Written on 27-Apr-2018
Chefs love feeding people, after all that’s their job. As we become a nation of food lovers (more than ever before) chef’s jobs become much more than just putting food on the table.
Our recent CJUK Live debate at the Northern Restaurant & Bar exhibition in Manchester brought together thousands of employers and workers from across the hospitality industry.
The same workforce challenges were raised and as always, the big question “Where are all the Chefs?” was the major topic of discussion.
The current state of play
Demand remains at an all-time high in the sector but the recruitment and retention of chefs is in crisis, despite the industry remaining strong as the trend of new restaurant and food openings across the UK continues.
The average staff turnover across the whole sector is currently at an alarming 75 percent. If we are to boost attraction and retention rates, it is crucial that we re-humanise the industry rather than de-humanise it by placing our people front and centre of every business.
It is clear now more than ever that chefs are leaving the industry due to common issues such as stress and a poor work-life balance.
Nobody wants to work long hours without being paid for them, but often this is the reality for many chefs.
So, what is the solution?
I truly believe that taking the time to have relevance with your workforce to understand what they hold of value and of greatest importance will keep staff engaged. Giving people a sense of belonging is vital if we are to make any difference to careers in the sector.
Hospitality is all about pleasing people, so it’s important that we make it an industry where people want to work rather than one that they merely survive in. But for this to happen, we need to start by pleasing our own people.
Essentially, chefs just want to be valued, respected and paid fairly for the job that they do and there’s no reason why this can’t be the reality. At CJUK we are championing the cause of putting our chefs first, through our Chef’s Charter and adding value through extra benefits such as health and wellbeing programmes, free high-quality uniforms and regular feedback.
By actively shifting our strategic intentions to really focus on chefs and put them at the heart of our business, we’re seeing positive results across our recruitment and retention levels which are currently running at 26 percent.
I run our family business based on four core principles, striving to ensure my workforce and everyone representing our business has responsibility, recognition, learning and joy in the workplace.
People businesses need to be more people centric than ever before, ultimately taking care of people is where we need to make massive improvements.
We see more and more chefs choosing to take on temporary roles as opposed to permanent ones, which seems to be the trend across the recruitment industry and is set to continue.
Careers in hospitality are built on enjoyment and enthusiasm, often for many people it is the first introduction into the world of work.
The sector is invaluable to young people being introduced to amazing professional skills, such as those of a chef and to hundreds of job opportunities where skills can be transferred across this industry and many others.
We must place our own people at the very centre of the hospitality sector to ensure there are enough of them to fill the jobs in the future. We mustn’t bite the hands that feed us.
Watch some of the discussions that took place at CJUK Live – Northern Restaurant & Bar below: