If you have ever had to the chance to visit the bustling waterfront areas of Pyrmont in Sydney, you will doubtlessly be familiar with the huge range of premium restaurants, cafes, bars and assorted other eateries. All of them offer a different style of cuisine and potentially a new dining experience, but all of them are very much the same as all the other hospitality venues across Australia in one big aspect; “Staff needed. Experience essential”. A big demand on skilled staff and the need for staff with at least a years experience at a minimum. It’s wonderful to see that quality staff are being sought after by these venues, but you do have to wonder where these experienced staff are coming from. With the majority of front of house positions being filled by young people and international students, often still in school or studying, how does one enter the industry? Where are these young people getting their 1-2 years of experience to secure these roles? The trouble here is that they’re not. It’s becoming exceedingly difficult to start at the entry level without work experience, and this is not necessarily restricted to just the hospitality industry.
Across the board entry level positions are demanding more and off those keen to make a start and those pursuing a job or career face the dilemma of how to get ‘a foot in the door’.
This is where the idea of the Training Restaurant steps in. There is no argument that theoretical training is essential, after all you would want your waiter to know they need to wash their hands before serving your food. Still there is no replacement for the value of ‘real’ practical training, learning through doing, being allowed to make mistakes and in turn to learn from them. Training Restaurants are there for just this purpose.
QC on the Harbour is one of two of QTHC’s dedicated Training Restaurants and over our 25 year history have certainly not been the only such facilities. Guests are constantly surprised when they come to QC on the Harbour for the first time; firstly because of the absolutely stunning waterfront location. Who expects a Training Restaurant to occupy premium waterfront territory, usually reserved for trendy bars and high end restaurants? In many peoples minds the words ‘Training Restaurant’ paint a picture of a classroom and makeshift kitchen set-up in some small out of the way location. That’s not what our students are being trained for though, at QC on the Harbour the location is as real as the fact that it’s an actual fully functioning restaurant. The idea that it’s manned by students, both front and back of house is an after thought once you take in the quality of the food, service and wonderful enthusiasm the students have for what they’re doing.
In the minds of guests who have discovered QC on the Harbour, the thought of a ‘hidden gem’ might occur, because truly that’s what it is. The food the students are presenting is in many instances much better (and certainly more affordable) than what you will get at other local establishments, but still the stigma around the term ‘Training Restaurant’ persists.
To debunk this stigma a little bit we have to raise the point that many of the students cooking and serving at a Training Restaurant, will have had more training and certainly more industry current training than their working counterparts. A student who has spent the last 3 weeks focusing on perfecting their table setting and service with an industry professional, will know why they put the bread plate to the left and why there are so many different sets of cutlery on the table. The only thing left for them to do at this point is to perfect and improve these skills through real life experience, which unfortunately is very difficult to gain in the real world.
Training Restaurants like our QC on the Harbour provide real experience, in a real restaurant environment. The safety net of trainers and the understanding that it’s a learning environment is always there behind the scenes, as mistakes can an inevitability will happen. In many ways the ability for a student or indeed any person, to be able to make a mistake and then learn from it in safety, is the most valuable kind of learning.
QC on the Harbour is incredibly proud to be a Training Restaurant and is now looking forward to celebrating its 1 year anniversary. So if you are in Sydney this month don’t forget to come and experience QC on the Harbour for yourself!
CHECK OUT QCONTHEHARBOUR.COM.AU