News

Staffing Stress needs a Solution

by Willie Biggart

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The issue of staff shortages for caterers is global - the combination of COVID-19 fear, uncertainty and government unemployment benefits/furlough schemes are making it hard to fill positions. For those in the UK this was something which had been raised as a concern during the Brexit debates. There seems no doubt that the reality of these concerns have now been exacerbated by the pandemic with reports of 9 out of 10 contract caterers facing shortages this year.

Are caterers facing the scenario being out the frying pan of restrictions and into the fire of staff shortages?

In a recent article in Facilitate^, Tracey Fairclough, managing director of Taf Consultancy, was quoted: “There’s no doubt to my mind our hospitality sector has experienced unprecedented and severe labour shortages since the sector reopened following lockdown. This is due in part to workers from overseas leaving the UK to return to their home countries either because of Brexit or the coronavirus pandemic. Then there’s the furlough ‘hangover’ where a lot of people have now got other jobs to keep themselves going and are not coming back to the industry. This has been frustrating for many of the caterers we’ve been talking to”.

Interestingly, in the same article both Ian Thomas, CEO of Bartlett Mitchell and Tevin Tobun, CEO, GV Group recognised there would be some new thinking required to deal with the situation facing catering teams across the country. Ian Thomas, commented that, “... the whole sector will need to look at more dynamic staffing solutions to be able to mitigate against any challenges.”

Tevin Tobun, focussed on the need for an innovative approach to answering the staffing needs: “Right now, it is incumbent on organisations to look at alternative models to help find a solution to the current challenge...through more engagement with last-mile logistics organisations.

These are key areas where Spoonfed’s decision to increase its development team during the Pandemic - in order to be ready for this unstable period - now gives contract caterers the right tools essential to drive efficiency and save time - and, yes, even increase their reach with a smaller team.

The full extent of the staffing problem is still to be seen as levels of occupancy in the workplace are not yet what they will be. Caterers who feel that they are quiet at the moment and so will continue to muddle through with a manual ordering process may be caught out and fail to be ready to respond to what will surely be an upsurge in the desire to be more collaborative and social in the workplace as staff begin to return...and F&B will certainly play it’s part here!

Sure, there are some areas where the catering process needs feet on the ground. However, Spoonfed has innovative tools to ease the staffing headache, allowing catering teams to focus on managing catering requirements, and to make sure 'muddling through' doesn’t become mistakes which are costly on the day and going forward.

Get in touch with one of our team to find out what Spoonfed can do for you.

^ https://www.facilitatemagazine.com/content/news/2021/06/30/catering-and-hospitality-hit-staff-shortages-2021


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