Ami Tran, the owner of two popular Vietnamese restaurants in Melbourne, says that hiring staff with mental disabilities has not only boosted the efficiency of her business but has also greatly improved the morale of staff and enhanced the interaction between her staff and diners.
She was keen to employ people from her local community as unemployment in the area is quite high so approached Ostara Australia for help. The people that were put forward and subsequently employed all have a mental health condition and have struggled to find work or hold down a job. A firm believer in giving everyone a fair go, Ami wished to assist all her employees to achieve their potential.
Within her restaurants they were offered one of two roles : back of house in the kitchen and front of house. With the front of house staff, their duties were kept to bringing the food to the tables from the kitchen, so that the more stressful responsibilities such as taking orders and managing the cash were looked after by established staff. She stresses that they have tried to find roles for people that don’t make their condition worse and have found that they excel in this environment.
When welcoming the staff to the business, her most important considerations were honesty, reliability and attitude. While someone can train for workplace skills, it is much more difficult to train someone to have the right attitude.
These inspirational employees have set a really good example for the rest of the staff in the restaurants in that they have shown them that while they may be dealing with their own difficulties or issues, they are able to be reliable, perform tasks efficiently, bring a good attitude to work and perform their roles consistently and effectively.
Many of the customers are aware of what the establishments are trying to create and Ami is finding that they are now giving much more respect to all of the staff as well as being much more understanding and less demanding. It has made all parties concerned much more comfortable and has set up the business to have a great vibe and ensure that all of the diners have a wonderful experience.
As far as we can see, a win win for everyone and building self-esteem for those who have received a few hard knocks!