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Interim Chefs: The Heroes of the Hospitality Industry?

Written on 19-Sep-2016

It’s no secret that the hospitality industry uses Interim Chefs for a variety of reasons.

Whether it’s to cover holidays or sickness, for an extra pair of hands during a busy period, to fill a gap while the permanent position is recruited or to temporarily increase the size of the brigade during the summer season.

CJUK send Interim Chefs all over the country for all sorts of reasons to help clients out of sticky situations and keep their kitchens running.

Are Interim Chefs really the heroes of the hospitality industry?

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The perception we get from clients across the UK is that they shy away from promoting the fact they are using Interim Chefs. They think it’s a sign of weakness to rely on an outsider to come in and save the day. Like all businesses, they project that they have a stable, long serving team who come into work motivated every day, striving towards the goals and vision of the business.

Anyone who has worked in hospitality knows this is not the case. Hospitality has one of the highest staff turnover rates in the country at around 62% which is 20% higher than the rest of the private sector. And whilst there are some businesses who pride themselves on low staff turnover, these are the minority and the rest of the industry is battling with constant recruitment demands.

CJUK have written before about why we think this is. The unrealistic demands put on hospitality professionals means they burn out and have to leave positions before they reach a breaking point. It is normal for Chefs to work at least 60 hour weeks which, if they are on an annual salary of £25k means they’re being paid the equivalent of £8.00 per hour.

The attitude that this is normal in hospitality has to change in order for the permanent retention rate to increase. Until then Interim Chefs will continue coming to the rescue.

More and more permanent Chefs are now turning to interim work as an alternative and it’s easy to see why:

  • Interim Chefs get paid for every hour that they work. If that’s at £10 per hour (the minimum CJUK pay) for 60 hours a week, that’s the equivalent of over £30k per year.
  • Chefs are in such high demand that there is always work for them – no need to worry about long gaps between jobs.
  • Interim Chefs can take holidays whenever they want. A lot of our Chefs work for 9 months a year and take January – March off.
  • Interim Chefs gain exposure to such a wide variety of kitchens, so they’re often up to date with the latest trends and techniques.
  • There’s also a lot of variety in their job and they see lots of different operations and ways of working which means they are constantly adapting and learning.

We have a large number of clients who use CJUK year after year and are happy to speak of the benefits of having Interim Chefs to support their permanent team.

“I was let down at the last minute by a Chef who had agreed to run our small but very busy and quite intense kitchen over Christmas (2014). Not only was the [Interim] Chef a perfect fit for my business he was a great person as well. He was experienced and professional as well as humble.” Owner, High-End Bar, London

“It has been a pleasure to have Tom at the Swan for the past 8 weeks and he really settled in like one of the team. In fact saying goodbye was like losing a long serving employee he was that well embedded into the team. Tom was here to do a specific job and he delivered and excelled in what he did, not only did he work he cared and wanted to please and improve the business turnover during his short time with me.” Manager, 2AA Rosette Restaurant, Somerset

“We were very pleased with Roger’s performance and appearance. We had total confidence in him, he knew what needed to be done and got on with it.  He has a very calm nature and was very willing to get stuck in and do what needed to be done.” Manager, East Lancashire Venue

Let’s not keep our Interim Chefs hidden away, let’s start championing them!

Without them, so many kitchens would buckle under the pressure. A lot of permanent Chefs are choosing interim work as an alternative to a permanent position which means the quality of Interim Chefs is only going to improve! Let’s champion the idea that Interim Chefs really are the heroes of the hospitality industry!

Become a #ChefHero today!
Apply online below to work with CJUK or call our Talent Team on 01254 355666

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