In many professions there are subjects that we do not want to talk about, that we try to sweep under the carpet of oblivion, of which we are sometimes ashamed and that we would like to hide in plain sight. The CHR are not left out. They drag the slag that tattoo the DNA of the profession, despite all the failed efforts of each other to give it a beautiful image.
This article, for sure, is not going to please. But as always, the Committee prefers truth to pretense to advance.
1. We prefer not to talk about it: Industrial dishes
The entry of industrial culinary solutions into catering kitchens timidly dates from before the 1970s, before arriving at the “assembly kitchen” which made its debut. real first steps in the early 1980s, skilfully mixing the 5 ranges. However, it has only been 4 to 5 years since the media have been interested in the phenomenon of “sachet-scissor-microwave” cooking, which has been on the rise since the industrialists excelled in providing catering with finished products.
The press revealed that nearly 75% to 80% of restaurateurs (100% of chains) make full or partial use of ready-to-reheat and serve industrial ready meals. A small scandal when we realized that customers liked the idea that a real cook could be in the kitchen and work with fresh and raw products. The problems of finding kitchen staff, the erosion of margins, the average tickets which are frozen, not to mention the creativity of manufacturers,… have greatly contributed to this situation.
Attempts to restore luster to restaurateurs (“homemade” label, regulated false transparency on cards, title of master restaurateur, etc.), who eat a little too much in the hands of industrialists, do nothing. The industrial kitchen is doing well in the restaurant business and this is likely to last , bringing a little more despair to real cooks who make an effort when others swim in the easy, very profitable.
2. We prefer not to talk about it: VAT in restaurants
It is undoubtedly because of this formidable media failure of the reduction in VAT that catering is so frowned upon today and that the business of industrial dishes ( see above) has been so heavily demonized. The restaurateurs unions were, it must be said, very bad to defend the profession once the reduction in VAT was obtained and only saw off the branch of (small) credibility on which they were sitting. They pledged the word of restaurateurs knowing that they would not keep it, having no control over them. Years later, restaurants are still suffering from this media Waterloo.
As if to take revenge on restaurateurs who had not lowered their prices significantly, if at all, when the VAT went from 19.6% to 5.5% in July 2009, public opinion, the media and the authorities public today do not let them pass. After years of trying to contradict official statistics to make it seem like they had played the game, war weary, restaurateurs would like to move on.
3. We prefer not to talk about it: Subcontracting in the hotel industry
Since the end of the 1980s, hoteliers have found a solution to achieve great savings: call on external companies to take care of the rooms to be cleaned every day, in lieu of salaried floor staff. These are the same people who clean offices and industrial premises. The first advantage was to be able to employ staff only according to the activity of the day before, with consequently the best possible productivity.
Except that cleaning ladies (not chambermaids), paid at the minimum wage, have been forced to have more and more infernal rates having to adopt a rate of up to 4.25 rooms to be cleaned per hour, causing so even strikes. If hoteliers, including chains, are coming back more and more from this falsely economical solution – because the work is consequently rarely done well -, the media coverage of this subject has contributed to tarnish the image of the hotel industry. .
4. We prefer not to talk about it: Low salaries
The CHR, with personal services, are the sector of activity in France where staff are paid the worst and where we are the minimum wage champion.
When 10.8% of employees in all French companies earn the minimum wage , nearly 34% of the workforce is minimum wage in the hotel and catering industry . And again, this is without counting the outsourced staff (see point N ° 3) by whom this sad score would be even higher if it were integrated into the staff of the hotels. They are even 63% paid minimum wage only in fast food (sources DARES, November 2014).
This official rate of 34% is likely to be higher than the reality. A good proportion of employees are declared at the minimum wage and receive a supplement from hand to hand (see point N ° 6).
RHCs also employ a very low proportion of managers. Only 9% have this status against 19% in all departments. The difficulty in accessing social promotion demotivates young people. This observation partly explains why it is so difficult for CHR entrepreneurs to find employees and especially to keep them.
5. We prefer not to talk about it: Hygiene problems
Restaurants are in the crosshairs of veterinary services and more generally of public authorities. Every year, we publish a significant number (even if it seems to be improving) of restaurants checked in violation of hygiene standards.
As for hotels, health services are rarely mobilized for the simple reason that there are no hygiene standards for rooms and spaces intended for customers. When we know that a maid has on average 20 minutes to redo a cleanroom, or even less (see point N ° 3), we can then easily guess that the notion of cleanliness is limited to what is seen in the room. naked eye . However, we see more and more photos of unhealthy and dirty hotel rooms being posted on traveler commentary sites. When will there be hygiene standards for hotels?
6. We prefer not to talk about it: Underground economy
The “black” is defined by the removal from tax declarations of part of the turnover collected and also by the non-declaration of part of the staff or / and all of his wages (moonlighting). In this, along with other branches of activity such as construction, small businesses, hairdressers, garages, etc. CHRs come out on top of those sanctionedfollowing inspections by Urssaf, labor inspection and tax authorities.
No smoke without fire, because these state services know that they will be bombing by targeting hoteliers, and especially cafetiers and restaurateurs. In 2012, there were 14.2% of cases of fraud detected in the hotel, café and restaurant sector. A record. Almost 6% of the employees in the branch would work illegally. And again, we are only talking about what has been identified following administrative checks.
As for the hidden turnover, several sources estimate that in the CHR as a whole, between 9% and 20% of the receipts would be volatile, according to the types of activity . This share would, however, be on the decline due to the generalization of payments by bank cards.
7. We prefer not to talk about it: The managers of super-economical hotels
With subcontracting which has become commonplace but which we are gradually coming back to, the super-economical chain hotel industry has hit the headlines by the cases carried in the early 2000s by around thirty Formula 1 managers, but also by snowball effect in other low cost brands. The economic model of these chains included from the start the employment of management couples, defined by contract as free and independent, but who were in fact under the status of disguised employees . Housed there, they were entirely subordinate to the hotel group to which the hotel they were responsible belonged.
8. We prefer not to talk about it: Maltreatment of the staff
Unexpected theme as it was deeply inscribed in the famous tradition, we finally began to evoke the mistreatment and the cases of lack of respect to the person which have nevertheless always been practiced in catering more than in the hotel industry, and especially in kitchens and back rooms. An omerta anchored in the legacies of the profession with the “I received slaps and insults when I was an apprentice, I give you some in turn. This is how we learn ” .
With the low wages already mentioned, the flexible working hours, the profession is the first culprit in the flight of young people and the considerable turnover, by the behavior of many of its Thenardiers.
9. We prefer not to talk about it: “Day uses” & prostitution
It makes you smile when you talk about the afternoon uses of hotel rooms by illegitimate couples, without suitcases and with an embarrassed air. These short stays are called in hotel parlance “(hot) day uses” or “tac-tac”, or other equally colorful terms. This can represent around fifteen rooms rented every day during the week for well-located and discreet hotels, especially on the outskirts of cities. It is especially the budget hotels that benefit the most; but, luxury hotels also have their followers, sometimes concerned with the prostitution of call or escort girls.
Far from assuming, we prefer to silence the presence of this clientele not well in all respects , which is nevertheless very profitable – we can re-let the same room in the evening to real travelers and we cash in cash -. It must be said that the hotel industry has long been struck by amalgamations with hotel pimping, which seems to have been more or less settled since the scandals of the 1960s when a luxury hotel concierge even committed suicide after being accused. of this offense.
10. not preferred to talk about: The ocial Hotels
If cheap tourist hotels tend to disappear more and more of the French hotel landscape, many have turned into social hotels. This is the case with old hotels of super-economical chains which have been largely depreciated since their creation 25 or 30 years ago, but also with dormant apartment hotels. Initially partially requisitioned by the prefectures to house undocumented foreigners awaiting regularization or especially homeless families, more and more of these establishments are now almost entirely reserved for these groups.Nearly 10,000 families, 30,000 people including many children, are accommodated each night in some 550 establishments in Ile-de-France. They were less than 2,000 ten years ago, 11,000 in 2013, according to Les Echos .
It must be said that cohabitation with the clients of classic hotels proves to be impossible, which must come across guests who settle at home, who cook and who hang their laundry to dry here and there. The advantages of this new social hotel niche: no need to go to the trouble of marketing and rental fees received which are paradoxically higher than with ordinary customers . What to save hotels from bankruptcy.