Where are all the chefs? Staff scarcity creates ‘crisis’ for York hotels and restaurants

6 Dec 2016 @ 5.07 pm
| Business

Can you cook?

If so, your city needs you. The scarcity of chefs has reached “crisis level” for York hotels and restaurants – and may put some of them out of business.

It has got so bad that Graham Usher, chairman of the York Hotelier’s Association, has called an emergency “staffing summit” on Wednesday (December 7).

Mr Usher said that in all his years in the industry he had never known there to be such a shortage of chefs.

“York’s hospitality sector has weathered many crises over the years, but this shortage of chefs and catering staff is unparalleled,” he said.

“And with new restaurants opening on a weekly basis, it is only going to get worse.

“This shortage of chefs can only get worse when demand is at such an all-time high. Combine that with uncertainty about skilled immigrants following the EU referendum, and we face a profound crisis for York’s hospitality industry.”

‘Go out of business’

‘New restaurants, no staff’ – Graham Usher
‘New restaurants, no staff’ – Graham Usher

Recruitment agencies both regionally and nationwide are unable to meet the demand for new catering staff.

Sixty per cent reported that they were unable to meet demand from restaurants over the festive period due to a skills shortage, according to a recent survey by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation.

Mr Usher, who is general manager of the Best Western Monkbar Hotel, added:

If chefs and skilled catering staff on the regional and national job market continue to decline, restaurants and hotels will be forced to either pass on higher recruitment costs to the customer or simply go out of business.

The council just can’t keep on giving permission for new bars and restaurants when there isn’t the staff to work in them.

If they do then it will lead to serious problems. Corners will be cut and customer service, hygiene, food standards and job satisfaction will all be the losers.

He has assembled a panel of experts tow work towards “mitigating and solving the recruitment and skills issues being faced in York”.

Their recommendations would be passed on to City of York Council and training bodies.