Is the Hospitality & Catering Industry’s success harming itself?

Is the Hospitality & Catering Industry’s success harming itself?

Blog Writer Picture - Tom Young

Over the past few years, the success of the Hospitality & Catering Industry has been on a gradual upward curve, growing by an average of 1.8%, hitting the heady heights of 2% in 2013! It isn’t all fun and games though. The success has most certainly been impressive but the direct consequence is currently proving to be its downfall or most persistent headache - staff, well, the lack of staff should I say.

What has caused so much growth during a period of economic troubles where very few industries have grown significantly? Standards seem to be the most potent reason for the growth. During the recession, pubs were hit hard from all avenues, sales decreased, salaries and workforces were squeezed whilst produce, stock and materials saw a phenomenal increase in price. Thousands of pubs closed for good. Some survived but those that did all had a similar trait. The ability to change and evolve. Pubs are no longer just “drinking holes” but establishments which can go toe-to-toe with the big boys. Step forward the likes of The Hand & Flowers which have evolved to produce a culinary experience up there with the best and standards never seen before on the pub market. This is an area where the Industry has grown massively and the demand of Chefs, ditto.

Rightly so, the demand and popularity for fresh food led establishments is rising and although branded is showing no signs of budging, the market share isn’t so one sided. Whilst this is great, once again, with this increase in demand of a different calibre of Chefs and a higher quality of Chef, so does the need for further training and progression as well as more Chefs, which the industry doesn’t actually have in its locker right now.

Apprenticeships have a big role to play in this. 2015 will be a big year for Apprenticeships as skilled labours push hard in attract the next generation of professionals to their industry and with 100% on the job training more popular than ever, industries will have a much bigger pool of individuals to pick from and for Hospitality, the opportunity to plug some of the alarming gaps in staffing problems the industry is currently facing.

Since 2011, the levels of staff required began to increase, now reaching a prediction of a 660,000 staff shortage by 2020 whilst the influx of staff froze at best. Many Industries utilise educational routes such as University and higher education effectively to attract a steady stream of professionals however, the Hospitality & Catering industry has arguably neglected this resulting in a very minor conversion between those studying the subject at University and then pursuing a career within the Industry.

The success of the industry over the past few years is great to see and is most certainly positive, however, staffing is still a problem lingering over its head which with its current increasing growth and little action taken in regards to staffing, staff shortages will only increase, current professionals will be worked harder before ultimately choosing to go elsewhere and leaving the industry to inevitably dig itself a bigger and bigger hole.

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