So you are considering taking a hospitality position and moving to Dubai are you ? Have you been offered a job in a restaurant or bar? Are you about to become a waiter, waitress or maître d in the UAE?
Then here is EVERYTHING you need to know before you start working in the hospitality industry in the Middle East before taking the next step.
This is a a personal story of when I was working in a high end restaurant in Downtown Dubai.
The Job Offer
- A Working Visa – Your employer must provide this for you, this is actually UAE Labour Law.
- Flight Ticket– Some companies will provide you a ticket from your country of residence to Dubai and a return ticket after completing your contract (for me it was 2 years.) Most employees provide this perk if you are moving to Dubai for the job, though not all companies.
- Accommodation– The company usually provides this on a shared basis. I had to share a bedroom with another colleague and a bathroom between the apartment. (Depends on the rooms and how many people are in your room)
- Transport– This was provided to and from work.
- Food– We had a meals provided by the chef before each service. (Lunch or Dinner)
- Makeup– Allowance around 200 dirhams.
- Uniform– Usually they will give you an allowance if you need to go buy items, otherwise they will provide a uniform.
- Salary -Most roles start at 1500 AED basic. This is a good basic anything less is not worth it.
- Credit Card Tips – These are paid with your monthly salary. On a good month it can be the same as your basic. If you get 1500 AED basic, some months you could take home around 3000 AED. (There are slower months such as Ramadan where you are more likely to get around 2500 AED)
- Cash Tips– They are usually split between all the staff working at the restaurant or bar. On a good month expect to get at least 500 AED every two weeks!
- Medical Insurance- Every Employer has to provide this. Basic medical insurance does not cover maternity. Should you need to see a doctor expect to pay 50AED per visit. If you do not have medical insurance it can cost 300 AED plus to see a doctor!
- Sick Leave– You must always get a sick certificate from your doctor for every single day you are off work due to sickness. This can cost you between 30 – 60 dirhams. As long as you provide the sick certificate, Sick Leave days are not included in your annual leave. You do not need to worry about this, usually you get 9 sick days in a year, so if you are sick take a rest!
- Working Week– you are expected to cover 56 hours in a week and they would usually have a clock in and clock out system to monitor this! The weekend in Dubai is Friday and Saturday.
- Days Off – I got 1 day off so worked a 6 day week. Your off day can be different every week. Weekends are not given to anyone as this is the busiest time for the hospitality industry. It is rare you will get a Thursday, Friday or Saturday off. Saturdays are usually given to higher paid staff like captain waiter or supervisor. If you happen to get a Saturday then you are lucky.
- Shift Patterns -Duty starts at 4pm for a 7pm service and you will leave when the last guest leaves usually 3am depending on if business is slow or not. Morning shift report to work at 10am till 3pm and return at 4pm to 10pm. (Called split shift these are the hardest)
- Duties– you will not just be serving tables and picking up the cheque you are required to prepare the venue for service (Steaming wine glasses, polishing cutlery, setting up tables) before and after service.
Holidays- forget about Christmas, New Years Eve or New Years Day. This is peak season and you will not get a leave on these days.
- Holiday Leave– are usually 30 days if you get one day off. If you happen to you get 2 days off a week then you will usually get 21 days.
Tips and Advice
- On arrival remember to take the mobile number with whomever you have been in touch with through out the recruitment process. Just in case you can not find the driver, you will have someone to call!
- You will be picked up from Dubai airport and taken to your new home.
- A welcome package on your arrival of necessities will await you like a phone card to call home, some tooth paste etc (Personal experience not saying everyone does this)
- Expect to report to work in a day or two for induction. After this you will be working as everybody else – full time! There is no special treatment because you are new to the UAE, be prepared to work, physically and emotionally!
- Prepare to study the menu which will be given with your welcome package, your guests will expect you to know it. You need to know the menu like the back of your hand.
- Make sure you study the menu and drinks menu. Demonstrating your determination will help you to receive your full salary. If you are in training and not working your delegated duty you will get half your salary until you pass the menu tests.
- Before you serve guests unsupervised you will either bus tables or pick up food from the kitchen, where you will give the server in charge of the table the plate or drink.
- Mannerisms – These are very important and say a lot about you be polite and nice to your new peers they a have a lot to teach you. With guests always be nice and friendly so that when they return they will ask for you. Invest in these relationships.
- Working in Dubai means you will meet many different nationalities and cultures. You can travel the world just by being at work as you get to meet people from all over. Just take note some things you may find funny may not be funny in someone else’s culture so until you are comfortable with people keep this in mind respect one another.
- PEOPLE- In this industry you will meet a lot of people who have sacrificed a lot to be here and provide for their families. You will always meet the negative ones who say the place is awful, this happens in all jobs in Dubai. Before you begin to judge the place give it a try do not let other people’s opinions shade yours. You need to stay positive and remember why you are here.
- Friends- I met all my best friends in Dubai from working this Job and are all a very tight close knit family.
Why are you considering this move? If it is to work then remember that because working in hospitality is hard! It is physically hard and you literally will be exhausted. Expect to sleep at 6 am and wake up around 2 in the afternoon. Morning shifts are really difficult to work in since your body will be working at a totally different time zone. It is hard work and it is not going to be easy. Remember this it will help you settle in and become a strong person! I will always be grateful for this job as I learnt so much and I am so proud I managed to work in this industry as a start.
Hospitality is not for everyone if you have no experience I suggest trying out a hospitality job in your home country before moving abroad it is required you have some experience but I insist on really going out and trying it before moving away from home.
It is one thing to deal with home sickness but if you are unable to commit to hard work you may not like it at all so try it out so when your opportunity comes you are ready to take on your new role with ease.
Important to have at least one month’s savings to help you on your first month since you will only get paid after working a month.
The company I worked for provided me with everything I have mentioned in this post for you, however some companies may vary and your experience may be very different to mine so if you feel that I have left something out or would like me to elaborate more feel free to leave a comment.
I wish you the best of luck on your new job and your move.