Food service entrepreneurs

Seeking, finding and retaining qualified staff

If you ask self-employed professionals what the greatest challenge in the hotel and food service industry is, you’ll usually receive the same answer: “Good staff are hard to find.” The lack of qualified staff is the biggest drawback for roughly 80 per cent of those surveyed in the METRO Start-up Study. Existing businesses and those seeking to start their own business are equally affected. The reasons for the shortage are diverse, but demographic change, for example, plays an important role. In addition, professions in the hotel and food service industry have a rather unappealing image. Finding the next generation of qualified employees is not easy, and the amount of vacant traineeships is high.

For roughly 80 per cent of those surveyed, the lack of qualified staff is the biggest drawback.

Politics and industry are looking for solutions. But what can each individual restaurateur do to find qualified staff? It starts with the job posting: nowadays, ordinary adverts in the local news- paper are often not enough. Rather, what is required is active sourcing, meaning finding candidates through blogs and social networks such as Facebook. Online career platforms that are tailored to the industry are another option. Some well-known examples are job networks such as Jobsterne or the inter- national portal Culinary Agents. The latter successfully matches jobs and professionals in the United States and is now also active in Eur- ope and Asia. Since April 2015, METRO GROUP has been a participating partner of the online job portal and is supporting its further expansion, at first in France and Italy. Culinary Agents has made the search for qualified staff easier for food service providers, hoteliers and caterers, bringing together businesses and job seekers.

“As a rule, it’s always better to start as a team so that several people can shoulder the tasks, provided the partners have the right chemistry.”

However, this is still a challenging task. “Recruit- ment using job postings takes a lot of time – time that many small businesses don’t have, particularly in the start-up phase,” says Manfred Troike. The start-up coach recommends having expert partners on board – even before the business is founded – who have experience in the food service industry: “As a rule, it’s always better to start as a team so that several people can shoulder the tasks, provided the partners have the right chemistry.” Troike believes that support from others is an important factor for suc- cess: “It’s best to have family members, friends and colleagues from your professional network lend a hand – especially at the beginning.”

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