As you would have seen in Part 1 of our Modern Award Series ‘How to work out which modern awards apply in your business?’, it can be quite confusing working out which award has coverage over a business in the ‘food services’ industry:

From the diagram above, you can see there are five different modern awards that could possibly apply to a business in the food services industry. 

To help us to identify the modern award that best fits your business, we must consider what each modern award says about:

  • how you can serve food;
  • where you serve food; and
  • what other businesses attach to your business.

When does the Fast Food Industry Award 2010 cover your business?

The Fast Food Industry Award 2010 (‘Fast Food Award’) covers employers throughout Australia in the fast food industry and their employees in the classifications of this Award.

How can you serve food and beverages?

The question of how you can serve food is an important one. 

The general rule of thumb is businesses that:

(1) sell food and beverages primarily in the form of ‘take-away’, or

(2) allow customers the choice to take away their food and beverages should they wish to do so,

may be covered by the Fast Food Award.

One example of a business that provides primarily take-away foods and beverages to customers is a business that sells food and drinks over the counter and has no seating available.

An example of a business that allows its customers the choice to take away their food or beverage if they wish to do so may be a cake shop.  In this example, the customer has the choice to be seated at the cake shop, and served the chocolate cake, plated, accompanied by whipped cream and cutlery.  Alternatively, the customer has the choice of taking away her chocolate cake in a cardboard box. 

In this example, even if the cake shop does not primarily sell food and beverages in take-away form, the fact it allows customers to choose whether they take away or eat in, means that it is likely the business is covered by the Fast Food Award.

Where can you serve the food?

The Fast Food Award is likely to cover businesses providing food and beverages in food courts, shopping centres and retail complexes.  For example, the burger, sushi and ice cream establishments in a food court are all likely to be covered by the Fast Food Award.

If you are eating a sirloin steak with red wine jus on a bed of water cress with a potato rosti stack on top of it, then chances are you are not eating ‘fast food’ within the meaning of the Fast Food Award and you must look elsewhere for an award with coverage.

The Fast Food Award is also unlikely to cover bars, restaurants, coffee shops; and cafes that provide mainly a sit-down service. Rather, the Restaurant Industry Award 2010, Hospitality Industry Award 2010 or Registered and Licensed Clubs Award 2010 may provide coverage.

What other businesses attach to your business?

If the food and beverage service is delivered by a club situated on a sports ground, or a returned service league or a country club, then the Registered and Licensed Clubs Award 2010 (‘Clubs Award’) is more likely to apply than any other of the four modern awards detailed.

Similarly, if the food and beverages are served by, or served by a business attached to a hotel, motor inn, motel, health retreat, serviced apartments, holiday flat, wine bar, tavern, catering business, casino, to name a few, then chances are the Hospitality Industry Award 2010 will apply.

Further, businesses that serve foods such as pastries, pies and breads and either bake these on site or off site then sell these goods over the counter, are likely to be covered by the General Retail Industry Award 2010 (‘General Retail Award’).  This is because this award covers both the sale of goods to final consumers in food retailing and in bakery shops where the predominant activity is baking products for sale on the premises.

The Restaurant Industry Award 2010 (‘Restaurant Award’) covers restaurants, reception centres, night clubs, cafes and roadhouses; and tea rooms, cafes and catering by a restaurant business.

‘Restaurant’ is not defined in the Restaurant Award and the line drawn amongst fast food, cafes and restaurants often seems quite fine. 

For example, traditional fast food brands may serve food and beverages in food courts, shopping centres and the like but also have stand-alone restaurants or restaurants that neighbour the restaurants of other fast food brands.  In this instance, because these restaurants operate in connection with premises operated by the fast food brand, they are covered by the Fast Food Award, instead of the Restaurant Award.

As you can see the answer turns on the circumstances of each business, namely, how you can serve food, where you serve food and what other businesses are attached to your business. 

In the Modern Award Series – Part 3 we will tackle the issue of what to do if the modern award that covers the business does not contain a classification that fits the position of the employee.

The above article is prepared for the purposes of providing general information only and before determining which modern award covers your business, you should seek advice from NRA that is specific and tailored to your individual circumstances. 

Please do not hesitate to contact NRA on 1800 RETAIL (738 245) anytime during usual office hours for assistance.