Operations Into the fold

It’s no secret that staff shortages are causing problems in many industries, not just hospitality. But is it just the pandemic? In the UK, many of us suspect that Brexit has added to our staffi ng issues. Either way, we must do more to help sell and recognise hospitality as a viable profession, writes Jane Pendlebury, chief executive at HOSPA.


hortages in other industries (the lack of HGV drivers being an obvious one) are impacting our own. If we cannot receive the raw materials – from food to cleaning supplies, bed linen to toiletries and all things in between – in a timely fashion via the normal channels, then guests’ demands cannot be met in a regular way. The supply chain is a long and complex string of interdependent events and we often fall victim to a broken link before it’s even delivered to our backdoor. But, given this is Hotel Management International and this is from HOSPA, the hospitality professionals association, let’s just focus on the immediate problem within hotels before going off on too great a tangent. Attracting staff has historically been more of an issue in the UK than it is across other parts of Europe, however, the staff shortages in hospitality seem to have become a global issue. Locally, we have attributed the problem to one of image, and we have looked to countries such as Switzerland and France for inspiration. In other European countries,

the service industry carries more esteem than it seems to in the UK. A good waiter is so much more than someone carrying plates to and from the kitchen, nevertheless this is often how they are viewed by your archetypal Brit. A good waiter will know and understand their clientele and be able to advise accordingly. They will also be able to judge the mood of a table and work to accommodate that into their approach. A good waiter will be genuinely interested in making sure the guests are having a positive experience and a small part of that is taking away empty plates. The Swiss and the French seem to ‘get’ this in a much more general sense and we should learn from them. Typically, minimum wage regulations have ensured

that there is fair pay for the work done and staff can often take-home additional money in the form of gratuities. The subject of tipping and service charges is an enormous topic in its own right, and a minefield of moral and legal obligations and complications. Generally, though, across Europe staff do not rely on

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