It is a common belief that in Dubai only Indians, Pakistanis and Pilipinos can find a job as a waiter. This is true to a certain extent, as the situation has been changing over the past years. After having a lunch in a good restaurant, DubaiBlog met the general manager in the coffee lounge. This was the occasion to interview him. He spoke to us saying “I am Antonio Lagrutta, and I have been living in Dubai since 2011. I have different work experience and at the moment I am the general manager of an Italian restaurant”
We asked him: Is this the first work experience in Dubai? Antonio answered:” No, this is my fourth experience in Dubai and the second one as a director of a restaurant”
We pointed out to him “There is a wrong idea about the world of catering in Dubai. Somebody believes that a waiter can earn a lot of money, as for instance 5,000 € per month and others think that this job is usually done by Indians, Pakistanis and they earn very little money. What is the truth?
Antonio answered saying:” The situation has been changing over the past five years. In the past catering personnel was mostly from India, Pakistan and the Philippines, but now I can see the difference, with the arrival of more Europeans this led to the increase of catering work opportunity for Italians. Of course, I mean here professionals, because in this job what is needed is passion, a lot of knowledge especially about the products”.
We told him: Many young Italians go to London and start working as dish washers. Could an Italian work as a dish washer in Dubai? Antonio said: “No, absolutely not! In order to get a job in the catering sector in Dubai, an Italian should have matured an advanced experience in prestigious places, worked in England and has a good knowledge of the English language.
We asked him: Now, let’s have a look at the total number of the personnel in your restaurant, how many are Italians with the necessary skills and experience? Antonio answered:” We have a total number of 45 workers, 15 of whom are Italians and they have been working here for one year and a half.
We replied: That’s really good, then. Quite often in Dubai you go to an Italian restaurant but it is Italian only in the name. There is nothing really Italian, even the menu is wrong and there is nobody who can even speak the language. Of course, we have nothing against waiters coming from India or other countries, but it is a bit disappointing to be served an Italian dish in a wrong way.
Antonio: “In our restaurant we have also other personnel coming from other countries, because we need people speaking other languages such as Russian, French and also Arabic. The Italian personnel is the supporting pillars of our restaurant.
We asked him: Let’s have an idea about how much are the salaries of the waiters. Antonio added:” With the Italians we start with a basic salary of 5,000 AED, the Chief waiters can get 7,000 AED (nearly 2,000 €).
We asked him: “Apart from the salary, are there any kind of benefits such as medical insurance, visa etc. that a young worker can get? Antonio: “In addition to the salary we pay one round ticket per year, the medical insurance and visa”.
Our question this time was: Can a young Italian with a minimum experience and a good English knowledge live in Dubai with 7,000 AED? Antonio:” Yes, it is possible, of course, but without expecting to have a high standard of living. Therefore, no clubs no and disco every night. We must not forget that we come here mainly to work and not for entertainment and I personally think that you can have the same lifestyle you get in other places.
We asked him: Now let’s have a look at career opportunities. How easy is it to develop a career in other restaurants? Antonio: “I worked in London and compared to other places, Dubai is easier to have a career. If you are active and able to take matters into your own hands, most probably after 7 months in Dubai you can get a promotion to a higher level”.
In the end we ask Antonio: What are the advice that you can give to a young person who wants to work as a waiter in your restaurant? Antonio:” My advice is to love your work, to have a lot of passion, willingness to work, besides being humble”.