quick-serve industry to make it a more attractive place to work.
“We wanted quick-serve hospitality workers to have equal opportunities to earn a tip, which most customers are glad to leave.
“On social media, some people say ‘but it's not really a restaurant'. We agree — that's why the gratuity is much less than a full-service restaurant.
“We wanted to make Buzz a more attractive place to work for the local workforce, and for everyone else.”
Mr Eiselt said a “good percentage” of Buzz customers who ask about the voluntary charge are satisfied with the answers they receive, and “leave a cash tip on the side as well”.
Jason Berwick, general manager at Take Five, said the gratuity is split among Buzz staff as well as “the drivers who deliver the food, the bakers who bake the bread, the people who do the washing up, and the people in the commissary kitchen who make the salads”.
Meisha Easton, the company's human resources manager, said Take Five completed a market analysis a year ago, and concluded that staff are paid “within the market range” for a food and hospitality worker.
She declined to provide details, but said: “Their total compensation is quite good.”
Mr Eiselt said it was important to the company and its staff that Buzz outlets support the community with their long operating hours, particularly when other establishments are closed.
“We are the first restaurant to open after a big storm, we are open on holidays, open at Cup Match, we are open at 3am, we are open at 6.30am when you are on your way to the airport,” he says.
“Our philosophy, and our staff's philosophy, is to serve the community. We are always there — there is never a question of us being there for them.”