Meet the Editor
The old saying ‘no one accomplishes anything alone’ is true in life and true for this blog. The Back Of House is proud to to introduce Emilie Flynn: my editor and work wife. She’s smart, beautiful and the epitome of the word badass. She is the girl who ensures that I make sense because truth be told… my grammar sucks.
Hailing from Perth, Australia, she is currently completing her Bachelor of Education. Queen of extracurricular, she is an LGBQT+ activist, footy champion (in my eyes), wine enthusiast, French student, singer/songwriter, volunteer for her local left-wing political party, and Grade A human.
Currently working a shift a week at her local restaurant in Melbourne, Australia, she rarely finds herself with free time, which is exactly the way she likes it. Like many of us she began her long journey in hospitality at the precious age of 14 making $10 an hour taking orders at her neighbourhood cafe to earn a little cash and some of that much desired independence.
Having been a barback, waitress, bartender and hostess, Emilie is well aware of the issues facing the front of house staff. One particular problem that is close to her heart is the sexism that both men and women face in the industry and the gender roles that they are quietly expected to adhere to. The girls are expected to smile and greet, while the men are expected to do the ‘real work’ – namely, making the drinks and managing the show. How often do you find a male greeting you and showing you to your table? I would guess rarely. Particularly in North America, she has witnessed and been subject to outrageous and outdated expectations like wearing tight skirts, full makeup, heels (for a full 8 hour shift) and, of course, a smile – even if the customer is a rude, rich misogynist.
So what is the solution? How do we encourage the whole of the front of house to have a discussion with their managers in an non-aggressive environment? How do we prove to the guest coming into the restaurant that good service does not depend on your hosts and hostess being objectified? Honestly I wish I had a simple answer.
At the end of the day it should not fall upon the staff to create this change; as a community, we should be putting pressure on management and wider society to dismiss these gender stereotypes and accept that all genders can take on all roles. I have known some brilliant female head bartenders and I know some personable, enthusiastic young men who would make for excellent hosts, given the opportunity. It is on us as a community to create a diverse environment where men and women can thrive in any position, and to come up with creative solutions to the millions of problems we face everyday in the hospitality industry. It is a discussion worth having and we need to be able to bring it up with our managers because it will make the restaurant a more relaxed and happy place, both for diners and staff. When you have happy staff who want to work hard to bring a unique and special guest experience, you will inevitably have more guests, which means more growth of the business, which means greater opportunities and better lives for everyone involved.
Interview with the Editor
M: So, Emilie! What has been your favourite workplace?
E: Tough question. But I think my favourite was a small live music venue in Perth – The Ellington Jazz Club. Live music every night, superb cocktails, and a wonderful small community.
M: Favourite part about hospitality?
E: Knock-off drinks. No, I’m joking. Working in a fast-paced environment like that brings your very close to your team, very quickly. It’s a pressure cooker of stress that creates a special bond.
M: And what’s the dream?
E: I’ll run the country one day, for sure.