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Recruiting seasonal workers in the foodservice industry: the summer challenge

June 28 2023
recrutement restauration

The waiter profession is the one that will be recruiting the most in 2023. Yet the restaurant industry is struggling to recruit to compensate for the workforce (237,000 people) having left the profession during the health crisis. While restaurant footfall is tending to pick up, the shortage of staff (particularly waiters) is forcing professionals to slow down their activity, especially in summer.

To attract motivated and qualified candidates, however, there are levers: zoom in on tips and measures for recruiting restaurant staff for summer 2023.

The staffing crisis and recruitment methods for summer 2023

As last year, the restaurant industry, the flagship summer activity, is at risk of hot spells. Recruiting staff (waiters, clerks, dishwashers, etc.) is proving complicated. There are many reasons for this, and even more consequences. To attract candidates, restaurant professionals are using their imagination and trying to make these professions attractive.

The consequences of staff shortages

To understand the need to recruit, it's important to understand the consequences of staff shortages. A restaurant with a shortage of staff may be forced to close certain days or time slots, or reduce the number of tables, slowing down its business. Summer often accounts for the bulk of a restaurant's sales, particularly in tourist areas. The loss of revenue can therefore be colossal. Finally, if you're short-staffed, it's the quality of your service that's likely to suffer: between expectations, mistakes or negligence, customers won't leave your restaurant satisfied.
The stakes are therefore high.

The housing issue at the heart of the restaurant recruitment crisis

To recruit more easily, some restaurants in tight spots are working on access to housing for seasonal employees. Indeed, staff shortages are sometimes explained by future employees' inability to find accommodation in areas where AirBnB is king and rents are too high. If your candidate can't find decent accommodation, he or she won't be able to work for your restaurant. If you can, try to find schemes to house your seasonal employees.

Revaluing the profession to make it attractive

The stakes are so high that salary scales in the CHR sector have been increased in 2022.
Remuneration not being the main expectation, however, restaurateurs have also sought to improve working conditions. Today, employees can sometimes benefit from two consecutive days off or continuous working to avoid excessively long breaks between two services.

By upgrading the profession, the aim is also to avoid mid-summer dropouts since recruitment becomes almost impossible at the height of the season. The message from the younger generation has got through; salary enhancement is no longer the only condition. Employees want to find meaning in their work; this can also involve the employer's commitment to a CSR approach.

Recourse to foreign employees in the restaurant business?

The restaurant business is not yet recognized as a short-staffed profession, and the question of recourse to foreign workers is still in the hands of the government. The French Minister of the Interior's immigration bill is designed to take this workforce into account, but the bill has been repeatedly postponed by the French National Assembly. Regularizing those who are already here but still in an irregular situation is a first demand of the sector; this would enable them to benefit from training and improve their condition.
For others, recruiting employees from overseas territories would be an easier and quicker solution to put in place.

What future prospects for recruitment in the catering industry?

Since last year, solutions have been found to try and attract candidates to professions in short supply.
Olivia Grégoire, Minister Delegate for Tourism, and Olivier Dussopt, Minister of Labor, have just announced a plan to stimulate seasonal employment and support these new employees. It will span several years, and focuses on three areas:
- reception and orientation, digital (webinars)

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