Restaurant, coffee shops fail to attract workers with minimum pay

By Tat Dat   October 6, 2022 | 10:08 pm PT
Restaurant, coffee shops fail to attract workers with minimum pay
Workers prepare beverages at a cafe in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo by VnExpress/Hong Chau
Food and beverage staff are being paid just around the minimum wage level, making recruitment difficult in major cities where job opportunities are many.

Most F&B businesses in Hanoi pay their part-time employees around VND21,000 ($0.88) per hour, according to a recent survey of F&B management platform iPOS.

For full-time employees, the common salary is around VND6 million per month, and at some businesses the figure is just around VND3 million, said the survey, which polled 48 businesses in different localities.

This is lower than the government mandated minimum salary level of VND22,500 in most districts of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

Another survey of recruitment platform Viec Lam Tot shows that F&B staff made on average VND7.9 million a month in the third quarter, lower than shippers and salesclerks.

The low salary makes it difficult for F&B businesses to recruit people.

A manager of a cafe in Thu Duc City, who asked not to be identified, said that the business struggles to recruit night shift workers with the VND20,000-22,000 salary it offers.

Since its launch in June, the cafe has had to replace two to five people in three different positions, he said.

Vu Thanh Hung, iPOS CEO, said there are several reasons why F&B businesses struggle to recruit workers.

The Covid-19 pandemic has made the sector less attractive after many staff were laid off from restaurants and hotels, he said.

The industrialization of many rural areas in Vietnam has prompted workers to stay and work at factories instead of going to big cities to find jobs, he added.

Hung said that some other jobs like shipping are more flexible and offer higher incomes.

Do Duy Thanh, director of consultancy and training at FNB Director, said the VND6 million salary that F&B workers get paid is not attractive enough to keep them around while there are other jobs with greater career prospects.

Serving at a restaurant includes several different responsibilities and these businesses rarely pay social insurance or offer a 13th month salary to their employees.

"Young people today are more connected on social media and there are many high paying jobs there," he said, citing examples of property brokers and insurance sellers.

It is time for the F&B sector to set up a new salary and benefit level for their staff and transition from paying just enough to make ends meet to paying competitive salaries, Thanh said.

Tran Minh Ngoc, CEO of Viec Lam Tot, said that to retain workers for a long time F&B businesses need to abandon their short-term mentality and offer their employees long-term benefits.

Businesses need to lay out specific career advancement progress and be transparent about bonuses and benefits; they also need to provide good staff training.

Hung said that some businesses now require a 5% service charge on each bill and use this money to pay for worker benefits.

"The transition needs three to five years to complete when the F&B sector has completely recovered from Covid-19 impacts."

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