MONTREAL – A Five Guys downtown is offering $ 15 an hour plus a bonus for flipping burgers. Not to be outdone, a McDonald’s in Blainville is offering $ 17.50 plus a signing bonus for linemen on the night shift.
So when Au Pied de Cochon – an upscale restaurant as famous as it is in Montreal – advertised a cook position starting at $ 13.50 an hour, the reaction on social media was severe.
“Certainly a good reason, and not the only one, for a restaurant workforce shortage,” wrote one commentator. “What’s up with the foot? #wack. “
Billy Gogas, who runs the Lafayette casse-croute restaurant in the Village, responded by saying, “Does this guy want people to work for $ 13.50 an hour?” Yeah good luck! “
David Ferguson is a restaurant industry veteran who runs the upscale Gus Restaurant, a cozy Plateau bistro. He told CTV News that many people had started leaving the industry years ago and the pandemic had just accelerated and exposed a salary structure that was not keeping up.
On the help-seeking ad, he said, “It’s not just a restaurant that does it. It is because it is a bad image for all of us. It gives the impression that we don’t really take care of our staff. “
Martin Picard, owner of Au Pied de Cochon, pointed out to French media that the registration salary was a starting point, it was not necessarily the actual starting salary.
“That was the starting offer, but after choosing the employees they will have, there will be a discussion and they will offer wages higher than the minimum wage,” said Martin Vezina, spokesperson for the Quebec Restaurant Association.
Another point raised by some in the restaurant industry is that some restaurants use a tip system for the kitchen by pooling tips on what is called the point system. But it is up to the restaurant and its staff to implement it and it does not happen universally.
Most tend to agree that in the short term, the cost of a restaurant meal will increase as wages adjust to the new normal. But in the long run, the labor shortage could mean that owning and operating an upscale restaurant in Montreal is no longer something many aspiring restaurateurs dream of.
“I think a lot of people have to start to understand the idea that if we have an extreme shortage of cooks now,” Ferguson said.
“And that means that in five years we will have an extreme shortage of leaders. “