The Fast Food Service Sector
In Canada, there are over 933, 000 Canadians earning a living through employment in the food service sector. This industry employ’s huge part of Canadian population which is about 6% of total workforce in the country (MacDowell, 2006). Across Canada there are lots of fast food eateries and more continue to be opened each day.
In the past Canadian families used to take their meals at home but this has with time continued to change and more opt to eat out. With the increase of women joining the workforce and the increase in number of homes that have one single person has led to resources of the development of more fast food restaurants. The service sector industry has continued to raise its employment share in competition with other industries. In 2010 the service sector employed almost three quarters of all employees in Canada. With this huge growth in the industry there has also been a significant shift in the jobs that the service industry now offers. There is now a huge raise in part time jobs, temporary employment and working in shifts.
In general in Canada work in the fast food restaurant can be described as being in most cases irregular and long. Most of the employees in this sector have spilt shifts this is where they will work in the morning and to do preparations and later come in the evening for service. The staff requirement is high and most of them are required to be highly organized and be creative at the same time. The staff has to work with other with other colleagues as it has a lot of staff in most establishments. The entry requirement to work in these jobs will vary from one organization to another. Some organizations will only require people with the correct attitude while advanced organizations will employ individuals who are well trained, have good skills in fast food business, have good educational qualifications and they have the necessary experience related to the fast food or restaurant business.
A huge challenge to this industry is that for a lot of people it is seen as a “stopover” as people try to get other better jobs (Royle, 2002). This greatly affects this industry as most people don’t stick with the industry. It is also a huge expense for employers as it costs them more money to train the staff and also constant frustrations brought about by new staff. A lot of people also prefer working in the fast food industry as it offers flexible working hours; also there is low requirement for entry into most jobs in this jobs. Most of the jobs in the fast food service are poorly paid and there is a lot of staff turnover and people keep moving around working in one fast food to another fast food.
Most of the employees in the fast food industry are either waiters or fast food cooks, in most fast food there is limited choices of meals items that they will prepare, this will include hamburgers, pizza among others. The food that is to be prepared in most cases is prepared before service unlike in fine dining restaurants. The food can either be put in a plate, be wrapped or even put in a basket. Also they food can be served in a window or in a counter or in a form of restaurant. In most of this establishment food is cooked earlier and only assembled after an order has been made.
Fast foods will also sell food and drinks to their clients and also make deliveries of various supplies that have been ordered by certain clients. The work in not complex and is mainly manual in nature, but it is very challenging considering the number of consumers an establishment can serve. With the continued popularity of fast food, the people visiting these establishments continue to increase each day and thus the staff has to serve more and more consumers. For fast food businesses to make a lot of profits, most big ones have become franchised and allowed the companies to have control of the main product and at the same time be able to create a local work force that is suited to the local condition of the operation. By being in the franchise, what it means to he worker is that they are an employee of the small entity yet the main product is owned by the franchise.
There is low wages and very little benefit for those who work in the industries. Also the probability of growth in the fast food service industry is very limited. For waiter or waitresses the most they can go is being an assistant manager or a supervisor and this may take a lot of time. Even though labor unions have been there for many years and been able to successfully negotiate for better working conditions and pay in sectors such as the civil-service employees, the manufacturing employees and also in other sectors. The labor movement has not been able to penetrate this industry. This is because it is mainly composed of a youthful workforce, new people in employment, transient workers, and also immigrants into Canada.
These groups of people are unwilling to day subscription to labor unions like it is done in the other sectors. The workers in this sector also have a higher turnover thus being a huge challenge to the labor union to spend a lot of time to negotiate a contract with better benefits and conditions, yet the individual will not take long in the job (Reiter, 1996). This industry also provides to its staff a challenging environment as in most cases there is low wages, very little benefits and also the working conditions are a little dangerous. The dangerous working conditions are in relation to working hours as one can work for very long hours without rest. If unions would be able to penetrate the fast food industry the benefits would be enormous for the people who work in this industry.
George Ritzer wrote a book called ‘The McDonaldization of Society’, in this book, he attempted to define the model of rationalization which todays society is slowly adopting, he defined McDonaldization as ‘the process by which the principles of the fast-food restaurant are coming to dominate more and more sectors of American society as well as the rest of the world’ (Ritzer, 1998). The McDonaldization history is brought about by such factors such as the assembly line, use of scientific management and also introduction of bureaucracy. In wok by Ritzer on McDonaldization has a huge effect on labor quality especially in the fast food industry. The assembly line and scientific management have a huge influence on McDonaldization as was put forward by Ritzer as they will have an effect of downgrading on labor. The effect is having individuals who have huge specialization in what they do yet unskilled and work in performing jobs that are predictable and they do this with efficient results. McDonaldization has an effect of increasing quantity and there is excellent control of the work force.
Ritzer considered this to be dehumanizing as it works in inhibiting the potential that an individual has and killing their creativity. People will be forced to work as robot so as to give maximum results, today McDonaldization is being exhibited in almost all aspects of the society. A McDonaldization organization will focus of four aspects, which are control, predictability, calculability and finally efficiency. In most industries now including the fast food industry, the work of control by human beings is being taken over by nonhuman technologies. Some of the work that traditionally has been performed by staff is being taken over by computerized machines. This has been done by use of automated drink and snacks dispensers, availability of french fries dispensing machine, use of cash registers that are programmed to sell, use of scanners, also soup being able to cook itself, this are some of the automation that is happening in the food industry (Tannock, 2001).
This is having an effect on the industry work force as it is reducing employment opportunities. With the improvement of science and technology, the future in the fast food industry will change as there will be an increase of nonhuman technologies capable of replacing workers. In the fast food industry the Work environment for thhe staff can be described as being challenging. The staff is always on their feet when they are in for duty as the work involves running around and making the most out of the customers who visit the establishment. The work is usually very repetitive and will involve at times carrying of heavy, dishes, glassware used in service and also trays of food.
There are hours in most fast foods when they are busy this is during the dining hours, the staff are under a lot of pressure to serve the maximum number of customers fast and in an efficient way. Most of the work in fast food joint can be considered to be safe but there can be presence of injuries due to burn from food and kitchen equipment, there can also be slips and cuts, in most cases they are caused by mishandling of equipment and tools and also the hurrying associated with fast food restaurants. There are more injuries for staff in the fast food industries such as dish washers, and the others that in the other occupations. Most fast food establishment have long dining hours and thus for their staff they will offer flexible working hours and also other various opportunities that come with flexible working. A lot of food service staff can be able to have to or more jobs and also can also be in school and other activities and still be able to earn a living. A lot of staff in the fast food industry works in the evenings, during the weekends, and also during the holidays.
These long hours when they are open makes them to be very friendly to many teenager workforce and can help them to build an important working experience. The teenagers will attend school and later in the evening work in a work in a fast food, thus be productive, gain experience and still earn some income. Fast food service jobs offer immense employment opportunities for students who are in high school and also for college students; it is also of help to people who have multiple jobs, and for individuals who work hard to supplement their incomes.In most fast food establishments the education requirements are very little. Most employers will only request for and prefer to employ individuals who are high school graduates as either waiter or waitress. It is also important to note that high school completion in most cases is usually is not a requirement for dish washers, fast food staff and attendants at the counters.
Most will join this work force while they are in their early twenties and are in either possession of a high school education or they are without. Most of them when joining the industry have very minimum or no experience at all in the line they have been employed in (Pupo, P and Thomas, M., 2010). Most of the new employees hired, as they have minimum training are trained by the managers and those in charge of the establishment. They are trained on safe handling of food and the procedure to be followed, they are also trained on proper sanitation, customer service and the products the establishment offers and the prices. Some of the teaching aids that can be used for new staff in the fast food include use of a program that is self study programs, also the purchase and utilization of on-line programs, use of booklets on fast foods that explain how food is made and the necessary skills for service and also the use of audiovisual presentations.
Most of the staff in these organizations will be trained by them studying what the more experienced and old staff is doing. The aim of training the staff is mainly to get the most out of them by building capacity for them to perform. It also help in communicate the organizations objectives and goals to the new staff, works in creating good rapport among staff, creation of team work and help the staff to find ways of dealing with any challenges that my occur in the course of their operations such as unruly patrons. Even though this industry has a lot of challenges there are huge benefits to the individual such as provision of uniform and free meals when one is working. The industry plays a huge role in the Canadian economy through job creation, taxes as well as feeding the nation.