There is a particularly frustrating reality for young people who are trying to break into the restaurant industry: they have the passion, the drive, and the will, but they don’t have the right experience or the skills that will open doors for them. Even in the entry-level job market, few seem willing to give these young people a chance. But local restaurant chain Doppio Zero is on a mission to change that reality.
‘The corporate world largely tends to focus on what employees can do for the company, how employees can work together to create bigger brands and increase profits. But I think it’s equally important for brands to work together to create opportunities for people.’ says Ivan Walsh, Doppio Zero Operations Director.
Walsh goes on to say that he’s not just talking about benefiting people who are current employees.
‘There are so many people who don’t have the skills for even entry-level jobs and they’re just being brushed aside. But when you come right down to it, it’s really not a big deal for a corporate to give someone a core skill. As businesses, we can give people a starting point. As businesses we all really should.’
And so, with this in mind, and inspired by the call to make every day a Mandela Day, Doppio Zero has created a constructive and practical #67Jobs campaign. It’s specifically created for young people who have little or no chance of breaking into the restaurant industry because of their lack of skills and experience.
Partnering with various NGOs, South Africa’s much loved home of gourmet pizzas and Mediterranean food has already accepted a number of young candidates who are currently being trained in various entry-level disciplines to Doppio Zero’s high standard of skills.
Almost reaching the completion of her two month #67Jobs programme, Nonhlanhla Sibiya says that her vision for her future is already brighter and more promising than ever before. Her family’s financial struggles meant that she couldn’t afford to get the education and training that would help her turn her life around.
‘And then I got a phone call from Doppio Zero!’ she beams. ‘They were willing to give me a chance and that gave me hope again. Now I see myself having my own coffee shop and giving back to the community and reducing unemployment like Doppio Zero has done for me.’
Nonhlanhla is working hard to prove herself, and when she completes her training she will be given the opportunity of a permanent contract with the popular restaurant group. That goes for every #67Jobs candidate who completes the Doppio Zero programme and proves a good fit for the good-food-loving, family-oriented brand.
Although this campaign may open the doors to opportunity for many young people, it is not that much of a leap from ‘business as usual’ for Doppio Zero. In fact, it seems like quite a natural progression for a brand that believes in its people and goes out of its way to give them the chance to grow. Just like it has done for people like Wander.
Wander tells us how he had always dreamed of being a chef, but because he had limited kitchen training, he couldn’t find work. When Doppio Zero Director and Co-owner Paul Christie heard about Wander, he gave him the chance to learn and work and prove himself in the Doppio Zero kitchen. Wander joined Doppio Zero in 2003 as a Prep Chef; today he has passionately and steadfastly worked his way up to become Doppio Zero Greenside’s Kitchen Manager and one of its longest standing staff members.
‘My whole life has changed,’ says Wander.
‘All we did was open a door,’ says Walsh. ‘Wander did all the rest. He is the one who took that opportunity and turned his life around. And when we see such wonderful, sustainable change, it’s impossible to resist the idea of doing the same thing for others.’
For 67 others, to be more specific.
What Doppio Zero is doing with #67Jobs is really great and we approve. Well done on a great initiative Doppio.