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How to answer the waiter staff and chef shortage

Posted on 25/02/2022

Recruitment and retention have long been challenges in the food service sector. The difficulties resulting from Brexit for a sector that has traditionally recruited from across Europe are exacerbating the challenging conditions. In this article we will look at some practical steps restaurants can take

The industry is being encouraged to broaden the talent pool: by investing in apprenticeships, and prioritising experience that demonstrates a willingness to learn and good teamworking, even if it's outside the sector.

Some big chains are offering signing bonuses for new employees, but this doesn't help to address the issue around retention. Instead, some restauranteurs are finding innovative solutions to the challenge.

  • First impressions count: A great onboarding improves retention by up to 82%. It's essential to a great employee experience and 51% of employees say they'd go 'above and beyond' for a business if they were given a good induction.
  • Benefits for continued service: One company buys its employees a new pair of trainers after six months. Another subsidises local gym membership after three months of service.

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  • Flexible shifts: One employer enables staff to pick their own days off (but not the weekend every week).
  • Consistent work: While zero-hours contracts might suit employers, staff really value having a consistent wage.
  • Invest in wellbeing: It might be as simple as a personal check in by a manager once a week or it might providing free meals on-shift, covering childcare costs or reimbursing the cost of employee commutes.
  • Build aspiration: Restaurant work shouldn't be seen as a 'dead end job'. McDonald's offers its employees a variety of training programmes and higher education tuition assistance. In its drive to retain quality staff and encourage employee success, US pizza chain Happy Joes runs an 'Operator to Owner' programme that awards select managers with their own franchise. This scheme also gives the company reasons to build new restaurants.
  • Reward and recognition: Starbucks is trialling an app where staff can share good service commendations.

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Communication and engagement boosts teambuilding and retention

76% of employees know they would feel more connected if they could access company communications on a mobile device.

It can be hard to communicate with employees who don't have a corporate digital identity. Can you extend office-based communication tools, like Microsoft Teams, to frontline workers so they have an official digital channel through which to communicate? This channel can then be used to keep staff updated about changes and news, facilitate shift swapping and short-notice appeals for shift cover, and other real-time communication needs - as well as being a fab for organising staff events and sharing praise and recognition.

Make it easy for your kitchen!

It is becoming increasingly difficult to find skilled chefs so look for menu solutions that reduce the need for high preparation time and skilled knowledge. Aviko's range of Gratins, Mash and Appetisers are examples of products that deliver on premium quality, with minimal fuss and maximum convenience. Take a look at the range here.

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We hope you found this article useful, we're here to help your business grow. Please get in touch if there is any topic you would like us to cover that would help you and of course get in touch to discuss potato solutions for your menu.

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