A bar in Barcelona is rejecting ageism in the workplace by only hiring waiters aged over 5o, preferably those with a talent for wearing a natty waistcoat.
The owner of Entrepanes Díaz, Kim Díaz, told The Guardian of his decision,
“I was looking for waiters who are over 50 because I knew they’d be fantastic and because society has unjustly pushed them out of the job market.”
Diaz’s new hires correlate with a survey published in Australia last year that suggested that age discrimination in the workplace was trending down.
500 older Australians were interviewed in-depth by human resources and senior executives at big companies, with the conclusion that there was a
“a positive shift is underway in the way Australian employers view older workers”.
Two years ago 28 per cent of employees aged between 50-75 felt discriminated against due to their age, this is now down to 18 per cent.
Meanwhile the older staff employed at Diaz’s bar also represents how hospitality workers are viewed around the world. As Diaz told The Guardian,
“These guys have 20 or 30 years of experience, a lifetime. Here the waiter’s profession is in decline but the people I’ve employed see it as a vocation.”
Unlike in Europe and other countries around the world, waiting on tables in Australia is mostly seen as a stop gap, with few career waiters. Around a quarter of workers in the industry work full-time, with the remainder most likely to be students and backpackers.
A really good waiter can not only juggle a dozen plates and share the specials without looking at the board, but also has excellent empathy and intuition.
As Peter Sullivan, who co-owns Morsul, the group behind some of Sydney’s top restaurants including Aria and Chiswick told The Sydney Morning Herald,
“A really great hospitality person within two or three minutes will be able to read the table. They will work out who is not talking to whom, who is in charge. And when they find out who is in charge they will read them and find out what they are looking for in their interpretation of what is ‘good service’.”
And it seems that Kim Diaz has found just these people for his bar – which pays homage to the 1950s – with his older staff happy to be there.
As 53 year-old Rafael told The Guardian,
“[It] makes sense to employ people of my age,” he adds. “We’re making a comeback, we’re not going to complain. We’re here to work, to get along with people, get paid and do a good job. And clients notice this, the experience we have and the good service they get.”