Look in the kitchen of Australian restaurants and cafes, and you’ll most likely find a culturally diverse team of people hard at work. This melting pot of cultures has positive influences upon not just the cuisine produced, but also the work culture and relationships in those businesses. A perfect example of this is Serotonin, affectionately known locally as Melbourne’s ‘Happy café’.
Emily Hazell founded Serotonin Eatery as a happiness centre, serving a plant-based menu and providing education on wellness and mental health.
There are over 13 nationalities represented in Serotonin’s team, and the menu draws upon cuisines from around the world.
“Cultural diversity has been a significant, albeit unintentional, contributor to the success of my business.” Emily said. “Unintentional because I never set out to hire people based upon their culture of origin, our diversity has happened organically. It wasn’t until I held a Taste of Harmony event in 2017 that I realised just how diverse my team is!”
The diversity of Serotonin’s staff has brought a number of benefits to the business. Linguistically diverse customers have enjoyed speaking to staff in their native tongue, and chefs from Israel, Thailand and India have each brought unique practices, ingredients and flavours.
While the diverse recruitment may have been an incidental outcome, the cafes design was anything but. An interior designer by trade, Emily took inspiration from around the world, with examples including sunken tables from Japan and long banquet tables for sharing, like those found in Italy.
Does cultural diversity create a happier workplace? Absolutely, Emily says.
“So many of my team members are new to Australia, and here they are connected with people embarking on the same journey – be they travelling, studying or settling as new citizens. It’s made everyone quite close.”
With cultural diversity come stories of cultural practice, tradition and family. However these stories weren’t discovered until Emily brought the team together for A Taste of Harmony.
“It’s a beautiful way for those shy people, who wouldn’t usually engage with the rest of their team to open up.” She said. “To all those business owners and managers out there, I really encourage you to get your team involved.”
Learn more about what A Taste of Harmony could look like in your workplace here.
You can also learn more about Serotonin Eatery at serotonindealer.com