One of the beautiful things about working in hospitality is getting to know so many great people. Sure, it’s hard to get a decent pay packet at times and the hours are weird, but the friends that you make certainly sweeten the deal.
Staying connected with old hospo mates can sometimes be a challenge, with seasonal staff turnover and a large foreign workforce meaning mates moving between venues and countries is a frequent occurrence. However, if this pandemic has taught us anything it’s that a lot can be achieved digitally.
Social distancing restrictions and lockdowns have forced us apart much of the last six months, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t stay connected. You could even argue that now is the best opportunity for us to reconnect with past (and present) hospo buddies.
Now maybe you’re thinking that a video or phone call might be a little awkward after some time apart, that’s pretty normal. But there are a bunch of fun ways for you to get together online that you may not have considered yet. So, here’s a few options:
1) Online Trivia
Online trivia erupted during the initial lockdown period, with many people opting to make their own trivia nights to kill time on the weekends.
If you and your mates can’t be bothered setting up your own, then check out Isolation Trivia. The team that put this together originally ran pub quizzes around the Brisbane area, and were forced to adapt when lockdown meant venues had to close their doors. Now they livestream to thousands of people each week with huge cash prizes up for grabs!
2) Video Gaming
Anyone with a PlayStation or Xbox will already be well aware of their value after lockdown. Video games might be a great time waster (as mum or dad would say) but they also offer some social interaction as well.
Jumping online with friends bypasses some of the awkward small talk associated with reconnecting with old friends, as you can preoccupy yourself with the game. It offers the chance to work as a team again, and you’ll find that a lot of the banter is similar to what you’d get during a service.
3) Find a Hospo Community
If you’re passionate about your trade, it’s good to stay connected with the industry. Reading the big headlines can often bring you down with all of the COVID-19 coverage, so you might need to explore other avenues to get your fix.
Joining a community focused Facebook page is a great way to find old friends (and make new ones potentially). Plus it can also prove to be a good place to discuss your work with people who can relate.
4) Group Chats
Maybe you have worked across a few different venues in the past and are keen to get the old band back together again? Setting up group chats in apps like Facebook Messenger and Whatsapp make life easy when trying to stay connected.
It allows you to jump in and out of a chat, without the fear of needing to reply straight away. You can even set up an alarm for people to check-in at each day to share the best laugh or recipe that they’ve found online that day.
5) Netflix and Chill
You might be missing trips to the cinema with your mates, but that doesn’t mean that you have to stop watching movies together. Netflix Party is a new feature brought out by the media giant, which allows groups to synchronize their screens and chat about the movie live.
So grab a bag of popcorn and get some classic food movies going like these.
6) Video Meal Prep
We all know that eating times can be a little bit strange when working in foodservice, but it’s important to look after yourself and maintain a healthy diet. Setting aside a couple of hours of downtime can seem like a drag, but it’ll be a bit more fun with an old friend on board.
If you’ve got a few friends that are cheffing elsewhere, why not set up a video chat and go through the process together. You can swap items off your respective menus and maybe even trial some ideas with your mates before taking them to the specials board.
7) Virtual Pub Crawl
After work knock-off drinks are often where the fun begins in foodservice, and a great way to build on personal relationships with your colleagues. Unfortunately, lockdown, restrictions or having some distance between old work mates can make pub crawls impossible.
But where there’s a will, there’s a way. Broadsheet has actually created a variety of backdrops of famed Melbourne venues, to help take you out and about from the comfort of your couch. Gather your friends and a pack of craft beers for a fun night out on the town!
These are just a few ideas to help you reconnect and stay connected with your friends in hospo. As always, if you’ve found creative ways to keep yourself and your friends entertained digitally, let us know on the Tip Top Foodservice Facebook page!