The UK hospitality industry is at risk of being a big casualty of Brexit, warns Nestlé Professional UK & Ireland MD George Vezza.
Vezza told the British Hospitality Association Summit earlier this year that the industry should prepare for “the worst” as KPMG reports that up to 65,000 jobs may need to be filled without the current EU workforce.
The high number of vacancies in the industry has been a known issue for some time, but with so much uncertainty about whether EU citizens will be allowed to remain in the UK, that figure looks set to rise. Wait staff in particular are largely made up of EU citizens, who are often studying in Great Britain or working to improve their English.
The most frustrating aspect for many is that business owners know the problem is coming but cannot do much about it.
The COO of the Careers Enterprise Company, Natalie Cramp, is urging companies to spend time visiting schools and colleges to promote careers in the industry as a viable option for young people. She believes that brands need to tell better stories – for example, by showcasing employees who have started right at the bottom and worked their way up. Volunteers could also benefit from spending time in the industry, and it should be easier to help them.
For more information on the careers available in the catering industry, visits the government’s National Careers Service to see the options outlined.
There is also scope for reviewing how many jobs must be done by people and whether efficiency savings could be made using modern equipment. Machines like commercial warewashers, for example, could save energy and time, but investment would need to be made and provision for training put in place. Explore the options with a specialist catering machinery company such as 24-7 Catering Supplies https://www.247cateringsupplies.co.uk/bar-supplies/commercial-warewashers.
As Sophie Kilic, Accor Hotels’ Senior Vice President, pointed out, another way to fill jobs is to diversify the workforce. Accor Hotels is working towards a total of 35 per cent female employees in the most senior positions in the business. She believes that culture plays a big part in shaping that, and whilst it is not a quick thing to change, it can make a huge difference across many parts of the company.
The key is to plan now.