Podcast Series: The C-word

As this year’s UGSRP intern, I decided I wanted to explore the social aspect of sustainability, and focused on the industry’s culture and the expectations it has of recent grads and soon-to-be grads. As a fifth year student with experience in the food and beverage industry, I wanted to find out if what my peers and I are expecting really matched what was happening out there in the industry. Many of us have learned and experienced the industry’s culture, and we’re told about the long hours, no-break, and low wage, shifts. But we also know about the benefits of meeting new people every day, learning something new each day, and the days where we walk out with a little extra cash. It’s no surprise to us that this is what the industry has in store – but without school as our crutch any longer, I wanted to take a look at what was next for us.

My first podcast is with Rebecca Gordon, alumni of the HAFA program, and coincidently, a former UGSRP intern. She graduated in 2015, and now works with The Neighbourhood Group in Guelph. In her podcast, we talked about concerns about promotions, compressed work weeks, and the affect the industry has on her personal life. She also mentions that one of the biggest flaws about the restaurant industry is that it’s an old-school business…

Which leads to my next podcast with Bruce McAdams. Bruce is the project lead for UGSRP, and a professor in the School of Hospitality, Food and Tourism Management at Guelph. In his podcast, we discuss education and relevance, old business models versus new business models, and who’s responsibility it is to start making changes in the industry…

And lastly, my final podcast is with Madison Homewood and Megan Boland, both current students and soon-to-be graduates. They both have experience in the food and beverage industry, and we discuss why they enjoy the industry, where they think changes could be made, and ultimately, if they think they’ll still enjoy working in hospitality after graduation, considering what it currently expected of them from the industry.

These podcasts by no means showcase what all aspects of the restaurant industry provides for everyone. However, they do shed light on the fact that we’re stuck in the middle of a business that is trying to maintain its traditions in a world of fast-paced changes. We’re constantly learning about the old business model so that we can quickly adapt to the current industry, but we are also a generation that is concerned about our general well-being, and advancements in literally everything.

Have a listen to each of these podcasts from introduction to conclusion; you’ll find out that the expectations from these different stakeholders do not align…but, that just means there’s an opportunity waiting for all of us.

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