“The health crisis has accelerated the recruitment difficulties in the catering sector”

FIGAROVOX / TRIBUNE – The interior of the restaurants will reopen this Wednesday, June 9. The catering sector will face serious recruitment difficulties, warns Bernard Boutboul, director of Gira Consulting, who invites restaurateurs to change their working methods.

Bernard Boutboul is director of Gira conseil, a consulting firm specializing in catering.


Despite a promising start to 2020, the crisis has caused historic losses for the restaurant industry. With a decrease of -34%, commercial catering recorded sales of 36.9 billion euros in 2020. Professionals have nevertheless been able to adapt to maintain an activity and the year 2020 will have above all been a decision of consciousness. It was necessary to operate differently, and therefore, to do restoration differently.

This health crisis will continue with a growth crisis, with more consumers wanting to have fun and spend time at the table. And therefore more cutlery than before.

However, this crisis has accelerated the staff shortage already underway for several years. According to a national UMIH study, 150,000 hotel and restaurant employees have changed jobs since the Covid-19 crisis. Changes in aspirations, arduousness of the work, difficulty in terms of hours (number of hours, no valuation of night, Sunday, public holidays), remuneration problem, difficulty of service, all factors which have pushed workers to change lanes during the crisis.

It will therefore be even more complicated in the months and years to come to find qualified and motivated staff.

Bernard Boutboul

We are already seeing that staff shortages are likely to be severe and give restaurant owners difficulties, and these will remain strong until spring 2022. It will therefore be even more complicated in the months and years to come to find qualified and qualified staff. motivated. The question then arises today of setting up a new economic model for the restaurant, starting by recruiting differently.

Comment ?

  • By promoting the hotel and catering trades, with a change in working conditions, in particular by working on a reorganization of schedules.
  • By upgrading salaries.
  • By focusing on different profiles, retirees or students, as the McDonald’s brand has been doing for many years. The company must now adapt to its employee, by being flexible on contracts and schedules.
  • Recruit several small contracts, even if the cost is higher.
  • By establishing new methods of recruitment, by adopting internal co-optation. This method makes it possible to retain existing staff while involving them in the recruitment of new staff.
  • By paying differently, to attract more candidates. With incentives on turnover, on customer satisfaction for example.
  • By taking the time to train its employees, in their position but also in the values ​​of the establishment. Training comes at a cost but will subsequently help to retain staff while increasing productivity.
  • By building employee loyalty by involving them in different tasks (inventory management, administration, communication, etc.) and by delegating certain tasks, a proof of confidence. In order to retain new recruits, it is indeed important that they understand “the meaning” of what they are doing and that they are involved in the establishment.

The crisis will also have raised awareness of the need to change its methods of recruiting and retaining employees.

Bernard Boutboul

Catering professionals will therefore once again have to adapt, take a step back from their professions and their ways of doing things by imagining new organizations and new working methods. As the crisis accelerated in many areas, it also raised awareness of the need to change its methods of recruiting and retaining employees.

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