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Restaurants not profitable on days with high penalty rates

Rocksalt owner Jason Faint says a change to penalty rates would allow more businesses to open.
Rocksalt owner Jason Faint says a change to penalty rates would allow more businesses to open. Chris Chan

GLADSTONE restaurant owner Jason Faint firmly supports a change to the way penalty rates are dealt with in the hospitality industry.

"We operate basically the opposite of how everyone else is going to operate. When a regular business is in operation, we're at a quieter period because everyone is at work," he said.

"The fact that on weekends, where everybody is not at work, which is our busiest period… we're paying high penalty rates, when that is our regular business."

Mr Faint said a change to penalty rates would allow more businesses to open.

"And when more businesses open, basically the mentality of how people think changes around that, and it gives people more options to go out on the weekend," he said.

"Being that Gladstone is a seven-day trading town now, I think we need it.

"We need it for people to stay in this town on the weekend instead of going back to their home towns."

The idea that penalty rates helps draw people to the industry is not correct, Mr Faint believes.

"It's not as difficult as what you think (to get people), because it's quite an enjoyable career to get into," he said.

We need it for people to stay in this town on the weekend instead of going back to their home towns

"The people that are after penalty rates on weekends are generally the ones that don't last in the industry, because they feel like they are sacrificing something to do it.

"I believe in hospitality, we should be operating when everyone else isn't operating. Because basically we're something you're going to be doing when you're not a work."

Mr Faint said hospitality was a career choice and there were options for those chasing higher pay.

"The right person that is in hospitality enjoys doing it, because they enjoy the customer service aspect to it, they enjoy relating to different cultures and different people in regards to food and customers."

At this stage, Rocksalt is open every day, and it's not always profitable.

"We open 7 days a week, 364 days a year," Mr Faint said.

But it is worth it to open on days that require staff to be paid penalty rates?

"Public holidays, 100% no," he said. "We do open but we only open for the customers.

"Sundays no as well… That's why there are no restaurants open on Sundays anymore. It costs too much.

"I try to be consistent (with trading hours). I know that I'm going to lose on a Sunday and I know I'm going to lose on a public holiday.

"We open on those days because I believe that it will get made up during the week."

Topics:  gladstone penalty rates restaurant rocksalt



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