Sunday, 19 May 2013

Destiny BBT

It's funny, because from the outside the corporation seems pretty legit. It's a pretty well known establishment in Richmond Hill. But maybe it's the fact that its Chinese run, is what makes this place just a little (if not really) sketchy. Read on to find the shocking pay that workers make.

From the moment you apply for a position in their bilingual (Chinese/English) application - they ask you what language or dialect that you speak and even what ethnicity, I questioned the legality of the form. Can they even ask those questions , or more importantly mustn't they ask if you are legally allowed to work in Canada?

A few days after applying, they asked me to come in for training (no interview or anything). This was actually my first time working with anything food related, meaning I has absolutely no experience at all. Yet before I knew it, a seating chart was handed to me (memorize it) and a super quick overview of the menu was given, I was told to start serving. It was like I was thrown in ! Since I was new I was bound to make clumsy mistakes and forget how to do different things, but this was often returned with impatience and a look of dismay, and a condescending tone. How was I to blame?

Later on by the end of my first shift, I was about to be let off, about to walk out the front doors. I realized there had been absolutely no talk about pay and wage- something that's pretty crucial to working somewhere. I was then told (after having to ask and bring it up myself) that the first shift is actually unpaid. This was pretty shocking, after working 4 hours, I had done that - as volunteer work?! Most companies pay you from the day that you start training. Most companies also have employment contracts, but I guess we'll ignore that point since Destiny doesn't seem to have that either. Food regulations usually require that anyone dealing with food follow various rules, it's a wonder they haven't been questioned or inspected. Although, a quick google search shows a forum post and large Facebook group exposing an incident where a group of friends were mortified to find not one, but two floating cockroaches in their drinks. I thought it was pretty interesting that all my friends at their workplaces had been strictly told that they were not to wear nail polish, but here I swas with my nails painted with a bunch of nails chipped! What if some had gotten into the food or drinks?

Furthermore if turns out that they are illegally paying their workers. The government has stated that a minimum wage is to be enforced, for most jobs people over the age of 18 are entitled to receiving $10.25 an hour. For those who work with liquor or a position that receives tips, it is understandably lower because tips are usually a significance source of income, there is still a minimum which is around $8. I learned that Destiny base pays their workers (servers and waitresses) around $5/ hour. I almost laughed when I heard this, not only is this almost half of what is legally required but it's pretty much cheap labour. Of course there is some sort of division of a tip pool based on the stores performance but regardless it doesn't seem to add up to much. Alright but let's ignore the fact that servers make pennies, my manager told me that eventually servers make their way up to being a waitress. Thats the dream right? They get to keep 'all' their tips , still with a base pay of $5/hour. Keep in mind that this is still a Chinese restaurant and so people/ especially students barely pay any tip. Also, the government states that if the minimum server wage in addition to tips does not add up to the usual minimum wage, then the company must pay the difference- but if course this is just another law/rule that is most definitely not followed.
Somehow it was expressed to me that in good nights waitresses can make $20+ per hour after including tips. But there are still a number of issues regarding this situation. One, how long does it take to advance? There is no time frame, for all you know you may be stuck as a server indefinitely. Two, its ultimately up to the manager which means s/he better like you. And lastly, they are sexist. Only girls have this option of becoming a waitress whereas guys have no where else to go or to advance to, they are permanent servers. Why do they continue to work here? Maybe it has to do with the fact that a lot of the pay is 'under the table' meaning they are paid in cash, no tax deductions, and no need to report the income/wage for both parties. Regardless, I don't have the slightest clue , but the fact that they have such a high employee turnover rate does not surprise me. In addition, I spoke to some of the waitresses on their own and learned that their take home pay was no where close to what the manager had boasted to me, I had definitely been given misleading information.

It's pretty funny because I haven't been paid for my last shift, although they said they would call me eventually, it feels pretty likely that I won't be getting paid again.

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