Secure jobs are in danger
For a long time, gastronomy was considered a “safe haven” on the labor market. As a supposedly crisis-proof sector, both skilled workers and temporary staff could be sure of their jobs. This confidence was shaken at the latest with the closure of businesses during the corona pandemic. But even in the years before the pandemic, there were signs of change in the catering industry. Service and kitchen staff are expected to be highly stress-resistant and customer-oriented, often in combination with long working hours. More and more employees began to look for jobs in other sectors.
The result: an increasing shortage of skilled workers, which already poses a great challenge to managers. Added to this is the growing demand of guests for regional and freshly prepared dishes, preferably with front cooking. For this, however, there is a shortage of kitchen staff who now also must take care of the guests.
Shortage of skilled staff in various sectors
In the future, managers in the catering industry will not only have to worry about trained professionals, but also, at least in the medium term, about temporary workers, whose low social security contributions make them particularly attractive for minor work.
Measures against the shortage of skilled staff
There are various approaches to making jobs in the catering industry generally more attractive. For one thing, it is possible to meet the wishes of the employees in terms of working hours and flexibility. Furthermore, the businesses can advertise for themselves and attract the attention of potential employees.
For many caterers, both measures mean high expenses, they have to revise their concepts and, in the worst case, make sacrifices in service to their guests. On top of that: Hiring and training new staff at peak times costs time and money.
One possibility, which is considered by experts to be a short-term as well as a medium- and long-term solution, is to use the existing staff more efficiently with the help of digital solutions. These should take over parts of the work and thus free up capacities in the important places. For example, service staff are no longer tied to POS stations, no chef has to work overtime to update inventory planning and no manager has to spend hours poring over Excel lists to create the new staff schedule.
The potential of such solutions has now been recognized by more than just a few pioneers. Starting next year, even in the training for gastronomic professions, there will be more focus on sustainability and, in particular, digitalization.