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FOODSERVICE 2021: SUSTAINING STAFF Making people happy


Rossi’s eight-hour day would have been unthinkable just 10 years ago, but recent events have brought the issue of people to the top of the agenda. The Covid-19 pandemic has upended the foodservice sector the world over; restaurant closures in the thousands mean many lost their jobs – in the US alone it is estimated 2.5 million jobs were lost during the pandemic. Many employees used the time away from work to take stock and decided a career in hospitality was not what they wanted after all. Now the sector needs to respond.


“The way we deal with people in hospitality is going through big changes after the pandemic – people have had time


“I’ve always wanted to create a workplace that was disciplined but friendly… making people happy about working here”


to understand that it’s not only about working 18 hours a day for less than the minimum wage, being mistreated,” says Caranchini. “In my own restaurant, I’ve always wanted to create a workplace that was disciplined but friendly and making people happy about working here.” Recognizing the need to improve his team’s work/life balance, he has added an extra day off and increased the number of people employed in order to decrease the amount of work for every person.


Of course, the


staffi ng challenge is not a result of the pandemic; it existed long before Covid-19 changed


56


the world. A career in hospitality was not desirable – long hours, low pay and little attention paid to the wellbeing of team members meant that few would last long even if they wanted to.


Highly publicized cases of sexual harassment and discrimination in the sector that have come to light in recent years may not have made it more appealing, but it has at least forced change. The staffi ng crisis is not unique to


any one country or region; from France to Australia, foodservice and hospitality operators are struggling to recruit. Danny Meyer, the New York City


restaurateur behind dining landmarks including The Gramercy Tavern and the popular fast food chain Shake Shack, has predicted it will take many years to get staff back. He has described the ruthless


Left: A branch of Shake Shack. Below: The Gramercy Tavern, New York. Both places were originally set up by restaurateur Danny Meyer, who predicts it will take many years to get staff back.


cuts he made to counter revenue loss as the pandemic took hold – going from 2,300 staff members to 150 in March 2020 – as the worst time of his professional life. Although he has started to rebuild,


he says fi nding talent now represents the biggest challenge in hospitality. In the UK, the problems have been compounded by Brexit, which meant an estimated 92,000 hospitality workers left the country to go back to their home country, according to data collated by The Caterer. Kate Nicholls, the chief executive of trade association UK Hospitality, says that across the hospitality industry, there are currently about 188,000 open positions. It is aff ecting all levels of the industry,


DANNY MEYER Restaurateur, New York, US


from fast casual chains to fi ne dining establishments – Le Gavroche, a renowned London restaurant and the holder of two Michelin stars, announced earlier this year that it would have to cease lunch service due to staff shortage.


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