When does a Hong Kong restaurant open its doors?
Posted October 05, 2018 07:16:57Hong Kong restaurant owners are increasingly relying on foreign workers to help them fill orders and cook their menus.
At a time when more than half of the population is under 25, the Hong Kong restaurants are increasingly catering to a younger generation who are keen to explore new cuisines and the hospitality industry.
New restaurant owners say they are often short-staffed, understaffed and are struggling to pay their staff properly.
The Hong Kong Restaurants Association (HKRA) is pushing for reforms, which would make it easier for the government to regulate restaurants.
“We have no choice but to rely on foreign chefs and waiters, as well as other suppliers, to make the menu.
It is our job to ensure that the menu is good, that the food is fresh and that the staff is happy,” said Paul Chan, the HKRA’s director of business operations.
But while many restaurateurs are already hiring foreigners to serve their food, there are many who say they struggle to attract customers due to a lack of training.
Some restaurants, such as the famed Cantonese restaurant in the heart of the city, are using foreign workers who have not yet completed the required training, while some restaurants, like the Chinese-owned restaurant at Hong Kong International Airport, have been forced to hire Chinese chefs and other helpers.
Many of the restaurants are not only relying on overseas workers but also using them to staff their restaurants, said the head of the Hong Kowloon branch of the Federation of Chinese Restaurant Associations, who did not want to be named.
In the case of Cantoneser restaurant Cantonesen Cantones, where the majority of the restaurant’s business comes from outside the country, its owners say the foreign workers are often unpaid, even though they are required to be paid by the government.
Cantonese Cantonesens boss, Peter Cantoneseng, said he was shocked when he found out that he was hiring foreign workers for the restaurant, even when he was a manager in the business.
He said: “I had no idea that I was doing it, I am a very simple man, I do not want a huge mess.
I had to be very careful, not to take anything from the foreign staff, they should work as a team.” “
When I came here, I was only one of the employees.
I had to be very careful, not to take anything from the foreign staff, they should work as a team.”
But the Cantoneses boss is not the only one who is finding it difficult to recruit foreign workers.
According to the HKRI, there were almost 300,000 people aged between 18 and 24 in Hong Kong at the end of August.
Of those, there is no official data for how many people have arrived from abroad, so the numbers are unknown.
While most restaurants in Hong Kong use foreigners to make their menus, some are still relying on their own cooks and waitresses.
Chong Wai-yung, who owns a Chinese restaurant in Hong Kok, said she does not want the foreigners to take the place of her staff, because she is not prepared to pay them properly.
“I am not sure if they are good cooks, I know that we are not the best, but I don’t want to make a mess,” she said.
She said her staff was understaffing, with only about 25% of the staff being foreigners.
There is also concern that some restaurants will be forced to employ foreign workers, given that the HKPR says the number of foreign visitors is set to double in the next five years.
One of the main reasons for this, said Ms Chow, is that foreign workers have been brought to the city for training and development programmes, so it is likely that the number will grow.
Another problem is that many restaurants are only accepting foreign workers because the Government has not set a minimum wage for foreign workers as part of the reforms, so they cannot afford to pay the minimum wage.
Despite these challenges, many Hong Kong restaurateurs say they do not think the government is doing enough to regulate the industry.
“They are still doing very little.
I think they are not doing enough.
We need to get them on the right track.
It could be the first time in history that Hong Kong has opened its restaurants,” said Mr Chan.
Hong Kong Restaurant Association president, Simon Chan, said it was not just about attracting tourists, but also to attract foreign workers and to help the restaurant industry grow.
“We are still going to need a lot of foreign workers in the future, so we need to develop the industry as well.
We have to keep the demand in Hong kong high and make sure that the restaurants grow as well,” he said