How sustainable is the Hospitality & Catering Industry?
Many focus on the produce as being the most crucial aspect that needs to be sustainable, but is it? Professionals are what make any Industry tick so if the progression of staff and development of young professionals is inadequate, does the industry become un-sustainable?
A much publicised report within the Hospitality & Catering Industry of late is the growth of an Industry that is already huge in size. Predictions are that the Industry will grow so much that by 2020, the UK will find itself short of 660,000 Chefs, 1/4 of the current workforce. Why? After the recession in 2008, the Industry, as many did, went from full and overstocked to being culled left, right and centre due to ruthless government cut backs which not only left Industries with less professionals to choose from but also a lack of confidence amongst both staff and customers.
Why both? Well, during times of prosperity and especially during the years of 2003-2008, the Hospitality & Catering Industry was viewed with such rose tinted glasses thanks to the rise in popularity of Celebrity Chefs among others thus attracted masses in to the Industry. However, after Britain’s bubble burst, everything changed. Hours were increased, salaries were squeezed and workforces were stream-lined.
The Honest truth? The Industry, like many others, became a far harder industry to make it big within and generally requiring more hard work and graft than ever before. This being so caused the Hospitality & Catering Industries’ image to be tarnished as such and becoming largely known post-recession as an Industry without the positives that it does actually offer.
In addition to the animosity the recession caused amongst staff, customers and guests lost confidence within the Industry resulting in thousands of Pubs closing as well hundreds of Restaurants and Hotels only adding the heaps of job cuts and Industry professionals choosing to change their careers in favour of job security in particular.
Overall, the recession not only put the brakes on the Industry, it also seemingly dis-orientated it. Over the past few years, training and staff attraction has become a big problem now resulting in the staff shortage previously mentioned. This only means one thing, the Hospitality & Catering Industry is not currently sustainable in the sense of staff and its workforce.
In order for an Industry to be sustainable, there must be training methods, being endorsed by the majority of the Industry as a whole, however, it doesn’t seem to be currently doing so. Instead, the sector seems fractured in how it will go about increasing the numbers of young professionals brought through the ranks and current professionals’ training maintained.
Some are calling for University to become a more endorsed training route for the Hospitality & Catering Industry, such as Oliver Peyton who has publicly endorsed University as a viable route in to the Industry. Calls for NVQ Training and Apprenticeships are gradually becoming louder as well, with the uptake of such routes increasing significantly within the Industry in the past year or so. This is currently causing merely baby steps of progress though and without full co-operation and an action plan within the sector, by 2020, the 660,000 chef shortage will have only been nibbled at and cause further problems and obstacles for an Industry so crucial to the UK economy.
However, 2015 is beginning to paint a slightly rosier picture. Confidence has been regained by both staff and customers whilst the Industries workforce rebuilding job is starting to take shape, slowly but surely. The sector has grown by 23% in 6 years since 2008, so over the next 5 years, 660,000 jobs is going to be one big mountain to climb.