While presenting the TV programme ‘Poll Khol’, actor Shekhar Suman poked fun at the Samajwadi Party’s workers behaviour at MP Ram Gopal Yadav’s 72nd birthday. When the cake was brought out, there was no sign of disposable plates. And so they gladly tore away their leader’s posters as makeshift plates to eat pieces of cake on. This outlandish situation sounds funny, but perhaps the workers had thought of the self-serving style of many American restaurants.
American cities today are facing a spike in commercial rent, labour costs and prices of local services. In fact, economist Enrico Moretti at the University of California says that the prices of these services, including restaurants, were rising by about 6%.
However, the high growth in the minimum wage from $10.74 per hour in the year 2014 has now risen to $15 an hour. These persisting conditions must seem unattractive to businesses in America. On the other hand, our country’s road-side dhabas, and our cities’ shining restaurants can both somehow afford waiters’ services.
The work in dining establishments includes finding customers a table, fetching and refilling glasses of water, and dashing back to the counter for another glass of wine or another order.
Although the runners were present for bringing customers’ orders to the table, servers will no longer stand to attend seated customers for further requirements. The restaurants can no longer afford waiters, who might have otherwise gotten people to stay on as satisfied and loyal customers. And so, American restaurants tried resolving the issue of soaring labour costs by convincing customers to engage in self-service.
In the city of San Francisco, known for its staggering wealth, the commercial rent along with labour costs have gone up, and workers have begun backing off. As a result, ‘hybrid’ restaurants are spreading to high-cost cities. These seem to suit the rising need for a variety of dining options.
In India, we just happened to view a tint of this American problem during the birthday bash organised by Akhilesh Singh, and Samajwadi Party workers.