DIY restaurant calls attention to poorly treated staff

Guests cooked for themselves in a restaurant turned workers’ rights campaign.
Foodsy - the restaurant where the guests cook for themselves.
Foodsy - the restaurant where the guests cook for themselves.

The world’s first “unmanned” restaurant in Amsterdam made headlines ahead of its launch this month. But, Foodsy, founded by chef Edwin Sander, turned out to be a stunt designed to draw attention to the plight of workers in the hospitality industry.

The concept was simple. The restaurant opened in a temporary location under a DIY theme. Guests would cook themselves 20-minute meals using raw ingredients and the menus and recipes provided. The meals were significantly cheaper because there was no staff on duty and guests were able to pay using an iPad app.

A number of people questioned whether the DIY-theme would replace the norm of being waited on, but trade union federation FNV swiftly put the rumours to bed when it released pictures of the mess left behind by diners. The project was, in fact, a campaign to draw attention to the poor conditions hospitality staff are forced to work in.

The union told the media that the hospitality sector had increased its turnover, but this has not benefitted its workers. According to the union’s website, the chaos which ensued when the guests took over the restaurant proves that staff are indispensable.

Ben Francooy, president of FNV Catering said, “professionals who work with passion and pride in the hospitality industry, become frustrated because the job pays so poorly."

“They eventually seek a permanent job outside the hospitality industry so that they can properly support their families or finally be able to get a mortgage. This disastrous exodus should stop as soon as possible. Without good professionals, the industry would be one big mess.”  

Watch the chaos unfold in this Dutch video: